|From Pike's Peak State Park, near McGregor, in the NE corner of Iowa.
I thought you might enjoy the detailed description of this park. The following description is taken from the official brochure of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Follow County Road X-56 at the south end of McGregor's Main Street, wind upward about 2.5 miles and you arrive at Pikes Peak State Park, the highest bluff on the Mississippi River. Pikes Peak, in the heart of one of the nation's most picturesque regions, offers a unique combination of scenic beauty, history and outdoor recreational opportunity.
From the top of the 500-foot bluff, a breathtaking view of the confluence of the Wisconsin River and the might Mississippi may be seen to the south. To the north, the view of the twin suspension bridges connecting Iowa and Wisconsin can be seen.
Pikes Peak State Park is located in the "Paleozoic Plateau" that was missed by the glaciers that flattened and molded much of Iowa. This area, often called the "Driftless" region, is noted for its natural beauty. Its hills and valleys offer great vistas, large timbered tracts, spring-fed streams and a natural beauty unique to northeast Iowa.
Native Americans of the Woodland Culture of 800 to 1200 A. D. sculpted earthen "effigy" mounds (Gary's note - see entry to be dated 07/10/07) on ridge tops, in the shapes of animals, to celebrate their oneness with Mother Earth. Many of these mounds remain today as a monument to these people and a reminder to us that we are also of the earth.
In 1673, explorer Louis Joliet and Father James Marquette, the first white men to see what is now Iowa, reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River and beheld the great unknown river now known as the Mississippi. After the Louisiana Purchase, the government sent Zebulon Pike in 1805 to explore the Mississippi valley and select locations suitable for military posts.
Pike recognized the park site as an important strategic point and an excellent location for a fort. The government agreed on the vicinity but selected the prairie around Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) for the fort. Several years later, Pike was again sent westward by the U. S. government on an expedition from which Pikes Peak in Colorado was named after him.
In 1837, Alexander McGregor established a ferry across the Mississippi River. McGregor's Landing was established at the site of the town that now bears his name. When Mrs. Munn died, her will provided that Pikes Peak be given to the federal government as a gift. The land had been inherited from McGregor
It was later conveyed by Congress to the State of Iowa and became Pikes Peak and Point Ann State Parks in 1936. Mrs. Munn had never allowed settlers on the land, and as a result, the landscape at Pikes Peak today probably does not vary much from the way it was hundreds of years ago. In the late 1960's, the land between Pikes Peak and Point Ann State Parks was purchased by the State of Iowa and the present day Pikes Peak State Park was formed.