Toltec Mounds State Park

“Left! Left! Left! You were supposed to turn there.” I slump back in my seat.

Cowboy looks surprised: “I thought I was supposed to go strait”

And that is how we wind up cutting across corn fields on Toltec Mounds road, wondering if that name means what we think it means.

It does…somewhat.

I bounce in my chair as we turn into Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. The name, however, is a misnomer. These massive man made Mounds were originally attributed to the Toltec because locals believed that regional Indians were too savage to achieve such great earthworks. We now know that assumption to be wrong for multiple reasons.

Toltec Mounds State Park
View to two of the largest remaining mounds in Toltec Mounds State Park

Toltec Mounds State Park
Visitors can take their own walking tour of the mounds by following one of two paths around the complex.

Traces of a Complex Culture

Lacking any written record, we do not know what these mound builders called themselves. Today, we refer to them as the Plumb Bayou culture, after a local stream. The location served as both a ceremonial and administrative hub. The mounds traced a general linear patter across the complex, surrounded by an earthen embankment.

Only 3 of the original 18 mounds remain. They were built between A.D. 650 to 1050. Much of the original mounds were destroyed by farming before the area became a State Park.

Visiting Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Today, what remains is preserved as part of the Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park along with an interpretive center and picnic area. We took a self guided walking tour around the mounds and through a small cypress forest. The weather was so hot that we were grateful to return to the air conditioned interpretive center after our walk.

Toltec Mounds State Park
Cypress continue to grow around the mounds.

Toltec Mounds State Park
Cypress trees thrive in the wet east Arkansas environment.

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

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