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A Little Switzerland in Iowa's Northeast Corner

Updated on April 15, 2013

Northeastern Iowa

The northeastern corner of Iowa is not so flat like the rest of the state. Iowa has its own little Switzerland. Northeastern Iowa is known as bluffs country or "The Little Switzerland of Iowa." The area is quite hilly with many trees, which is in the Mississippi River Valley. There are a lot of small river towns like Lansing, Marquette, Prairie Du Chien and McGregor. My grandparents liked to visit these small towns along the Mississippi River to see the view, which was spectacular and beautiful as long as the sun was shining, and in the fall (October) they liked to see the leaves when they changed colors. They would take our family with them when they went, which was fun. Wen the grandparents went over to the Mississippi River, they always went over a bridge at Marquette to Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin to visit the Wisconsin side of the river. They had a son, who lived in Wisconsin. Their son and his family lived in Wisconsin for many years, and still do.

Northeast Iowa is a lot different from the rest of the state as it is very hilly and there are many bluffs along the Mississippi River. You can see the rock cut out where they put the roads in. They say that when you enter the area where the bluffs are by the river, your ears pop from the pressure of the area. The area is very beautiful, especially when it's a sunny warm day. There are many panoramic views of the river from the bluffs next to it. The Little Switzerland of Northeast Iowa is worth seeing over and over again.

My grandfather had a brother, who lived in McGregor, Iowa for many years, also. He raised his family there, until he retired and had moved to another town in Iowa to live. My grandparents use to visit the brother and his family, too on the trips to the Mississippi River, and the small river towns. I remember how beautiful these places are, with all of the bluffs, trees, and the river close by blue on a warm sunny day. I remember going over the two old suspension bridges that use to connect Iowa with Wisconsin. They use to seem so scary back then-they were torn down back in the 1970s and were replaced by a new bridge. I think that the two old suspension bridges were on a list of the most dangerous bridges in the United States years ago. Before the two bridges were taken down, they only allowed traffic on one side of the bridge to go across at a time-so the bridges must have been in bad shape, and needed to be replaced.

The Mississippi River

A view of the Mississippi River
A view of the Mississippi River | Source

The Old Bridge

Places to See

The "Effigy Mounds National Monument" is a great place to visit. Ancient Indians buried their dead in mounds in the form of birds, reptiles, and mammals (like the Great Bear Mound). There is a visitors' center, many trails for hiking, a hanging rock with a spectacular view of the Mississippi River, and much, much more...Its a wonderful place to visit.

Marquette is known for flea markets, the river boat casino, and is not too far away from McGregor, Iowa. McGregor, Iowa is beautiful with all of the bluffs, and the Mississippi River that goes right by the town making it one of the most beautiful places in northeast Iowa.

McGregor, Iowa (Visit from KCRG)

Northeast Iowa

I remember visiting the Effigy Mounds with the family, and my sister, brother, and I walked on a trail until we reaches the hanging rock. We visited the Effigy Mounds twice, and the second time we went to the hanging rock and there were people sitting on the edge of it. I would not want to be sitting there in case I would fall below into the river, which would be a horrible thought.

After the grandparents died, my mother would still drive over there once in a great while, but not too often, like the grandparents use to. I remember visiting "Pikes Peak State Park" in Iowa a few times, and the view of the Mississippi River was so spectacular, and you could see a bridge in the distance, but not too far away. We use to go through LaCrosse, Wisconsin to go to Stoddard, where my mother's brother and his family lived. Whenever we went through La Crosse, we always saw a brewery there. I remember seeing the locks on the Mississippi, and how wide the Mississippi River was. I have always loved seeing the beautiful scenery, with the bluffs, the trees, and the mighty Mississippi, especially when the day was sunny, warm, and with very few or no clouds to overcast.

Northeast Iowa is a great place to visit, especially the area known as "The Little Switzerland" of Iowa, with the small river towns, the bluffs,the trees, and the Mississippi River.

McGregor, Iowa

A markerMcGregor, Iowa -
McGregor, IA 52157, USA
get directions

McGregor, Iowa is a small river town in Northeast Iowa (area called Little Switzerland, known for its bluffs, the Mississippi River, etc.

Mississippi River


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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Pike's Peak State Park is in Iowa, for some reason I thought it was in Wisconsin--I changed it now. For some reason I didn't remember where it was-its been a lot of years I guess.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thank you for commenting. Northeast Iowa is my favorite place to visit, too. I always loved the scenery and the Mississippi River.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, It was always my favorite part of Iowa to visit, too. I loved seeing the bluffs and the Mississippi River.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 5 years ago

      Nice hub. NE Iowa is my favorite part of Iowa to visit!