Charles Mound


Charles Mound

At an elevation of 1,235 feet above sea level, Charles Mound is the highest point in Illinois, ranking 45th in elevation among the U.S. states. Located in the northwest corner of the state, near the town of Galena, Charles Mound sits less than half a mile from the Wisconsin border. Unlike much of the Midwest, this region wasn’t flattened by glacial activity and features rolling hills, limestone bluffs, and picturesque scenery.

The Sears Tower in Chicago stands 1,450 feet tall with a ground elevation of 583 feet, putting its top at 2,033 feet above sea level. But since the tower is human-made, Charles Mound remains the state's official highpoint.

Access Point

Navigate to FQQ6+MQ Scales Mound, Illinois.

Locating Charles Mound can be challenging as no signs on the road indicate the highpoint. The nearest landmark is the town of Scales Mound. From there, head northeast and take Charles Mound Road for about a mile. After a sharp left and then a sharp right turn, look for the first driveway on the left, marked by a small blue sign with the street number 688 (the sign may be missing). The driveway, which leads to Charles Mound, has a metal gate. Visitors must park in front of the gate and walk up the gravel driveway for one mile to a farmhouse. Continue past the farmhouse on the dirt driveway; the highpoint is about a quarter mile further on the right.

Recommended Route

Follow the dirt driveway.


Charles Mound is located on private property, and therefore public access is limited. It is currently open to visitors on the first weekend of June, July, August, and September, and for Presidents' Day Weekend in February. Please note that the access lane is not plowed.

The access dates for 2024 are:

  • February 17-18
  • June 1-2
  • July 6-7
  • August 3-4
  • September 7-8

The owners do not make exceptions to these dates. There is no fee for access, but visitors should respect that they are on private property. The owners have the three simple rules:

  1. No cars in their lane
  2. No pets on their property
  3. No visitors after dark


How do I get to Charles Mound?

The closest landmark is the town of Scales Mound. From there, head northeast and take Charles Mound Road for about a mile, following a sharp left and then a sharp right turn. Park in front of the metal gate and walk approximately one mile up the driveway to reach the mound.

Is there a best time of year to visit Charles Mound?

Charles Mound is open to visitors on the first weekends of June, July, August, and September and during Presidents' Day Weekend in February. Checking the weather beforehand is advisable, especially during winter months.

Are there any facilities available at Charles Mound?

There are no public facilities like restrooms or picnic areas at Charles Mound, as it is on private property. Visitors should plan accordingly and ensure they leave no trace of their visit.

Can I bring my pet to Charles Mound?

No, pets are not allowed on the property as per the rules set by the owners.

Is there a fee to visit Charles Mound?

No, there is no fee to visit Charles Mound.

What should I bring when visiting Charles Mound?

Visitors should bring water, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture the views.

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