Blue Mound State Park
When I got out of the car to snap the picture (above) of the Blue Mound State Park sign, the first thing I thought was, “It’s really, really quiet out here.”
There happened to be little to no breeze that day, but I think there was more to it than that. There were no man-made or nature-made sounds at all.
It was great!
Maybe it will be that quiet when you visit Blue Mound (singular) via Mounds (plural) Park Road and Mounds (also plural) Road just outside the village of Blue Mounds (again, plural), which is also the location of Cave of the Mounds (one more time…plural).
Why the state park isn’t called Blue Mounds, I dunno.
Towers East and West
Blue Mound State Park boasts not one, but two, towers. The one to the east is appropriately subtitled Sunrise Tower, and the one to the west (as I predicted) is called Sunset Tower.
Each tower has 8 flights of 8 steps for a total (if we counted correctly) of 64. That takes you above the treetops (unlike Roche-a-Cri) where you can see many miles into the distance primarily because you’re standing at the highest point in southern Wisconsin. (I assume Rib Mountain and Timms Hill claim the north.)
We scaled the East Tower first, then hiked the Indian Marker Trail (see below), and climbed the West Tower last. The views from both towers are great. I liked the West Tower a little more because you could see other mounds in the distance.
I think I’m remembering the directions correctly in the pictures below. You can let me know if I got them wrong.
It was a little hard to determine which mound was which, and I’m not sure I got it right in the end. The locator devices atop each tower weren’t much help.
Either there’s something missing from these locators or we just didn’t know how to use them properly. The telescope-esque tube is just a metal tube without any glass inside for magnification. The numbered list of items on the attached plaque have no reference points elsewhere. Are we really missing something here?
That other block of wood in the East Tower photo (above, right) is a selfie taker (on the other side). We didn’t make use of this one.
Walking Indian Marker Trail
As is true of most Wisconsin state parks, there are several trails you can hike. We chose just to walk the Indian Marker Trail because of the promised Indian Marker Tree somewhere along the path.
We started at the east end by the East Tower and toured it counterclockwise.
Because of many steps like these, we recommend hiking it in this direction. Having to climb these steps at the end of the trail would be much more difficult than descending them at the beginning.
The trail itself was well-marked. There was never any doubt which way to go.
You do have to watch your step sometimes, but the walk isn’t difficult. There are several rock outcroppings along the trail. The pictures don’t do justice to their actual size due to lack of reference point, but most were taller than 6 feet – some significantly taller – and were at least that wide.
There was an especially ferny section, and I found the shadow of one fern particularly interesting – nothing unusual, just interesting.
We crossed a bridge, of sorts, over a gully, and noticed a large overturned mushroom.
There was also this “bike rack” a few feet off the path. We have no idea what it really is or why it’s still there.
I mentioned the Indian Marker Tree earlier. We kept an eye out for it all along the way and finally came to this sign at the west end.
Try as we might though, we couldn’t spot the tree in any direction. There didn’t seem to be any trees of that age (size) much less any bent in an unusual shape. It was disappointing, to say the least.
Fun for All Ages at Blue Mound
You can camp at Blue Mound State Park, but I’m not sure that’s the main attraction here.
There’s the fairly common playground and pavilion.
There are bubblers and bluebird houses. (We may have scared a bat out of this one.)
Presumably, sometimes there are trails for mountain biking.
There’s historical information for those interested in that type of thing. The one on the left below commemorates the people on an airplane that crashed into the mound during a storm. The other is about John Minix who was the inspiration for the park.
But I think the real draw to Blue Mound is the pool. I didn’t go up the hill to get a better shot because I didn’t want people wondering who the spook with the camera was.
This may be the nicest pool for many miles around. There’s a small fee for swimming in the pool and using the adjacent splash pad, but it’s probably worth it on a hot day.
I mentioned the lack of noise at the beginning of our visit. That quietude was really only broken by the jollity of the kids (and adults?) at the pool that you can hear from the East Tower area and by the engine and blades of the lawn mower doing its job.
Small “price” to pay for a wonderful hike up, down, and through a very nice state park.
Blue Mounds, Wisconsin (1 mile)
Nearest Emergency Facility
Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin (5 miles)
6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round
Vehicle admission sticker required