Poverty Point National Monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Louisiana that takes visitors more than 3,000 years back to a time to when Poverty Point was a center for trade that stretched across the continent.
The monument is an engineering marvel, and was a vast trading network built by ancient inhabitants and perhaps one of America’s most interesting historic archeological finds.
The engineering behind what are now earthen mounds and ridges once supported a thriving civilization. What is more impressive is that this was during the pre-agriculture society era where large civilizations were quite uncommon.
Poverty Point National Monument is a communal engineering project built by our ancestors. It must have been an extremely difficult task for those who built it given that there were no modern tools or equipment at the time.
The monument itself is a mound builder site, a complex array of earthen mounds and ridges so complicated in appearance, that it was first assumed to be natural. It was in 1950, that researchers discovered the involvement of men behind it.
The sophisticated patterns and earthwork make for an amazing view. If you visit Poverty Point, bring a drone if you've got one. It's the best way to admire and capture the monument's aerial views.
Poverty Point National Monument is located in northeast Louisiana and is away from any of the major cities. The closest airport to the monument is the Shreveport Airport, a three-hour drive away.
The closest town to Poverty Point is Delhi, which is only a 22 minute drive from the monument. If you are driving, from interstate 20, take the Delhi exit and drive north on LA 17, and then east on to LA 134. The road then turns north again on to LA 577. After driving for another mile, turn right to reach your destination.
Poverty Point National Monument doesn’t have any campgrounds but just 15 miles (and about 20 minutes) away, you’ll find a very well-equipped RV campground at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park.
This state park boasts 54 RV campsites, 45 of them are premium campsites with full hookups. The remaining 9 campsites are improved campsites with electric and water hookups.
If you choose to stay here, make sure you visit the 2,700-acre lake that gives this park its name. Go swimming, fishing, or just enjoy the scenic views from the water's edge.
Located less than an hour from the Poverty Point National Monument, is a museum that honors General Claire Lee Chennault. Chennault was a pilot from the small farming town of Gilbert, Louisiana, who carried on to become one of the greatest war veterans and a celebrated aviator.
In this museum, you’ll get to see the battle front lines through the eyes of the General, and how his journey led him to become part of campaigns from the U.S. as well as Chinese air forces. The museum displays artifacts from the wartime and tells captivating stories. Learn about the heart-stopping challenges and unbelievable triumphs he and his comrades faced during WWII.
About an hour away from the Poverty Point Heritage Site is the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens. It's one of the most diverse attractions in Louisiana. Joe Biedenharn was a bottling pioneer and had sprawling gardens around his house. He also had close ties with the famous Coca-Cola Company, seeing as he was their first-ever bottler. The Bible Museum here also displays an array of books and rare artifacts along with interesting exhibits that change from time to time.
A good onsite activity at Poverty Point National Monument when the weather is cold or rainy is the Poverty Point Museum. The museum displays a diverse assortment of artifacts that were excavated from the site when it was first discovered on a former plantation.
The museum will give the visitors an insight into these mysterious engineers from history and the theories behind the mounds. They explore the research that has been done and many more details into the earthwork left by the ancient residents.
About eight miles from the Poverty Point National Monument is the Wild Safari Park. This park takes you on a wild ride– a guided tour–to a sanctuary where exotic animals roam freely.
This is a must-have experience when visiting this part of Louisiana, especially, when you have kids with you. The Wild Safari Park teaches you a thing or two about the natural habitats of llamas, camels, bison, deer, ostriches, zebras, and kangaroo.
Watch with fascination as the water buffalo stroll by, and even get to see the critters up-close in the petting zoo, where kids can enjoy feeding them.
Poverty Point National Monument has a 2.6-mile long hiking trail and that should be your first stop when you visit the monument. The Poverty Point Monument comprises of mounds constructed by an intelligent civilization and by a community of people who lived on this very land even before the Egyptians had even begun to build their pyramids.
While people can tour these mounds via a tram, a richer experience can be gained by hiking the trail.
Poverty Point National Monument is surrounded by a large number of shrubs, trees, and vines. All the foliage provides an excellent habitat for plenty of songbirds that nest in the area and even spend winters here before migrating. Some of the representative nesters that you might have a chance to see and even capture on your camera are the great crested flycatcher, wood thrush, orchard oriole, eastern wood-pewee, hooded warbler, and dickcissel.
Permanent resident birds at Poverty Point include the barred owl, eastern bluebird, red-headed woodpecker, brown thrasher, and wood duck.