In 2022, we hiked through Blue Mound State Park. Somehow we neglected to visit Cave of the Mounds which is almost literally right next door. (Technically, it’s about a mile and a half from one to the other.)
So this year (2023), when we knew we were going to hike Tower Hill State Park, we also made plans to take in Cave of the Mounds, since the two are only about 20 miles apart.
Cave of the Mounds Grounds
From the parking lot, you walk down a wide, paved path past the Rain Gardens and Butterfly Gardens, which don’t look like much in April. There are picnic tables elsewhere, but we decided to each our Kwik Trip lunch on a bench in this area, after visiting the cave.
There is a Visitor Center where you can purchase tickets, if needed. This building also has rest rooms, but they were unavailable the day we visited because of ongoing repairs. Outhouses are the alternative.
After we walked through the cave, we toured the manicured grounds behind the Visitor Center (again, not much to see in April) and went up to the Brigham (no direct relation to the Brigham you know) farm barn to see the fossils in the building’s stones. (I mention this here because I want to end this story with the pictures from the cave.)
Just to the east of the Visitor Center in the main building leading to the cave. Outside is a sluice where you can “play” with rocks-and-debris you can purchase inside the building. Both of the buildings have plenty of souvenir opportunities – some very, very expensive.
Inside the Cave of the Mounds
You can take the tour of the cave as a self-guided walk, but I think going with a live person in the lead is probably better. Our guide led our small group of 4 through the cave as if it were her home. In some ways, she probably knew it better than her home.
So here is what it looks like in the Cave of the Mounds. The pictures look much more golden than they did in real life. I probably could have adjusted for that in post production, but it’s a nice look, so I left it as is.
Also, some of the pictures include pools of water that reflect the formations above. It gives those images more depth than they really have. And, not being under the sky, the water has no blue tinge to it at all.
Several of the formations have been assigned names, but I’ve forgotten which is which, except for the Parrot. See if you can figure out which one that is.
There’s more to the cave than I can show you here. It’s well worth the visit if you’re ever in the area – about 25 miles west of Madison.