Tower Rock Natural Area
Points of Interest:
- See Tower Rock, a geologic and historic landmark.
- View the mighty Mississippi River.
- Look for birds along the river and in the hardwood covered hills.
Natural Features Description:
Tower Rock is an erosional remnant left as a result of Mississippi River channel shifts. The rock is composed of limestone of the Devonian period formed some 400 million years ago. Surrounding softer rocks were eroded away by the Mississippi River leaving the rock which stands about 60 feet above the average river level.
Tower Rock has been the subject of much historical legend and lore. The first written description of this feature was by Father Jacques Marquette from 1673. William Clark mapped the rock in 1803 during their ascent of the Mississippi to begin the exploration of the Missouri River. At the end of the Civil War the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed clearing rocks from the river at this location to eliminate obstacles to navigation. Upon a recommendation of the Secretary of Interior, then president Ulysses Grant issued an executive order on March 4, 1871 which spared Tower Rock from blasting.
Just west of Wittenburg off Highway A, travel south on County Road 460 south for about 1.5 miles to the area parking lot. Here you can look across the river to Tower Rock. Continuing down 460 over the railroad tracks there is a pull off on the north side of the road that is the trailhead for a short hiking trail up the hill to an overlook.
Get more information from the MDC Atlas.
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