Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
Top Five Things To Do
1. See the archaeological features of the Mississipian culture.
2. View pottery, stone tools, artifacts and park history displays.
3. Walk the interpretive archaeological trails.
4. Learn about Native American art and culture.
5. View the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River.
Wickliffe Mounds has a museum, welcome center, gift shop, trails and picnic areas. Come see us!
A Native American village once occupied the site of Wickliffe Mounds, about A.D. 1100 to 1350. Here, people of the Mississippian culture built earthen mounds and permanent houses around a central plaza overlooking the Mississippi River. Today, this Native American archaeological site features mounds surrounded by abundant wildlife, museum exhibits, a walking trail, welcome center, a gift shop and picnic areas.
Open to the public since 1932, the museum exhibits excavated features with displays of Mississippian pottery, stone tools, artifacts and artwork showcasing their way of life and the archaeological history of Native American tribes in Kentucky. Visitors have a spectacular view of the bluff area on top of the Ceremonial Mound, the largest mound on the site. Special exhibits, hands-on displays, events, demonstrations and educational programs occur at various times throughout the year. For example, an annual family fun event is the popular Archaeology Day, an event held each September for Kentucky Archaeology Month.
Scientific archaeological research through Murray State University has revealed important information about the Mississippian people here at Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site. This registered archaeological site (15BA4) is on the National Register of Historic Places, and a Kentucky Archaeological Landmark. Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is an Interpretive Center on the Mississippi River’s Great River Road National Scenic Byway and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Auto Tour Route.
Please note: Pets are prohibited on the archaeological site, which encompasses the fenced in area around the mounds, buildings and trails; service dogs allowed. Please call park office for questions regarding the pet policy.
Open Wed-Sun through November 15, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed for holidays. Resume regular schedule in January.
Open Thurs. & Fri. plus the first Saturday of each month.
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Other days by appointment only.
**Please use COVID-19 precautions with mask and social distancing while visiting the park.**
Schedule is subject to change without notice. It is suggested to call the park office at 270-335-3681 when planning your visit over winter.
Things to DoSelf-Guided Tours
Visitors may walk the grounds to view the Ceremonial, Chief’s and Burial Mounds and take an Archaeology Walking Trail tour. Exhibits in the main museum gallery give visitors a chance to see Mississippian tools and learn about their technology in stone, pottery, weaving, and the natural environment.
Choice areas for bird watching include the bluff picnic area, Woodswalk Trail, and the Ceremonial Mound. One of our resident birds, the elusive Pileated Woodpecker is most active during the morning hours. Its cackle resonates throughout the park daily and is frequently sighted.
The summer weather, with the riverine environment, provides a splendid habitat for attracting shoreline birds such as Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egrets, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Belted Kingfishers. Late fall, winter, and early springtime are best for viewing Canada geese and a wide variety of ducks including Woods, Muscovy, Mallards, Common Goldeneye, and Hooded Merganser; rare are the Bluewinged and Cinnamon Teal, Redhead and Canvasback Pochards. Bald Eagle sightings are more common during the waterfowl migratory season.
Resident woodland birds include Turkeys, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, and in the woodpecker family Red-headed, Red Bellied, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and the Pileated. Also common to the park are Kestrels, Red Tailed Hawks, and Turkey Vultures.
Stop by the Welcome Center for a bird viewing pamphlet and checklist.
Woods Walk Trail - enjoy a leisurely walk through the woods here on a 200-yard loop trail. Views of seasonal wildflowers, wildlife, trees and bird watching opportunities available. Mississippi River is across the highway from the park. Please visit the Welcome Center during park hours for a trail map and plant information pamphlet.
Picnic tables (no grills) are available at the bluff area during park hours for enjoying the peaceful surroundings. More tables and a shelter are located in the paid admission archaeological site area as well.
Books, souvenirs, pottery, baskets, t-shirts, jewelry and replica artifacts highlight the many items in the gift shop which focus on Native American culture, archaeology, history and regional interests. Soft drinks also available for sale in gift shop. Located in the Welcome Center during regular park hours.
The museum consists of an excavated mound with archaeological features, site artifacts, a mural of a Mississippian village and exhibits focusing on the archaeological history of the site and Mississippian culture.
Admission fees taken at the Welcome Center and interpretive pamphlets and guide sheets are available.