Poverty Point National Monument Highpoint Trip Report

Date: May 24, 2008
Author: John Mitchler

General Description: In the northeast corner of Louisiana, the highpoint of this prehistoric
archeological site is a broad, flat area between the visitor center and the largest Indian mound,
located along the west side of Bayou Marcon in the Mississippi River floodplain.

Distance: 1,000 feet one-way
Difficulty: easy stroll
Elevation gain: 5 feet
Summit elevation: 100 feet

Maps: DeLorme Atlas page 19

Access/permits: Open / None required / $2 per person, free for seniors and kids
Best months: all year
Visitor Centers: Visitor Center operated as part of the state park;
open 9am to 5pm daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Highpoint Description: A flat, open, grassy, park-like setting.

Finding the Trailhead

Take exit 153 (Delhi) off I-20 and drive north 14 miles on LA 17.
Turn right (east) on LA 134 at Epps and go 5.5 miles.
Turn left (west) on LA 577 and go 1 mile to the visitor center on your right (east) at (32.63750° N, 91.40694° W).

Trailhead Coordinates: WGS84 datum (32.63547° N, 91.40362° W)
Trailhead Map Link

Key points along the hike (distances in feet)

      0   parking lot at visitor center
  400   cross LA 577
  800   leave trail to the north
1500   highpoint
3500   base of Bird Mound to the west (optional)

The Hike

From the visitor center, walk west toward state highway 577, and go left on the “visitor loop” trail. Cautiously cross the highway, and continue on the obvious trail across a flat, open, grassy area. Wander this area to the right (north) until satisfied you’ve crossed the highest natural ground.

Return to your vehicle, or better yet, proceed west on the trail toward trees to 69-feet high Mound A (Bird Mound). At 166 feet, this is the park's highest elevation, although man-made. Continue on the trail as it loops north and back east across the highway, eventually reaching the visitor center, for a total distance of 2.6 miles.

Highpoint Coordinates: WGS84 datum (32.63612° N, 91.40621° W).
Highpoint Map Link

About the Park

This NPS national monument is managed by Louisiana as a state park known as Poverty Point State Historic Site. It protects five distinct mounds as well as six faint curved earthen ridges which form a half circle centered on the visitor center location. These features cover 400 acres and date from 1650 to 700 BC. Their full pattern was not realized until the 1950s when aerial photos revealed their complexity. [Wikipedia]

In 1962 the Dept of Interior designated this site a National Historic Landmark, and on Oct 31, 1988, the site received national monument status from Congress with the expectation that the site would be conveyed to the NPS. This transfer never happened. The site remains under Louisiana management, yet the NPS counts it as one of their sites.

The site receives its name from the plantation.

Camping and Services

None in the immediate area. Four lodges are at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park on LA 17,
three miles north of Delhi at I-20. While driving LA 17, watch for local dockside eating
establishments along the reservoir.