Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve

870 S Pilot Knob Rd, Galena, IL. Posted: Casper Bluff will close at 3PM on Monday, November 13, 2023. This includes access from the Galena River Trail.  It will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday.

Not only does Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve boast some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs, it is also an archaeologically significant site. The 170-acre property contains the Aiken Mound Group, named for the nearby community of Aiken. It is also home to many rare and wondrous birds, making it a popular spot for bird watching, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Dogs on leash welcome.

The Aiken Mound Group is part of the larger Effigy Mound culture that existed between A.D. 700 and A.D. 1000 in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. Our modern knowledge of these mounds stems from 1900, when William Baker Nickerson, an amateur archaeologist who worked for the railroads, documented 51 mounds at this location including a thunderbird effigy, the last known intact effigy of its kind in Illinois.