Blood Run historic site


You can find Blood Run, a National Historic Landmark, at the far northwest corner of Iowa…if you’re willing to get off the main roads. Located about half a mile south of 1001 120th St., Larchwood, the Blood Run archaeological site is very remote and difficult to find. (The nearest city of any size is Sioux Falls, S.D.) The woman I spoke with at the Lyon County Conservation Board suggested setting my GPS at 1051 120th St., but it’s even south of that if I remember correctly.

I visited the Blood Run historic landmark this summer because I’m really interested in Iowa’s history – pre-European settlement history, even pre-human history. This particular site is more than 300 years old. It’s the location of a large village and ceremonial site of the people who were ancestors of the Omaha, Iowa, Ponca, and Otoe-Missouria tribes – the Oneota and Prairie Sioux. It was a major trading site from about 1500 to 1700.

Hundreds of burial mounds were once observed, and you can still see several of them here.

At its peak, this land was attractive to the Oneota culture because of its fertile soil for gardens, abundant game, and access to the Big Sioux River.

IMG_3727It’s still an incredibly beautiful place: hilly, wooded, prairie plants everywhere. But it’s the historical significance that took my breath away. This place is said to be one of the oldest sites of long-term human habitation in the United States.

Self-guided hiking is allowed on designated trails from May 15 to Sept. 15. Tour guides provided by the Lyon County Conservation Board must accompany visitors at other times. For an appointment call (712) 472-2217.


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