Iowa National Parks

Iowa has a great mix of ancient culture and modern adventure. If you build it, they will come, so come #FindYourPark in Iowa.

Iowa National Parks

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Effigy Moundbuilders describes a culture of archaic Native American hunter-gatherers that lived along the Upper Mississippi River. Thousands of mounds can be found in the region and take the shape of birds, bear, deer, bison, lynx, panther, turtles, and water spirits. Archaeologists and scholars believe that they built these mounds for religious purposes while some believe they were also used for burials.

Established in 1949, Effigy Mounds National Monument protects 200 or so of these ancient mounds that can be explored by foot. Ranger programs and guided tours are available to learn more about the mounds and what we currently understand about the people and cultures that lived here during the Late Woodland Period (350-1300 CE). The park currently protects about 1,045 acres.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Herbert Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States from 1929-1933 during the onset of America's Great Depression. He was born in West Branch, IA, where he lived until he was nine. Today, West Branch serves as home to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, as well as The Presidential Library and Museum. Exhibits at the park include the Birthplace Cottage, Blacksmith Shop, Friends Meetinghouse, Schoolhouse, and the grave sites of President and Mrs. Hoover.

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site was established in 1945.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - PA, OH, WV, KY, IN, ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail marks the historic journey by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark along 4,900 miles of wilderness from Pennsylvania all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. The Trail connects 16 states - Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon - and includes museums, landmarks, exhibits, and Visitor Centers along the route. For a complete list of markers and things to see and do, click here.

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail - IL, IA, NE, UT, WY

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail marks the path taken by the Mormon Pioneers led by Brigham Young on their journey from Illinois to Utah, beginning in 1846. On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young arrived in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah to begin a new life with his fellow Mormons.

The 1,300 mile route begins in Nauvoo, Illinois, and moves through the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Modern-Day auto routes with maps are available with many sites along the way for guests to visit. The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail was made part of the National Trails System on November 10, 1978.

Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area was designated in 1996 and partners with the National Park Service to promote and bring awareness to America's agricultural heritage. The collection of 49 sites helps to "interpret farm life, agribusiness, and rural communities-past and present." For more information and a list of sites, visit the official Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area website.

For some other ideas on visiting Iowa and sites that are part of the Silos and Smokestacks NHA, read our post on visiting Dubuque, IA.