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Discover the Beauty of Effigy Mounds

We are blessed to have this rich history for visitors to take self-guided tours of the Native American mounds. 

18 Big Chief Mound


The first self-guided trail is situated on the grounds of Koshkonong Mounds CC - Tour the Mounds of Koshkonong Mounds.  There are 17 effigy mounds to explore!  Tour booklets are available at the "Tour the Mounds" signage located in the upper parking lot, at the first mound, #26 Bird Mound. 

Map of Tour The Mounds

Nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, you can see for yourself the history behind the Effigy Mound Builders, who were semi-nomad hunters and gatherers known as Woodland Indians.  It is believed they were active in this area from 300 A.D. to 1300 A.D. They had a distinct habit of building earthen mounds and you will note their multiple shapes of birds, turtles, bears, panthers, etc. 

Long after the Effigy Mound Builders disappeared, the Rock River valley was inhabited by the Winnebago, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, and Menominee tribes.  The Winnebago were the most numerous and powerful of the groups.  They originated from the Great Plains and related to the Sioux and Dakota Tribes.  The other southern Wisconsin tribes were related to the Atlantic coast and migrated to this region.  

In the early 1800s before settlers arrived, the land around Lake Koshkonong was inhabited by both Winnebago and Potawatomi Native Americans. The Potawatomi had a permanent village on the Rock River at what is now the city, of Watertown. Summer fishing and hunting camps were placed here on this high bluff looking over the lake, which is now Koshkonong Mounds CC. 

Before the dam was built in 1850, Lake Koshkonong was very shallow.  It was covered entirely with wild rice.  The Winnebago tribe called it Kosh-kon-ong, which meant "the lake we live on" as it was a source of food and fish. As you tour, you will see two sets of bird mounds flying at 220 degrees, in the exact direction of the October Harvest Moon.  This is believed to be a tribute to the abundant rice harvests that occurred in the fall. 


The second tours is the Indian Mounds & Trail Park located on Koshkonong Mounds Road, 200 yards south of the golf course.  The Jefferson County Parks Department maintains this five-acre park and allows visitors to view eleven Native American effigy mounds. Visitors can hike the trail through the woods to view the mounds. A portion of the trail includes a part of an ancient Native American trail.

Park Brochure   |   Map of the Park