Revealing the Highest Point in Illinois and Worth the Visit!

Illinois, renowned for its lively cities and storied past, also boasts remarkable natural wonders. Among these is the state’s highest point, a site that provides a distinctive view of Illinois’ terrain. This pinnacle is none other than Charles Mound, proudly reaching an elevation of 1,235 feet above sea level.

Charles Mound: Summit of Illinois

Situated in Scales Mound Township, Jo Daviess County, Charles Mound is a gentle, 1,235-foot hill. Despite its name, Charles Mound is a naturally formed, erosional feature and should not be confused with intentional mounds created by native cultures. As the lowest state highpoint in the Midwestern region of the United States, it holds the title of the highest natural point in Illinois.

Interestingly, while Charles Mound claims the highest natural point, the overall highest point is the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago. However, being man-made, it does not surpass Charles Mound.

An Expedition Worth Undertaking

Visiting Charles Mound isn’t just about reaching Illinois’ highest point; it’s also about cherishing the journey. Positioned in the northwest corner of the state, near Galena, the mound is situated less than 1/2 mile from the Illinois/Wisconsin border. The area features rolling hills, limestone bluffs, and picturesque scenery.

It’s crucial to note that Charles Mound is on private property, restricting public access. Currently, it welcomes visitors only during the first weekend of June, July, August, and September, with an additional winter access day in February.

Other Illinois Highlights

While Charles Mound stands as a distinctive attraction, Illinois beckons with a multitude of other tourist spots. The state’s focal point is Chicago, alluring travelers from across the nation and the globe⁸. Here, you’ll discover premier retail options, restaurants, museums, and cultural venues. The city also boasts architectural marvels by designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan.

Springfield, the state capital, is another city brimming with attractions, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. Throughout the state, intriguing destinations await, from the prehistoric Indian settlement at Cahokia Mounds to the serene Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.


A visit to Charles Mound presents a unique chance to stand atop Illinois and relish the state’s natural allure. Paired with Illinois’ diverse attractions, this journey is undeniably one well worth undertaking!


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