Hiking

Iowa’s Effigy Mounds Park affords historic historical past walks

Posted by Jeff on Dec 6, 2020 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments | Last change: December 5th, 2020

If the only love of hiking is the only one that takes you to the Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeastern Iowa – where 14 miles of trails wind through the elegant 2,526-acre monument – you won’t be disappointed. The immaculately groomed 4 foot wide paths of fine gravel or wood shavings that lead up to 400 feet of river cliffs offer views of the Mississippi and its many green islands as breathtakingly dramatic as vistas. Fortunately, the trails are also configured so that you can choose the length of your hike.

But what sets Effigy Mounds apart, and the main reason to go beyond the beauty of the rugged, thickly forested landscape, is the fascinating history you experience as you walk. It is a world of ancient hills that began about 3,000 years ago (during the Forest Period and into the Late Forests around 1250 AD).

On the sometimes steep path that zigzags through a jungle, you will pass many hills: conical, linear hills that resemble giant green twinkies, and the more fascinating “images” of bears and birds, although the animal shapes are a little heavy to decipher from the trail. All of them lie under lush, carefully mowed grass with no weeds in sight.

Aerial photographs taken in recent years and exhibited in the monument’s visitor center show a procession of fetish-style bears trudging through this rugged landscape. Many of the 10 bears in this earthen parade – “The Marching Bear Group” – are more than 100 feet long.

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