Once considered the state's highest point, Ocheyedan Mound is a geological landmark


Growing up as a student in Northwest Iowa in the 1990s and early 2000s, we were always told that the "Ocheyedan Mound" near Ocheyedan in Osceola County was the highest point in Iowa.

Our teachers were not totally wrong. In fact, at one point, it truly had been declared as such. But as it turns out, a higher elevation point had been discovered at the Sterler Family Farm, a few miles to the north and west of the Ocheyedan Mound. The mound is just 15 feet shorter than the spot that beat it out. Today that spot is known as Hawkeye Point and it is a legitimate tourist stop for the next time you are in the area.

Despite losing it's elevation notoriety, the Ocheyedan Mound is still worth visiting. This geological landmark, a great example of what is known as a "kame" and is now a state preserve and under the management of the Osceola County Conservation Board.

This particular "kame", according to the MyCountyParks.com website, "was formed by the Wisconsin Glacier approximately 13,000 years ago. Kames are deposits of sand and gravel resulting from the melting of ice forming ice channels and depositing the material as hill-like forms."

Ocheyedan, a town of about 490 people as of the 2010 census, is quite proud of their mound. They even put it on their town sign. The landmark itself is about a mile south and east of town.

As you are driving up from the west, you can definitely see how it got it's "mound" name.

As you drive up, you will discover a small parking lot where you can park for your hike.

In the time since my visit during warmer days last year, a new sign has been added to give more information and history about this geological landmark.

There's a thin but fairly well worn path that you can follow to the top.

Most of it is dirt though there is some gravel and rock.

Along the way, you can enjoy the nice prairie and wild flowers.

There's also some rocks.

You can probably make it to the top in 10 or so minutes. It's not an incredibly intense hike you are climbing a little bit of elevation.

Once you make it to the top, you are treated to some lovely views of the surrounding countryside, including the community of Ocheyedan.

There are a couple of different humps that make up the 'kame'.

The section of public land that includes the mound is actually a public hunting area.

Visiting the Ocheyedan Mound may not be high on your list of places to go in the middle of winter, but when it warms up, this would be a great place to explore and enjoy the outdoors. It's a terrific place to learn a little bit more about how our state was formed thousands of years ago while also getting a little exercise and some fresh air. Not to mention, it's a short drive from Hawkeye Point and you can brag to your friends that you've visited both the former highest point and the current highest point on the same day.

As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Osceola County or in any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this website.

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