Tower Hill State Park sign

Tower Hill State Park

At just 77 acres, Tower Hill State Park is the 4th smallest state park in Wisconsin. So it doesn’t take long to see all there is to see.

Unfortunately, what there is to see is less than what I had hoped to see.

We visited Tower Hill State Park the day after we hiked in Devil’s Lake and Natural Bridge state parks. We left Baraboo fairly early in the morning, hiked through this park and then went to Cave of the Mounds all before noon.

The Tower at Tower Hill

Obviously the main reason to visit Tower Hill is to see the Shot Tower. (You can read about its history on the DNR history page.) Sadly, you currently can’t see much of it. That is, you can’t see as much as you should be able to.

Actually, one of the most interesting things we found at the park that day was some local residents helping to clean up the wood in the area.

This Shot Tower sign is near the start of one trail, but that’s not the trail we took to the top of the hill. It is the trail we later returned to the parking lot on.

Instead we walked south a bit past this Old Helena marker. (There more about Helena on the DNR history page too.)

We soon came to another trail near campsite 8. This trail is just 0.1 miles longer than the other one, but it is a more gradual climb. It takes you along the waters of Mill Creek, which flows into the nearby Wisconsin River. There are lots of trees in the area, so it’s hard to get a clear shot of the creek.

From a point along the trail high above the water, you can see most of the Tower. This is actually the best look you can currently get of most of the structure.

The trail took us between the creek and the Tower to these stone steps.

At the top of those steps, you make a right turn to the entrance of the middle of the Tower.

And this is what you can see at this entry point.

Not very impressive, right? You can look up through a metal grating towards the top.

Sadly, park administrators have had to close off most of the access to this section of the Tower because visitors would otherwise (and probably had in the past) throw things into the Tower…just because.

After checking out its midsection, I had hoped to see what was at the bottom next to the creek. Following the trail down, we came across this strange sight next to the path.

I still can’t figure out why those steps are there.

When I got to the bottom of the trail, I was disappointed again because the water had risen to cover the last section of the trail! If you look closely, you can see another sign in the distance, proving that the trail is supposed to continue to the base of the Tower.

Where the trail ended, there were these two signs. The one facing away from you is one of those “You are here” map signs.

So we went back to the midsection of the Tower and hiked around it to its “front” side. Up at the top is the section called the Smelter House.

Disappointment yet again! The House is closed until further notice.

So we went back down that steeper trail toward the parking lot. Near the lot is a pavilion that may be used for storage these days.

I am glad we got to see the Shot Tower, but it’s too bad there wasn’t more to see.


Nearest City

Spring Green, Wisconsin (3 miles)

Nearest Emergency Facility

Spring Green, Wisconsin (3 miles)


6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round


Vehicle admission sticker required

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