Text courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources
In this area, Native Americans of the Woodland Culture of 800 to 1200 A.D. sculpted earthen "effigy" mounds on ridge tops, in the shapes of animals, to celebrate their oneness with Mother Earth. Many of these mounds remain today as a monument to these people and a reminder to us that we are also of the earth.
In 1673, the first white men to see what is now Iowa, explorer Louis Joliet and Father James Marquette, reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River and beheld the great, unknown river now known as the Mississippi. After the Louisiana Purchase, the government sent Zebulon Pike in 1805 to explore the Mississippi valley and select locations suitable for military posts. Pike recognized the park site as an important, strategic point, and an excellent location for a fort. The government agreed on the vicinity but selected the prairie around Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) for the fort. Several years later, Pike was again sent westward by the government and named Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Pikes Peak State Park is a hiker's delight. On its trails, hikers can explore beautiful wooded bluffs and valleys. Along the trails, hikers will see sheer walls of Decorah limestone, and fossil remains including brachiopods, gastropods and cephalopods. The trail goes past Bridal Veil Falls, a refreshing spring. The other trail leading to the 500-foot-high Point Ann overlooks the town of McGregor offers an invigorating hike with breathtaking views.
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