Trail

Tower Hill State Park Trail

Spring Green, WI
Length: 2.00 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

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Tower Hill State Park is a small state park located in Spring Green WI along the Wisconsin River. There are 2 miles of trails in the park. You can take the Old Ox Trail to the top of the bluff to see how lead shot was made in the mid-1800s, and enjoy panoramic views.  The wooden shaft and the smelter house at the top originally built in 1831, have been rebuilt and displays show how shot was made when the tower was in operation. A picnic area, hiking trails, canoe landing and a small campground are also available.

The trailhead is located near the shelter in the large parking lot. There are several ways to access the trail from the trailhead, but the most direct route up to the shot tower is to go straight. This is the steepest part of the trail, but heading back down is easier. You’ll see evidence of old stone structures in the woods along the trail of old buildings. At the top of the trail hang to the left to see the shot tower. The shot tower is a building that you can enter and watch an information video and see the chute down to the bottom of the bluff. There are beautiful views of the driftless area at the top of the bluff as well. There is a small spur trail down to just below the shot tower, which used to connect down to the trail to the tunnel, it is no longer a connecting trail, but it is neat to see the rocks along the bluff before heading back down. From the shot tower you can take the trail back down to the trailhead and parking lot.

To see the tunnel, you’ll need to walk from the trailhead over to another trailhead located between camp sites 8 & 9. You’ll follow this trail along the bluff down to the river. Be cautious along the trail, it is chain link fence on the drop-off side and very narrow. During the summer months there is often lots of poison ivy, please be cautious along the trail. You’ll come to stairs that will take you down to a split in the trail, take the trail to the left to see the old tunnel. Its fun to check it out and go inside if you’re brave enough! The tunnel is closed off a portion of the way in. To head back, you can take the trail back the way you came, or back at the split go straight for a gentler way back. If you chose this way, you’ll come to a split, if you go right you’ll head back up as if you’re heading to the shot tower, and you’ll come across the trail you took up to see the shot tower. If you head left you’ll take a loop back around to the parking lot, and there is a gazebo along the trail.

Due to the park being located along bluffs, there are some steep portions of trail and some elevation gain. Recommend little kids or early walkers have a carrier to climb into if they get tired. Also note during the summer this park is prone to having lots of mosquitoes, be sure to bring insect repellent!

Here is a map of the park:

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/towerhill/pdfs/thparkmap.pdf

Specific distances of trail segements:

About two miles of trails meander through Tower Hill State Park.

  • The segment from campsite 13 to the shot tower (0.3 miles) includes a gradual climb and two stairways.
  • The segment from the shelter building to the shot tower (0.2 miles) is a steep uphill climb.
  • The segment from the shot tower to the tunnel at the river bottom (0.2 miles) has long, steep stairways.
  • The trail segment from the shelter to the gazebo is 0.25 miles.
  • The Old Ox nature trail is 0.5 miles.
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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Carrier needed Yes
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Fishing, Picnic Area, Shaded Hike, Shelter, Viewpoint, and Wildlife Viewing

Beautiful view from the top of the bluff and shot tower building. Worth checking out the old tunnel at the bottom of the bluff along the river.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $8.00

The park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. During the off season (Columbus Day weekend through mid-May), the main gate is closed, but may park at the entrance and walk in to the park.

There are several parking lots located within the park, there is a large parking lot near the trailhead.

Daily fee for WI residents is $8.00 or have annual State Park pass, daily rate for non-WI residents is $11.00.

Trail Contributor

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Hello, I’m Abby, one of the Branch Ambassadors for the Madison, WI Hike it Baby branch. I’m a mom to 3 kiddos ranging from baby to school aged. I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and have lived in several states over the past few years including Indiana, Ohio, Florida and now Wisconsin! We’ve lived here since May 2017 and have absolutely fallen in love with the area and LOVE to explore all the outdoor areas around us. Hike it Baby quickly became part of our lives and has built an amazing community for our family. Looking forward to continue helping families explore and love the outdoors one hike at a time! Can’t wait to see you out on a hike!

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Trail Map

Getting There

From the west, take U.S. Highway 14 to Spring Green. Turn right (south) on State Highway 23 and go about 2.5 miles to County Highway C. Turn left (east) and go about .7 miles. The park entrance will be on your left.

From the east, take U.S. Highway 14 west of Arena about 4.7 miles to County Highway CC. Turn left on Highway C and go about 1.8 miles. The park entrance will be on your right.

The park entrance, 5808 County Highway C, is at latitude 43° 8′ 46.9″ N longitude 90° 2′ 51.1″ W.