The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In Iowa

Fire Point Trail
Effigy Mounds National Monument • Marquette

The Upper Mississippi River Valley is characterized by so many overlooking bluffs that no one is sure which is the highest. One of the best public places for your dog to look down on the Great River combines scenic views with some of America’s finest prehistoric relics.

Mound building cultures that inhabited the Mississippi region 2,500 years ago constructed mounds for religious, ceremonial, burial, and elite residential purposes. More than 200 mounds have been documented in the monument, including 31 in the shape of spirit animals, or effigies. Nowhere have more been found.

No vehicles are permitted to mar the sacred site that contains 14 miles of self-guiding trails weaving among the mounds. The Fire Point Trail is a two-mile canine hike that passes all four types of mounds: conical, linear, compound, and an effigy (Little Great Bear). Seaman will find a serious trail here as the dirt path switches to the top the bluffs. Panting tongues will recede after that.

Today the Effigy Mounds resemble an English woodland park with a grassy understory in the forest. The mounds are identified by higher grass. As the Fire Point Trail works its way to overlooks from hundreds of feet above the Mississippi there is no hurry to finish the loop. Atop the bluffs this agreeable canine hiking can continue to more scenic views and more effigies, including the Great Bear Mound Group, one of largest of its ilk.

HIKING TIME: 1-2 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)


National Parks with Hiking

Effigy Mounds National Monument
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Hiking With Your Dog Iowa