Great River Road 11 - Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harpers Ferry, IA

This little stretch of the Great River Road in Iowa has our vote as prettiest yet.

We’re always looking for National Parks and Monuments to vist on our travels. The Great River Road runs right past Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Initial Drive-by

We had to do a drive-by the first time, it was a sunny mild fall afternoon and the parking lot was cram-packed full of cars. I wasn’t going to attempt a repeat of our RV-turnaround performance at Grandad Bluff.

We decide to overnight across the river at Wyalusing State Park and were able to make it back to Effigy Mounds with just the truck.

Second Time is a Charm

We re-visited mid-morning on a Sunday and even then the park was getting busy. 

Lack of Perspective

While I appreciate the significance of the mounds and respect how other people groups view them, the mounds themselves were rather unremarkable.

I had expected some of the animal-shaped mounds would have elevated viewing platforms so you could see the entire thing in perspective, but this wasn’t the case. 

Without that…well, they’re just kinda grassy bumps.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The girls view the Mississippi River from Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The girls view the Mississippi River from Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The Mississippi River from Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The Mississippi River from Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The Iowa version of the Great River Road sign.

The Iowa version of the Great River Road sign.

Experts

I’m also ever-amused at the langauge used for phenomema like these mounds that ultimately translates to “we don’t know much”.

After watching the park movie and reading the various signage, our takeaway for these mounds is experts don’t know who specifically made them, what purpose they served, or why those people stopped making them.

River Views

The fall color on the river bluffs in full swing framing in the sparking Mississippi River made the sweaty initial climb up the bluff worth it.  I got some of my better photos of the river in this location.

Favorite Stretch of GRR

We also found the stretch of road between the park and Marquette, IA to be the prettiest on the Great River Road yet. The river is on one side, and the road lies between it and rock bluffs & overhanging trees on the other side. With the morning sun lighting it all up it was a fantastic drive.

Your Views?

Have you visted these or other burial mounds in the US? What were your thoughts on them?

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