Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 42.50420°N / 90.2401°W
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 1235 ft / 376 m
Sign the Climber's Log


At 1,235 feet above sea level, Charles Mound is the high point for the state of Illinois, which ranks as the 45th state in order of elevation. Charles Mound is located in the northwest corner of the state, near the town of Galena, and is less than 1/2 mile from the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Unlike the rest of the state, Northwestern Illinois was spared by the glacial activity that flattened most of the Midwest. The area actually has some rolling hills, limestone bluffs and some very nice scenery.

Interesting fact: The Sears Tower in Chicago rises 1,450 feet above ground with a ground elevation of 583 feet. That puts the top of the Sears Tower at an elevation of 2,033 feet above sea level, nearly 800 feet higher than Charles Mound. However, it is obviously not considered to be the state highpoint since it is man made.

Red Tape / When to Climb

Charles Mound is located on private property, and therefore public access is limited. It is currently open to visitors only during the first weekend of June, July, August, and September. They've also added one winter access day in February but note that the access lane is not plowed.

PLEASE NOTE: The owners of Charles Mound currently have the property listed for sale and there is no guarantee that the new owners will allow access to the highpoint.  Please check with the Highpointers Club before you visit Charles Mound to confirm whether or not the highpoint is accessible. (Please don't attempt to sneak on their property.  You have to walk right past their home to get there...and they have dogs.)


Pending confirmation, the access dates for 2024 are:

-February 17th & 18th  (weekend of Presidents Day)
-June 1st & 2nd
-July 6th & 7th
-August 3rd & 4th
-September 7th & 8th

The owners have stated that they constantly receive requests to make exceptions to the above dates but if they did, they'd be open virtually every day. Therefore, there are no exceptions to these dates... There is no charge for access. Contact the owner below for more information but please be respectful and mindful that you are on private property when visiting! The owners have the three basic rules:

1. NO CARS allowed on their lane!

2. NO PETS allowed on their property!


From the owner: So many of you bring us gifts and, while we certainly appreciate it, it is not necessary. However, if you do feel so inclined, we have started a collection of state mugs brought to us by highpointers. We are hoping to eventually get all 50 states. We got one from Afghanistan last year! So, if you want to bring a gift; bring a mug! (If you bring one, drop a business card or something with your name and address in it, so we know who it is from.) You can just leave it on the rocks under the Charles Mound sign.

Owner: Wayne E Wuebbels 688 W Charles Mound Rd Scales Mound, IL 61075-9343

Thanks to Holsti97 and Vanman798 for contributions to this page.

Getting There

Finding the place is the hardest part, as there are no signs on the road that mark the high point. The nearest town is Scales Mound. Map it. Once in Scales Mound, head to the northeast corner of town. Take Charles Mound road for about a mile. You will take a sharp left and then a sharp right. The first driveway you come to on the left will be the private drive leading to Charles Mound. The only sign marking the driveway is a small blue sign with the street address (number 688) on it. (The sign may be missing.) The driveway has a metal gate that may be closed. Park in front of the gate and walk up the gravel road/driveway 1 mile to the house. (The owner informed me that he prefers that people do not drive up to the house.) There is a sign in front of the farm house that informs you that you are in the right place. Continue along the dirt driveway past the farm house. The high point is marked by a sign about 1/4 mile on the right hand side of the dirt road. If you see a Doberman wandering loose, don't panic. She is as friendly as a kitten.

Nearby Attractions

There are many activities that can be combined with a visit to Charles Mound. The town of Galena offers a plethora of things to do, including horseback riding, fishing, boating, golf, shopping, hotels, restaurants, etc. In addition, there are 2 wonderful state parks nearby. Apple River Canyon State Park near the town of Millville, IL has several very nice hiking trails, picnic areas, and some dramatic limestone bluffs. Tower Rock Trail in particular is worth hiking as it leads to a very cool looking limestone tower that overlooks the Apple Canyon River. It is an easy 40 ft class-4 climb to the top on the trail side, with a drop of ~100 feet on the river side. (Climbing in the park is prohibited - however if no one is around...) (13 miles from Charles Mound) Mississippi Palisades State Park near the town of Savanna, IL offers hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and excellent rock climbing opportunities of all levels. (35 miles from Charles Mound)

Weather Forecast

Special Equipment

No special gear is required to visit Charles Mound as it is just a walk-up; however, it is about 2 miles round trip from the gate. You should have a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots, a bottle of water on hot days, and/or an umbrella based on weather conditions. 


Charles Mound was named after Elijah Charles who lived there in 1828.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-20 of 23

hgrapid - May 3, 2005 1:20 pm - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

I talked to the owner today, and he says there is no access except on those dates. However, I am not sure if he wants his phone number up there. I would think you should contact the highpointers club for more information instead. Perhaps list Charlie Winger (719)485-3067 as the contact. Basically, the map is fine, and can get you to the highpoint on the approved dates.


Alpinist - May 4, 2005 8:42 am - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

Hi Dan... The owner's full contact info appears on the America's Roof page, with personal comments from him. It looks like he provided the information. I dare say that site will get a lot more highpointer traffic than my site. Did he complain about the phone number?


hgrapid - May 4, 2005 10:36 am - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

No, but he seemed like he was dead set on only having highpointers visit on those "open-access" days. He seemed bothered by the call in general. Just a thought, don't worry about it if you have other information saying it is okay.


Redwic - Jan 7, 2008 2:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Misleading Requirement...

As of January 2008, on the 'Highpointers Club' website,, there is still a misleading statement regarding the Illinois highpoint. The 'Membership' category of the website's 'About Club' section states the following: "The owners of Charles Mound, Illinois, require that you are a Club member (in order to eliminate problems caused by non-club members who abuse their property)." After questioning this statement, I received an e-mail directly from Jean Wuebbels, today, on which she specifically states that a person does NOT have to be a member of the "Highpointers Club" to be allowed to reach the Illinois State Highpoint located on her property. I wanted the information to be shown somewhere, so I posted this Addition/Correction to help clarify any confusion.


Alpinist - Jan 7, 2008 2:52 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Misleading Requirement...

Thanks for setting the record straight!


Redwic - Jul 7, 2008 1:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Several Differences...

When at the northeast part of town (Scales Mound), the road is called "Charles Mound Road" (or Avenue), not Scales Mound Road. Another thing worth noting: When I visited on July 6th, 2008, there was no blue sign/688/address to be found. What I believed to be the correct driveway was only marked by a cardboard sign stating to "Park at Road and Go by Foot". I figured it was the correct place, and it was.


Alpinist - Jul 10, 2008 9:10 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Several Differences...

Thanks! I updated the page...

Bark Eater

Bark Eater - Apr 16, 2013 1:19 pm - Voted 10/10

2013 Open Dates

The following dates were posted at 2013 dates are: *June 1& 2 *July 6 & 7 *August 3 & 4 *September 7 & 8 My wife and I are planning an end of summer road trip. I almost got tripped up by the "first weekend" rule, as Sept. 1 is the first Sunday. Apparently it is the "first full weekend".


Alpinist - Apr 19, 2013 11:41 am - Voted 10/10

Re: 2013 Open Dates

Thanks Frank. I'll update the main page since the Sept schedule splits the weekend.

Bark Eater

Bark Eater - May 9, 2013 1:37 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: 2013 Open Dates

Thanks, George, I finally will be coming to "climb" Illinois :-)

mtzfamily - Jul 8, 2013 10:53 am - Hasn't voted

Additional info

Take the truck route thru Scales Mound to the following parking coordinates. N42-29.354 W90-14.279 There is only space for 2 cars, but roadside parking works for most. We were the third group on 7/6. The first two were coming down and a whole lot of people were going up when we going back. We noticed signatures in the log book from days other than the approved days. Hopefully abusers don't get the owners to discontinue there generosity.

INhiker - Aug 6, 2013 11:02 am - Hasn't voted

Elevation Gain

I have attached a topographic map of Charles Mound, with the route from the road to the summit highlighted. The front gate is at an elevation of 980 feet, so an elevation gain of 255 feet is required to summit Charles Mound. It's not much by mountaineering standards, but is significantly more than many drive-up high points. Based on the round-trip distance and elevation gain, the Martin Classification of Difficulty ( should be a 2, not a 1.

Bark Eater

Bark Eater - Sep 12, 2013 12:55 pm - Voted 10/10

Location of house

Really enjoyed our visit last weekend. Has the location of the house changed? Roughly one mile in you come to a collection of barns and outbuildings. The highpoint is perhaps a few hundred yards past. The actual house is beyond the highpoint behind a "No trespassing beyond this point" sign. Looked like a nice home site from afar!

brenda - May 15, 2014 7:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Charles Mound 2014 dates

Received May 15th 2014 From: Jean and Wayne Wuebbels Charles Mound is on private land, but is opened to the public the first full weekends of June, July, August and September. (SEE 2014 DATES BELOW) We hope you can plan your trip accordingly Except for these four weekends (eight days), Charles Mound is closed to the public. You are welcome to visit our property on any of these four weekends. You go north out of Scales Mound (circle around the tracks) until you get to Charles Mound Road. Take a right (east). That road will wind around for a mile and one half until you get to our property. If you have a GPS system, set it to go to 688 West Charles Mound Road, Scales Mound, Illinois. Our lane is not marked. There is no permanent sign that says “this is Charles Mound” or “Wuebbels residence”. There is a blue highway sign that says “688”. We do try to put up a temporary sign for the weekends, but sometimes people take it. The gate will probably be locked, but a person can fit through. You can park anywhere down by the gate. (There might be cattle or horses on the lane – there might be a second closed gate. Please be sure that you close any gates you might open.) WE ONLY HAVE THREE RULES: 1. NO CARS UP OUR LANE. 2. NO PETS!! We repeat…. Please NO PETS! 3. NO VISITORS AFTER DARK. It is about a mile and a quarter walk from the main road to the summit. Once you find our property, you should have no problem finding the summit. The high-point is clearly marked. It is a lovely walk on a nice day. So many of you bring us gifts and, while we certainly appreciate it – it is not necessary. However, if you do feel so inclined, we have started a collection of state mugs brought to us by hi-pointers. We are hoping to eventually get all 50 states. We got one from Afghanistan last year! So, if you want to bring a gift, bring a mug! (If you bring one, drop a business card or something with your name and address in it, so we know who it is from. ) Have a safe trip! Jean and Wayne Wuebbels 2014 dates: JUNE 7TH AND 8TH JULY 5 AND 6TH AUGUST 2ND AND 3RD SEPTEMBER 6TH AND 7TH


Alpinist - May 16, 2014 10:57 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Charles Mound 2014 dates

Thanks for the update.


thunt64 - Jul 14, 2015 4:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Summer 2015

I showed up on the first eligible day this summer. There were a few others enjoying the pleasant walk/hike. While not a contender for toughest peak, there are a couple decent inclines and the dirt road you follow has enough rocks to make sandals & sneakers a poor shoe choice. I recommend going into Scales Mound for lunch at the Old School Saloon, home of the "testicle festival." I've not been to the festival but the burgers were great and the owners/workers were pleasant.


Colin - Aug 11, 2015 5:46 pm - Voted 10/10

Directionally Challenged

I visited on 8/2/15. The blue numbered sign was back, as well as a wooden sign that the owners must have put up for the weekend. I was daydreaming coming back and got myself off on another dirt road that forks to the right just below the barn. Had to backtrack once I realized my mistake. Stay to the left and you'll be OK.

gcrain - Apr 16, 2016 10:31 am - Hasn't voted

2016 DATES

I just contacted the Wuebbels and they kindly gave me the 2016 dates: 2016 dates: -June 4th & 5th -July 2nd a& 3rd -August 6th & 7th -September 3rd & 4th -February 13th & 14th (This could be a rough walk due to snow and/or ice. Come prepared!) They noted their three rules: WE ONLY HAVE THREE RULES: 1. NO CARS UP OUR LANE. 2. NO PETS!! We repeat…. Please NO PETS! 3. NO VISITORS AFTER DARK. See ya'll in June!!!


Alpinist - Apr 17, 2016 10:47 am - Voted 10/10

Re: 2016 DATES

Thanks for the update. Are you sure about access in February? Where did you hear that?

gcrain - Apr 17, 2016 4:23 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: 2016 DATES

This is a cut-and-paste from an e-mail the Wuebbels sent me. I assume it's too late to worry about February, anyway.

Viewing: 1-20 of 23



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.