Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Step into the Storied History and Breathtaking Beauty of Mount Hosmer Park in Lansing
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Step into the Storied History and Breathtaking Beauty of Mount Hosmer Park in Lansing

Mount Hosmer Park in Lansing boasts some truly spectacular views. On a recent visit to Lansing, having taken Highway 26 from Minnesota with its views of the Mighty Mississippi, I made the 450-foot ascent to the very top of Mount Hosmer. As I stepped out of my Subaru, I was greeted with a panoramic vista of which anyone with a deep appreciation for the particular beauty of this legendary river would never tire. There are two different elevations of scenic overlooks in the park, but the view at the peak cannot be outdone. There were boats dotting the water’s surface and I could clearly see the faint blue Black Hawk Bridge connecting Lansing with the Wisconsin side of the river. There is a permanent, public optical viewer available and I took full advantage to get a little closer look at the majesty of the river and the hustle and bustle that envelops and surrounds it. I couldn’t help but wish I’d made my journey closer to sunset so that I could take in the orange and crimson, but the beauty at midday was still stunning.

I noticed too that the park is home to more than one monument to veterans and to our servicemen and women. A few small American flags dotted the landscape and a very large flag sits in a central location at the top of the bluff. The fruition of the flag’s reality was aided by many, as the accompanying plaque attests, and it is illuminated in the evenings, standing tall as a reminder to all to take seriously the gift of freedom and the sacrifices made to secure it.

As I explored the park grounds, a blue sign points out the history of the park’s namesake. Back in the 1850s, Harriet Hosmer was declared the winner of a footrace to the summit that occurred during a steamboat layover. Born in Watertown, Massachusetts, she was hailed as the most influential female sculptor in America in the 1800s. Thinking about the generations that have enjoyed the view from this same spot for over 150 years really magnifies the historical significance of the Mississippi and the surrounding bluffs. It’s interesting to contemplate the differences Ms. Hosmer saw in that river view and the nearby land, but how she was likely moved just the same by a view that makes everyday worries slip away in the ripples on the water’s edge.

If you are looking for even more from a stop at Mount Hosmer Park, there are several trails that make for steep but enjoyable hiking. Playground amenities abound as well as picnic tables and grills so that a stop here can truly turn into a family affair and a pleasant day spent. It is surely lovely in early autumn as the crisp air reverberates with the gentle crunch of leaves underfoot and dazzling color all around.

Mount Hosmer Park is a place that offers more than just a reason or two to stop. Visiting might just become your highlight of a trip to Lansing. So take the steep climb to the top and discover the bountiful rewards that await.


  1. RovingPatrick
    I bet the views are spectacular any time of daylight on any day of the year. Fog or snow or rain would give its own great perspective. Just in time for when RAGBRAI rolled through, a Lansing-born author released a new book on Hosmer. The book was reviewed in the Waukon Standard:

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