The summit of Charles Mound...the highest point in Illinois

Charles Mound

Background information:

Altitude: 1,235'

Tidbits:  Highest point in Illinois.


Summitted, June 4, 2005


Time Zone: GMT -6 hours


When to go:

The summit is reachable any time of year, however, it is located on private property and the owners restrict access to a few days per year.  The schedule of open access days is posted on the highpointer's website (


Route Selection:

No selection is required.  Walk up the driveway to the summit.


Hotel and Climb Reservation:

Please make sure you visit on an open access day...the owners of the property WILL NOT give you access on other days.  There are hotels available in nearby Galena, Illinois or Dubuque, Iowa.  I strongly recommend visiting Galena, it is one of the most charming American towns I have ever visited. 


Packing List:

Nothing special.


Getting There:

In the town of Scales Mound in Illinois, proceed north on Franklin Street (also called Elizabeth-Scales Mound Road).  Make a right onto Charles Mound Road.  The round will make a hard left (North), then a hard right (East).  After making the hard right (you have traveled about a mile), go about 1/4 mile to the first gravel round on the left with a gate (I believe there is a green roadway marker that says "688" or "6880" in front of the driveway.  Park off the road and proceed through the gate (you are going on an open access day, right?). 

The road toward the town of Scales Mound, coming from the north (Wisconsin)

Trip Description:

After parking off Charles Mound Road (sometimes the owners of the property will permit high pointers to drive to an area just below the summit...check the high pointer site for details), walk about 1 1/2 miles up the driveway, past the cows, and past a small house with a working farm.  Another 100 yards or so will take you to the summit on the right (a private residence is located immediately past the summit).  There is usually a sign at the high point and there is a concrete monument located at the summit.  There is usually an milk-box with a summit register located here as well.

The 1 1/2 mile driveway that leads to the summit

The summit.  The owners graciously placed some chairs for high pointers to "sit a spell" and enjoy the view