Students from our youth program work a bucket line while chipping our trails.
Four Mounds Hiking Trails
At Four Mounds, you can hike through the woods along the Mississippi bluff line on a woodchipped trail. Near the end, you come out onto a beautiful nature prairie. However, you're welcome to hike the entire grounds and visit the points of interest listed below.
1. GREY HOUSE: Built in 1908, this is an early example of craftsman style architecture. Designed by Chicago architect Lawrence Buck, it was built for George A. and Viola (Rider) Burden. This 21-room house now serves as the Four Mounds Conference Center and Inn. Small conferences are welcome and ready with fully equipped services. Overnight stays are available to reserve year round with a continental breakfast included each morning.
2. WHITE HOUSE: Built in 1924 for George R. (Bill), son of George A. and Viola, and Elizabeth (Adams) Burden, Elizabeth Burden lived there until her death in 1982. It was her decision to bequeath Four Mounds to the citizens of Dubuque after having talked about this possibility with Bill. This house, once restored, will serve as an extension of the Conference Center.
3. ROCK GARDEN: Created and cared for by Elizabeth Burden, the garden was in dire need of attention when the granddaughter of Elizabeth began restoring it in the spring of 1994. It now flourishes.
4. PLAY HOUSE: Built for Bill and Elizabeth's three daughters and their friends, the playhouse was restored as an Eagle Scout project in 1992.
5. POTTING SHED: Built shortly after the White House, the garden shed housed tools, compost, fertilizer, and other gardening needs for Elizabeth's gardens. The roof replacement was made possible by an Eagle Scout project. Its restoration will be completed shortly after the White House.
6. WOOD SHOP: Bill Burden built the wood shop in 1924. It was restored by multiple Eagle Scout projects in 1992 and 1993. Participants of YES and YES Impact (our at-risk youth programs) currently use the shop to produce birdhouses, butterfly houses, bat houses, etc...which they sell to the public. Those funds are then channeled back into the programs.
7. HERB GARDEN: Originally a large vegetable garden, volunteers planted and maintain an herb and flower garden.
8. ROPES COURSE: Constructed of wood, cables, and ropes, the Ropes Course offers a series of elements that provide a challenge for corporations, non-profit organizations, and many other groups to inspire cooperation, teamwork, and problem solving.
9. ROOT CELLAR: It was traditionally used for the cold storage of fruits, vegetables, and other organic material. It is still in use today.
10. GARDENER'S HOUSE: This house was built in 1920 to accommodate the gardener. Two generations of the Heitzman family lived here. It currently serves as a rental unit producing necessary income for the foundation.
11. CHAUFFEUR'S HOUSE: Constructed in 1907 and the first building at Four Mounds, the Burdens lived here until the Gray House was completed. It later became the home of Milton and Irene Kirch and their family. Milton was the chauffeur. This house is now the residence of the grounds person and his family.
12. BARN: The main building of the Burden's farming operation, the barn housed a shop and garage as well as stalls for cows and workhorses. The s econd floor was a hayloft and grain storage as well as housing for the original carriage driver. The barn was restored during 1997 and 1998.
13. ICE HOUSE: This building was designed and insulated to store ice through the hot summer months. It now serves as tool and hardware storage.
14. HOG HOUSE: This building was constructed with a cork-brick flooring to keep the hogs warm during the winter. The hog house has been completely restored.
15. BURIAL MOUNDS: These four ancient sacred Native American burial mounds are the namesake of the property. This area was inhabited by Woodland Indians. The burial mounds were named to the National Register of Historic Places in November of 2000.
16. PORCH RAMADA: Built by the Burdens, the porch ramada had a spectacular river view in its day. It was restored in 1992 by a multiple Eagle Scout project. We hope to restore some of the view.
17. PUMP HOUSE: Originally, this limestone structure was built to house a gasoline driven pump. The water was pumped to a large, black iron tank still located in the basement of the Grey House. The entire estate is supplied with water from this single well.
18. CABIN: The cabin was built as a home for Frindy Burden, daughter of Bill and Elizabeth, in 1956. It is currently used as a guesthouse available to reserve for overnight stays.
19. LOWER GARAGE: This structure is used for mechanical and grounds equipment storage. The structure was reconstructed in 2003 by the HEART Partnership, as much of it had been destroyed by heavy snow loads by the 1960s.
20. CORN CRIB/CHICKEN HOUSE: The corncrib was originally used for storing corn and housing for chickens. It later became a shelter for split wood. It currently serves as home to our chickens and goats cared for by our staff and Y.E.S. program participants.
We apologize: Please note we do not have a public restroom on the site and that our hiking trails and buildings are not accessible to people using wheelchairs. We plan to build a visitor station in the next few years to accommodate day visitors with a restroom, signage, water fountain, shelter and bike rack.