Activities

Highest Points in Great Lakes States and Provinces

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Years ago, I met at work a guy who during his vacations tried to visit the highest point in every state. He told me many interesting stories about his quest. Some require long day’s hike. Other are technically difficult. Yet other are located on private property. So it seems that each one has its own unique challenges.

I thought that it would be an interesting way of spending family time with kids. It would  help them learn about country’s history and states geography in an active and fun way.

When you google it, you find out that there are many people out there called “high-pointers” who actually spend a lot of time trying to visit all 50 states’ highest points. And actually, there are many resources available dedicated to this subject. Therefore, I thought, I will write about the highest points in all the Great Lakes states and a province of Ontario. This should provide some basic information and maybe get you interested in the subject. So without further ado let’s get to the specifics.

 

Minnesota

Eagle Mountain (2301 ft) is the highest natural point in Minnesota. Despite its short elevation, the peak has a surprising 1321 feet of prominence. It, also, has a 437 miles of isolation from the nearest higher ground (closest one is in the central region of North Dakota). In fact, Eagle Mountain is the 9th-most isolated peak in the entire United States.

U.S.D.A. Eagle Mountain Trail

Boundary Waters Canoe Area – Eagle Mountain

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

Eagle Mountain, Minnesota.

 

Wisconsin

Timm’s Hill (1951 ft).  At 1,951 feet above sea level, Timm’s Hill is the high point in state of Wisconsin. The state ranks as the 39th state in order of elevation.

Timm’s Hill is located in the north central part of the state, near the small town of Ogema, WI.

There are two lookout towers at the summit. The newer, wooden tower is about 50 feet high. It has stairs for an easy access and allows for some great views in three directions – to the north, east and south. The older, steel radio tower can be climbed via an attached ladder. It rises over 70 feet in the air. From high above, it offers a spectacular 360 degree view above the surrounding trees.

Timm’s Hill Trail

Timm’s Hill County Park

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

Lookout Tower at the top of Timm’s Hill, Wisconsin.

 

Illinois

Charles Mound (1235 ft).  At 1,235 feet above sea level, Charles Mound is the high point in 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.  It is less than 0.5 mile from the Illinois-Wisconsin border.  The area around has some rolling hills, limestone bluffs and some pretty scenery.

If you were to consider a height of man-made objects then the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago would be a highest point in Illinois. The Willis Tower rises 1,450 feet above ground. The ground elevation is already 583 feet above the sea level. That puts the top of the Willis Tower at an elevation of 2,033 feet above sea level – nearly 800 ft higher than Charles Mound.

Charles Mound is located on private property, and therefore public access is limited. It is open to visitors only during the first weekend of June, July, August, and September.

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

Sign at the top of Charles Mound in Illinois.

 

Indiana

Hoosier Hill Point (1257 ft) is a small hill not far from the Indiana border with Ohio.  In a small town of Bethel you find a sign in the woods that identifies the Indiana’s highest point. The actual “high-point” is privately owned. However, the owners are friendly to “high-pointers” and allow access. There is a gravel walkway, a bench, and a picnic table there.

Visit Richmond – Hoosier Hill

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

The marker at Hoosier Hill, Indiana.

 

Michigan

Mt. Arvon (1979 ft) – While Michigan has many rolling, hilly areas and even has Porcupine Mountains, none of them are really high. The highest point called Mt. Arvon is located in the Huron Mountain Range in the north-central Upper Peninsula. The mountain rises over 1300 feet from the shores of Lake Superior (about 10 miles to the north).

Interestingly, Mt. Arvon has only been recognized as the state’s “high-point” since 1982. Previously it was thought that the highest point was nearby Mt. Curwood, at 1978 ft. When the U.S.G.S .surveyed the area in 1982, they found Mt. Arvon to be 1979.238 feet. It makes it only taller by 11 inches when compared to Mt. Curwood!

Till recently, Mt. Arvon had the reputation among state “high-points” of being one of the most difficult to reach. It was due to the remoteness and the maze of unmarked logging roads in the area. Now, the route to it is well-graded and numerous blue signs guide you on your way up.

Things To Do In The U.P. – Mount Arvon

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

One of the signs showing the direction to Michigan’s highest point – Mt. Arvon.

 

Ohio

Campbell Hill (1549 ft) is the highest point in Ohio. It is located in the town of Bellefontaine. It is, definitely, not the most exciting state “high-point” to visit. Still, the town celebrates their status as being at the top of the Buckeye State.

Campbell Hill rises 300 feet from the surrounding area, but it is quite flat.

 

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

Campbell Hill, Ohio. Photo credit – Skye Marthaler/Wikimedia Commons

 

Pennsylvania

Mt. Davis (3,213 ft) is the highest mountain in Pennsylvania.  It is the summit of 30-mile long Negro Mountain. There are roads there that will take you very near the summit. Several hiking trails encircle the “high-point”. The mountain has little prominence from any vantage point. There is an observation tower at the top. It provides for some nice views of the surrounding area. Mount Davis is located in Forbes State Forest.

Pennsylvania – Forbes State Forest

 

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

The observation tower at the top of Mt. Davis, Pennsylvania. Photo credit – Photo via https://www.goodfreephotos.com/

 

New York

Mt. Marcy (5344 ft) , the highest peak in the Adirondacks and in the state of New York. It is considered to be one of the most visited remote peaks in the world. Mt. Marcy lies about 7 miles from the nearest trailhead. Even the easiest trail to the top can only be described as wet, rough and occasionally quite steep. It requires a fairly hard one-day trip in the summer with an early start and late finish. As I have mentioned before, the shortest route is at least 7 miles, and has over 3100 feet of elevation gain, one way. Most people opt for a 2-day hike, utilizing one of many camping areas around.

Lake Placid – Mount Marcy

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes Region

Mt. Marcy, New York.

 

Ontario, Canada

Ishpatina Ridge is the highest point of land in the Canadian province of Ontario, at an estimated 693 m (2,274 ft) above sea level. It rises approximately 300 m (984 ft) above the immediate area. Ishpatina Ridge was only truly recognized as Ontario’s highest point after federal government topographical mapping revealed this fact in the 1970s. Before then, the more popular Maple Mountain was thought to be higher. The ridge lies in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park. Due to its remote location, Ishpatina Ridge is a challenge to reach.

Ontario Parks – Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater

Ontario High Points – Ishpatina Ridge

 

Highest Points in Great Lakes

Ishpatina Ridge, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

Further and more detailed information are available at the following websites:

Peakbagger.com

State50.net

 

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I am curious, if there is anybody that visited all nine high-points around the Great Lakes. So if you did visit all or some of them, please comment below.

 

Rich S. is a lifetime photographer and traveler based in Metro Detroit area. He has been traveling the Great Lakes area for over 30 years. Follow his blog about his trips, interesting activities and destinations in the Great Lakes region.

2 Comments

  1. Skye Marthaler

    September 29, 2017 at 7:14 PM

    Hi Rich!
    I’ve visited all the ones in the US with the exception of Mt. Marcy in New York. I have yet to get up to Ontario though I look forward to the adventure.

    • Rich S.

      October 3, 2017 at 1:06 AM

      Very impressive, Skye! Good luck with Ontario. It appears that it’s not an easy one to get too.

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