Iowa County Attractions
Iowa County presents a unique combination of spectacular natural beauty while also offering many cultural and historic attractions to both its residents and visitors. From Wisconsin's number one tourist attraction, the House on the Rock and Taliesen, the home of the world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, to the beauty of Hyde's Mill or the bluffs and hills of Governor Dodge State Park, Iowa County has so much to offer everyone!
Originally settled in the 1820's, Iowa County and the Territory of Wisconsin both came into being when miners found lead in Mineral Point. Visitors to present day Mineral can step into the past in a historic village where you will find artists at work - weavers, glass blowers, wood carvers, leather workers - and can visit and stay in a preserved mansion house. Also in Iowa County can enjoy Shakespeare under the stars at the American Players Theater.
Whether taking advantage of the many year round outdoor sports and events in the area or staying in one of the area's historic or modern guest accommodations, visitors will find much to marvel at and enjoy in Iowa County's unique combination of natural beauty, historic attractions, artistic wonders, and special events.
Museums and Historical Sites
Wisconsin's Oldest Courthouse
222 N. Iowa Street, Dodgeville
Located in Dodgeville's historic downtown, the foundation for the Iowa County Courthouse was laid in 1859, making it the state's oldest active courthouse. A marker detailing the building's historic significance can be seen on site.
3210 County Rd. BB, Dodgeville
Surrounded by the gently rolling farmland of Iowa County, Folklore Village is a unique rural folk-life center. Visitors are invited to participate in dancing, music, storytelling, foodways and material folk arts.
114 Shake Rag Street, Mineral Point
Discover a rare gem of Wisconsin history nestled into a wooded hillside where immigrant Cornish lead miners put down roots in a new homeland in the 1830's and '40s. See the treasures of their old world culture preserved for future generations in the stone-and-log houses they crafted more than a century ago. Connected by winding footpaths that pass by blooming gardens of native flora, the houses of Pendarvis speak volumes about the pioneer spirit that tamed a wild Wisconsin. Open Mid-May 1 through October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., wth the last tour starting at 4:00 p.m.
Historic Mineral Point
Mineral Point's Historic District - the first in Wisconsin placed on the National Register of Historic Places - offers visitors an architectural and historical bonanza with more than 500 buildings, including tiny inns and guest houses, meticulously preserved 19th Century stone buildings, pioneer cottages, exceptional examples of Federal-style and Victorian homes, and an opulent turn-of-the-century still functioning Mineral Point Opera House. Up and down Old Commerce, High Street, Jail Alley and Shake Rag Street, historic buildings house present-day craft shops, museums, restaurants, fine arts studios, and antique shops. Enjoy a self-guided walking tour of Mineral Point's historic treasures, or take a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of the district, May through October.
Gundry House Museum
234 Madison Street, Mineral Point
Stroll back through time in Victorian-era splendor. Built of local sandstone in 1868, this impressive Italianate-style mansion features period rooms as they would have appeared in the late 1800's and displays of Mineral Point's wide-ranging history. Open May through October, Thursday to Sunday, from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
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Parks & Nature Centers
Blue Mounds State Park
Mounds Park Rd., Iowa County
Perched atop the highest point in southern Wisconsin, this park's two observation towers offer spectacular views of the area's rich landscape and unique geological features. It is the only state park with a swimming pool, which is equipped with a lift for persons with disabilities. The park features 78 campsites on 1,200 acres, 4 electric sites, winter camping, showers, a dumping station, concessions, nature center, seasonal naturalist programs, hiking and nature trails, bicycle and cross-country ski trails. On Mounds Park Rd., 1 mile N of US 18/151, 5 miles NW of Mt. Horeb.
Tower Hill State Park
County Highway C, Iowa County
Visit this parks restored shot tower, melting house, 120 ft. shot-forming shaft and 90 ft. horizontal tunnel chipped from rock by two men using picks and crowbars, along with exhibits of lead shot making from the 1800's. Nestled along the banks of the lower Wisconsin River, this 77 acre park offers campsites, handicap-accessible picnic areas, boating, fishing, challenging bluff trails, hiking and nature trails with panoramic views. On Cty. Hwy. C, 2 miles S of US 14, 3 ½ miles SE of Spring Green in Iowa County.
Governor Dodge State Park
State Hwy. 23, Dodgeville
This 5,029 acre park includes steep hills, craggy bluffs and deep valleys with two lakes, a waterfall, spring houses built by early settlers and an abundant variety of wildlife, from white-tailed deer at water's edge to black hawks soaring effortlessly above. Governor Dodge features 267 campsites, 77 electric sites, winter camping, showers, a dumping station, backpack camping, handicap-accessible picnic area and campsites, concessions, boat and canoe rental, nature center, seasonal naturalist programs, vistas, shoreline, marked beach area, 2 miles of nature trails, 26.6 miles of hiking trails, 24.7 miles of horseback trails, horse-riders campsites, 10.3 miles of off-road bicycle trails, 15 miles of snowmobile trails, 18.1 miles of cross-country ski trails. On state Hwy. 23, 3 miles N of US 18, 3 miles N of Dodgeville.
Military Ridge State Park Trail
Dodgeville to Fitchburg
Meander through woods, wetlands, prairies and farmland on this 40-mile Dodgeville-to- Fitchburg trail. Most of the trail follows the former Chicago and Northwestern Railway line, which has a gentle grade of only 2 to 5 percent. Open for hiking, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Cheese Country Recreation Trail
Mineral Point to Monroe
The 47-mile Cheese Country Trail, which runs from Mineral Point to Monroe, has 57 overpasses including a 440-ft. bridge spanning the Pecatonica River just west of Browntown. This shared use trail allows ATV's, horseback riding, snowmobiles and bicycles.
Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area
2025 Cty. Hwy BH, Highland
Boating, fishing, hunting and camping enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area. Located outside of Cobb off Hwy. 80 on County Road BH, this year-around recreation area includes a 223-acre lake with supervised beach area, 1,500 acres of public hunting ground, and 92 campsites. Fall and winter activities include hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.
Special Things To Do
American Players Theatre
Experience the works of great playwrights performed by a world-class professional acting company. American Players Theatre offers the finest in classical theatre performed in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater on the banks of the Wisconsin River. Located twelve miles north of Dodgeville on High Point Road, south of County Highway C, the theatre is open mid-June through mid-September. Call for play schedules and ticket information.
Points of Interest
House on the Rock
Hwy 23, Spring Green
Prepare to be amazed at architect Alex Jordan's unique house built atop a 60-foot column of rock and his fantastic collection of gardens and exhibits. This 16-building complex houses whimsical carousels, enormous sea creatures, fascinating room-size music machines, miniature circuses, doll houses, 1880's Streets of Yesterday, armor and fanciful weaponry. On-site dining, shopping and picnic areas are also available to visitors. Open March 15 through October 29, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas at the House on the Rock, features the world's largest collection of Santas.
Hwy. 23 Cty. C, Spring Green
Tour the home and architectural school of the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The complex includes six Wright structures including Wright's home and Hillside School, and Visitor Center. Open May through October 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and April, November and December from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
201 S. Iowa St., Dodgeville
This innovative art gallery located in a renovated two-story 1915 auto garage features both national and internationally noted and emerging fine artists. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Merry Christmas Mine Prairie
114 Shake Rag Street, Mineral Point
The Merry Christmas Mine was one of the nations few large zinc mines operating between 1906 and 1913. The mine is now part of a 43-acre area that includes a number of educational walking trails highlighting early crevice mines and "badger holes." The prairie trails begin at the edge of the Pendarvis parking lot in Mineral Point.
Dan Mill Rd., Hyde
Built in 1850, Hyde's Mill, dam and millpond are surrounded by lush woodlands and prairie openings, serenaded by birdcalls and gentle waterfalls. Located on Dam Mill Road between County Road H north from Ridgeway and County Road T, north from Barneveld, the Hyde's Mill area is one of the region's most tranquil and beautiful.
Hwy. 39, 1 mile west of Hollendale
See unique sculptures including lions, monkeys, fierce Vikings, Snow White and dwarves, and more in beautiful gardens, as well as a collection of paintings, at the historic site of Grandview in Hollendale. Beginning in the 1930's and continuing over a period of 30 years, the dairyman immigrant Nick Engelbert from the Austro-Hungarian Empire crafted his whimsical visions in concrete, glass and stone and planted them in the gardens surrounding his farm in the Iowa County community of Hollandale. Though many of the sculptures can be seen from the road, the museum with his paintings is well worth a visit also. Grandview is open to the public from May 1 to November 1. Call for more information and to book a tour.