In some places, the spot is the summit of a large mountain like Denali in Alaska, Granite Peak in Montana, Mt. Rainier in Washington, or Gannet Peak in Wyoming, places that require mountaineering skills and technical equipment to reach.
In other places, the location is a slight rise, barely noticeable to the eye, such as Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island, Britton Hill in Florida, or Mt. Sunflower in Kansas, where visitors can simply drive up, step out of their car, and with a short walk, arrive.
Those locations are the state highpoints, the geographical point in each state with the highest elevation above sea level. All 50 states have identi
Some of these highpointers, as they are called, go after state highpoints like a mission, trying to reach them all in a couple of years. Other highpointers are more casual and seek highpoints as they travel for business or pleasure, extending their highpointing over decades. Still others drive to a few easy ones and call it good. Highpointing is an activity that lets the participant set the rules.
The Highpointers Club, headquartered in Golden, Colorado, has a website and newsletter that helps people keep track of information about access to highpoints and recognizes anyone who completes all 48 highpoints in the contiguous states and anyone who comp
Those wanting to reach all 50 highpoints have to contend with the difficulties in Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska, but many highpointers just try to reach highpoints in their region as a fun activity to add to a trip. Anyone in the RiverTowns area interested in visiting a few state highpoints has some reasonable options available.
Here is some basic information about seven highpoints in neighboring states. Persons interested in more information can visit the Highpointers Club website -- highpointers.org -- or read one of several guidebooks such as “Highpoint Adventures” by Charlie and Diane Winger or “Highpoints of the United States” by Don Holmes.
Name: Eagle Mountain
Location: in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area 150 miles north of Duluth
Elevation: 2,301 feet
Round trip hiking distance: seven miles
HIkers need a free self-issued pass from the register at the trailhead to enter the Boundary Waters. The trail crosses several boggy areas using boardwalks as it rises 650 feet to the top of Eagle Mountain. On the summit is a large plaque that states that the rock of Eagle Mountain is over a billion years old.
Name: Timm’s Hill
Location: In Timm’s Hill County Park west of Tomahawk near Ogema
Elevation: 1,951 feet
Round trip hiking distance: one-half mile
Highpoints are based on the highest natural point in a state, but Timm’s Hill offers an interesting option. A stone marking the highpoint sits at the base of an old metal tower and a nearby newer wooden tower lets hikers climb above the natural highpoint for a better view. It would be possible to combine a visit to Timm’s Hill with a visit to Mt. Arvon in Michigan by driving four hours farther.
Name: Mt. Arvon
Location: Upper Peninsula, near US 41 between L’Anse and Baraga
Round trip hiking distance: one mile
The final roads to Mt. Arvon have been reported as muddy at times, so it might be a good idea to watch the weather before heading into that area. A parking lot was added in 2012 and the road beyond is four-wheel drive. It gains 160 feet elevation to the top. Several signs along the road and on the trail help visitors get to the right place.
Name: Hawkeye Point
Location: South of Worthington, Minnesota, and four miles from the Iowa border near Sibley
Elevation: 1,670 feet
Round trip hiking distance: a few feet
For many years, this state highpoint was part of the Sterler family farm, but in 2008, Osceola County took over seven acres including the highpoint. Signs direct drivers to the parking lot near a big red barn, and from there, it is a very short walk to the highpoint marker and a series of five posts with arrows indicating the direction and distance to all the other state highpoints.
Name: Charles Mound
Location: near Scales Mound, Iowa, just south of the Wisconsin border
Elevation: 1,235 feet
Round trip hiking distance: 2.5 miles
Every state highpoint has some unique feature and this one has two. First, the hiking trail is the gravel road driveway to the owner’s home. Second, the owners welcome highpointers to walk on their property, but request that they visit only during daylight hours on the first weekend of June, July, August, and September. There is no fee.
Name: White Butte
Location: near Amidon southwest of Dickinson
Round trip hiking distance: three miles
After hiking an easy trail that gains 400 feet elevation, White Butte rewards hikers with long range views overlooking miles of vast prairie. The butte is on private land and the owners ask that hikers leave a donation in the mailbox located at the trailhead near the parking lot.
Name: Black Elk Peak
Location: Custer State Park southwest of Rapid City
Elevation: 7,242 feet
Round trip hiking distance: 7.6 miles
Black Elk Peak, formerly known as Harney Peak, lies within the Custer State Park so visitors must pay a $20 per vehicle entrance fee to travel inside the park. The trail offers views of several granite towers and a stone firetower on the summit is open for hikers to enter. From there, hikers have excellent views of the forests and mountains of the Black Hills.