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  • Writer's pictureStacy Tierney

Park #2 Toltec Mounds Archeological Park

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

Pulling up to the Toltec Mounds Archeological State park, I was hit with the confirmation of why we are on this little adventure in 2021. I am embarrassed to admit that I have been within "spittin distance" (as they say in the South) of this park, mostly on a bike (so you know it took some effort to get there) and I have never seen the mounds. So I was thankful for this beautiful winter day, all be it chilly and windy, to explore Toltec. The Toltec Mounds were initially thought to be the settlement of the Toltec Indians from Mexico and how it got it's namesake. However, after archaeologists explored the area in the 60s, it was discovered that the lands were in fact occupied by North American Indians and the inhabitants were then given the name of "Plum Bayou Culture." Giving a nod to the local waterway, Plum Bayou. Nonetheless, the name Toltec is still used for the Mounds. It really is no surprise that the Toltec Mounds are the tallest prehistoric Mounds in Arkansas! See a picture below of little old me in front of the biggest mound for size reference.

Upon entry into the Museum, we were instantly impressed with the place. We could tell by the professional look of the exhibits that we were going to be able to gain a plethora of new knowledge. The lobby of the Museum was also filled with lots of trinkets that I could not wait to peruse. Just wait until I tell you about this amazing find we scored!

Steven and I split up and took on the exhibit from opposite ends allowing ourselves space to read and soak in all the history. There was so much to see, I knew I needed to take my time. There were many artifacts from the time period. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the pictures of the Archeologists working hard in their passion for discovering the antiquity of times past during their Archeological digs. My favorite factoid was that the Toltec Mounds were planned and built with precise mathematical alignments of each other. These precision placements were based on the alignment with important solar positions and standardized units of measurement allowing the sun to align to give the settlers clues on when to plant and harvest their crops as well as appropriate timing of sacred ceremonies. This is really mind-blowing when you remember that this was happening in prehistoric time!

We finished up our tour of new knowledge and headed to the lobby. Now this is where the BEST part of the day occurred. Yaaaalllll... we got a Coke for 0.93 cents! What a score!! I guess it really is the little things. So we approached the Staff desk with our cheapie Coke, our park specific souvenir and our #arstateparks Passport. We were greeted by 2 very friendly park staff who were impressed by our Passport stamp on the Lower White River Museum as they say not many people get that stamp. I guess we are already professionals in the state park game!!

We head outside to hit the Mound trial.

We decided on the shorter, paved trail versus the longer off-road trail to avoid some mud. We vowed to come back and explore the longer trail on a warmer, dryer day. The trail was nice and offered a flat, comfortable walk. We stopped and enjoyed the many plaques along the way that gave insight to not only the Toltec Mounds and its people, but also to the Archeological dig that occurred in recent times. Each Mound resulted in us stopping to soak it all in, awestruck at the seemingly simple beauty that we now know is definitely more complex.

As we wrapped up our walk, we again made our promises to come back and explore more, maybe by bike next time! We headed out to the parking lot when this little gem of a garden caught my eye. I wandered over to discover that this garden is full of plants that would have been used during prehistoric times by the people of Toltec. There were plants whose leaves were used to make shoes and other plants that were used for medicinal purposes. I can not wait to come back in warmer, sunnier months and see this garden in all its full bloom glory!

The Toltec Mound Archeological park is full of delights. I urge you if you are in the area to check it out. We are missing so much that is happening in our own backyards. #thisismyarkansas is chocked full of treasures if you are willing to get out and discover it!

Our next blog will be coming soon, featuring Park #3, the Planation Agricultural Museum in Scott. Thanks for coming on this ride with us!


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Shari Havins
Shari Havins
Jan 30, 2021

I have been wanting to go here for years. I like you have been out there so many times on bike, and never did. I am definitely making a point to do it sometime.


Jan 15, 2021

Got to visit now!


Hi, thanks for dropping by!

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