Tower Hill State Park

Quick Facts

Tower Hill State Park

Wisconsin

(608) 588-2116

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Visit the park's restored shot tower and melting house to see exhibits on lead shot making from the 1800s. Just two men, using picks and crow bars, tunneled 120 feet down and 90 feet horizontally through the rock. Challenging bluff trails, panoramic views, camping (first-come, first-served), and canoeing and fishing on the Wisconsin River. Open May through October.

Map of Tower Hill (WI)

Latitude, Longitude: 43.146276, -90.053108

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Activities

  • Boating

    Tower Hill is in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway.

  • Camping

    The park's 11 campsites are all available May through October on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground has drinking water and vault toilets, but no electrical outlets.

  • Fishing

    Tower Hill is in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway which offers ample opportunities for anglers.

  • Hiking

    Two miles of trails meander through the 76.5-acre park.

  • Historic Sites

    The area now known as Tower Hill State Park was already ancient when the first white explorers saw it in 1673. They were Pere Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet who passed this way as they explored the Wisconsin River. It was better known but still only lightly populated in 1830 when Daniel Whitney of Green Bay noticed the sharply rising bluff as he traveled the river. He was a businessman and saw potential here for construction of a tower for making the lead pellets used in shotguns. There were many mines in the region that could provide the lead for the operation. Whitney hired Thomas Bolton Shaunce, a lead miner from Galena, Illinois to dig a shaft from the top of the bluff to the level of the river below. Shaunce arrived in 1831 and spent 187 days over the next two years digging the 120-foot-deep shaft and the 90-foot tunnel between the shaft and the riverbank so that the shot tower could be built. Shaunce worked mostly alone, but had some assistance from a fellow miner named Malcom Smith. Their work was interrupted by the Black Hawk War (1832) as Shaunce and Smith went to fight. A wooden shaft 60 feet high was built alongside the cliff above the stone shaft, making the total height of the tower 180 feet. A smelting house was built at the top of the tower and a finishing house at the bottom to complete the buildings.

  • Hunting

    No person may hunt deer in Tower Hill State Park during the open deer hunting season in that park, without first obtaining a CWD State Park Deer Hunting Access Permit and property map identifying those areas closed to hunting within the park properties.

  • Picnicking

    A shelter building, 24 by 60 feet in size, is available for rental.

  • Water Sports

    Tower Hill is in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round with limited facilities during the winter.

Directions

Driving

Located in Southwest Wisconsin, Tower Hill State Park is 3.5 miles southeast of Spring Green.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(608) 588-2116

Links