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Little Maquoketa River Mounds Preserve
About the Mounds
Situated high atop a limestone ridge, overlooking the Little Maquoketa River just north of Dubuque on Highway 52/3, this 41-acre preserve features 32 ancient burial mounds. The preserve also harbors a mature forest containing numerous wildflowers and a small remnant of native blufftop prairie. Purchased by the Iowa DOT in 1980, and managed by the Dubuque County Conservation Board, this site is a classic example of a place to observe “stream piracy” and the route that took the Little Maquoketa River from its original bed.
Development of the Site
A trail up the 200-foot steep bluff continues at the top to circle around the Indian Mounds that are protected by fencing. The mounds range from 13 to 42 feet across and 6.5 to 50 feet high. Over 15 Native American tribes were consulted in the development of the site. Informational kiosks at the parking lot and blufftop explain the significant archaeological, geological, and natural resources found at the site.