Tower Hill State Park – Accidental Trail Running is a Great Workout

I love the Wisconsin River. Being the longest river in the state, it has quite a journey from tip to tail. The river starts in the UP and winds itself all the way to the mighty Mississippi at Wyalusing State Park.

Along the way, it passes by Tower Hill State Park near Spring Green. This is where we explored for the day.

This post will be relatively short. That is a direct reflection of the short time we had at the park. This time of year, the river is always pretty flooded. This year was no different. What does a flooded river typically mean? Mosquitoes. Out. In. Force. What is Wisconsin’s state bird after all? The mosquito. Just kidding, it’s actually a robin, but you get the joke. After all, I think most states have that joke.

That’s where the post title comes in. What was intended to be a beautiful river hike, quickly turned into an uphill trail sprint. There is about 2 miles of trail here, but we did not see it all. Let me recap what I did see.


From the picnic area parking lot, there are a few options to get to the shot tower, which is the feature of this park. One option is a paved, relatively steep hill. The other option, the one we chose, is to take the trail.

Quickly, we realized what a terrible decision we had made as we were bombarded by hundreds and hundreds of mosquitos. Even though we were wearing bug spray fairly high in DEET, it did not matter. We started running. This trail passed by a gazebo, but we did not stop. Beyond the gazebo, this trail has the option to turn and head down to the river and a tunnel, which sounded really cool. But we did not do that either. Instead, as quickly as our bodies would allow, we went directly to the shot tower.



Difficult to see in it’s glory, but this picture is a view down the shaft from the shot tower.


A view next to the shot tower overlooking the river valley.


Stairs leading down from the shot tower to view the shaft from below.

From here we ran to the parking lot. Quickly. It was then I noticed that you could camp at the park and there were multiple tents set up. Poor, poor people.

With so much history and so much to learn in the shot tower, it is shame I could not spend more time here. In addition, there are sections of the trail by the river I would have liked to see. Being in one of my favorite parts of the state, I’m sure I’ll make it back.

There is so much to do in this area. Just down the road is Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Taliesin and the near by visitor center. Cross the river on highway 23 and you will find a parking lot and boat launch. From here is a long stretch of sand and one of my favorite beach locations. Secluded and peaceful. Heading back on highway 14, you pass by Peck’s Farm Market, which is so much more than a farmer’s market. A variety of live animals, horse carriage rides, a train, and other attractions make this a great place to stop.


Baby goat yawn.


Who can resist some goats on tires?

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