Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Oct

Hikers seen at the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of part of the countryside seen from the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting places in Siouxland is always fun for me. A little exercise at some destinations and the chance to reacquaint with a place that is as much educational as it is fun. Spirit Mound outside of Vermillion, SD is recognized as one of the stopovers for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that former President Thomas Jefferson commissioned for the expansion of territory during the 1800’s.

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The hike to the top of the mound is easy enough and gives a nice view or the surrounding area, which is mostly farmland. It was high ground for the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the surrounding area. Sacred to local Native American tribes. As described on a national park website: “Spirit Mound was alternately described as a “mountain of evel spirits”, a “hill of little people”, and a “place of Deavels.” The Sioux, Omaha, and Otoe tribes told of 18-inch tall humans with “remarkable large heads” who inhabited the site. Armed with arrows, these spirits attacked anyone who approached the hill. What did Lewis and Clark expect to find there?”

The park includes a variety of signage that includes information about the journey as well as natural history of the place that might interest to others. It’s a pleasant way to spend part of a day exploring the area. Enough exercise to work up an appetite for lunch but not too much for the non outdoor adventurous type.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holdover from a glacial period at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about earlier geological aspects of the area seen at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geologic information about Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information about restoration of prairie explained along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rest bench at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wildflowers at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bunny greets a visitor before darting off into vegetation along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grasshopper nestled into vegetation at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about snakes along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An all-sided bench for folk who climb to the summit and can then enjoy a 360 view of the surrounding countryside at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

3 Responses to “Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD”

  1. Angela Tague October 12, 2022 at 10:23 am #

    Gosh, that’s pretty! I’ve never been out there, but need to add it to my list of future #AdventuresWithLeo!

    • jerrymennenga October 12, 2022 at 12:43 pm #

      It’s not that far, and Leo would probably like the walk. You can visit USD campus afterwards and feel like you’re back in school again.

      • Angela Tague October 12, 2022 at 12:49 pm #

        Sounds like a wonderful afternoon plan! Thanks!

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