Near Harpers Ferry, Iowa on the Iowa Waterfall Route, you will find Effigy Mounds National Monument. So what exactly is an Effigy Mound? An effigy mound is a raised pile of earth built in the shape of a stylized animal, symbol, religious figure, human, or other figure. Effigy mounds were constructed in many Native American cultures. Scholars believe they were primarily for religious purposes, although some also fulfilled a burial mound function.
Currently the size of the National Monument is 2,526 acres, and it contains 191 known prehistoric Indian mounds, including 31 bird and bear effigies, making Effigy Mounds National Monument the largest known concentration of mounds remaining in the United States. I can still remember visiting on a school field trip as a young girl. The Ranger had my class hold hands and form a chain all the way around a mound. It was easier to see that the mounds was in the shape of a large bear when we were outlining it.
The Marching Bear Group, composed of 10 bear-shaped mounds, was first mapped in 1910 and is one of the key resources cited for creation of the national monument in 1949. Here you see an aerial photo taken in 1978 after the mounds were outlined in agricultural lime to make them more visible.
Great roads, incredible hiking, amazing history...Effigy Mounds National Monument should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
We would love to meet you and your club!
Although it is still difficult to hold gatherings, many clubs and riding groups have been holding virtual meetings and get togethers. If your club or group would be interested in a presentation about the Driftless Area and Driftless Road Adventures, we are always happy to dial in to share what we know and answer your questions. Just send us a note with your details: DriftlessRoadAdventures@gmail.com
Be well and stay safe,
Dale and Renee