Mount Horeb is a charming small town located just west of Madison, Wisconsin. With its strong Norwegian heritage and unique culture, there are many fun and interesting things to experience. Here are 10 of the best activities and attractions in Mount Horeb:
1. Troll Hunting
Mount Horeb has dubbed itself the “Troll Capital of the World”, and trolls are a huge part of the town’s identity. All around downtown Mount Horeb, you’ll find over 30 brightly painted wooden trolls lurking around buildings and peeking out of storefronts. It’s fun to wander the streets searching for these cute and quirky creatures. Some popular trolls to spot are the Fisherman troll down by the river, the Gardener troll outside a flower shop, and the Mountie troll riding a Mount Horeb police motorcycle.
2. Main Street Shopping
Mount Horeb’s main street is home to lots of great independent shops showcasing local artisans, crafters, and goods. Some favorites include:
- Artisan Woods – Handmade wood items and furniture
- Designs by Skjold – Local art and gifts
- The Purple Goat – Yarns, fabrics and craft supplies
- Sjolinds Chocolate House – Gourmet chocolates and candy
Be sure to also check out the large Mount Horeb Fall Festival in October and Art Fair on the Square in July.
3. Tyrol Basin Ski & Snowboard Area
This small, family-friendly ski hill just outside Mount Horeb offers 16 runs ranging from beginner to advanced. Tyrol Basin has a fun, community vibe and is a perfect place to learn for new skiers and snowboarders. Night skiing is also offered on weekends.
4. Stewart Lake County Park
This Dane County park centered around a small lake offers excellent recreation opportunities less than 10 minutes from downtown Mount Horeb. Activities include hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Winter brings ice fishing, skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
5. Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark
Located just west of Mount Horeb, Cave of the Mounds is a magnificent underground limestone cave full of stunning crystal formations and rock structures. Daily tours are available taking visitors through the winding passages. It’s a stunning natural wonder.
6. Military Ridge State Trail
This 40+ mile biking and hiking trail connects Mount Horeb to Madison, Verona and Dodgeville. The crushed limestone path travels through beautiful Wisconsin farmland, woods and small towns. Mount Horeb makes a perfect base for tackling different sections of the scenic trail.
7. Blue Mound State Park
Just 10 minutes south of town, Blue Mound State Park 1 offers a wonderful place for outdoor recreation and taking in gorgeous views. The highlight is climbing to the top of the large hill that gives Blue Mound its name. At 1,743 feet, it is the highest point in southern Wisconsin and provides a panoramic vista of the surrounding countryside.
8. Grumpy Troll Restaurant & Brewpub
No trip to the Troll Capital is complete without visiting The Grumpy Troll Brewpub. Enjoy delicious pub food and handcrafted microbrews in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. The building itself dates back to the late 1800s. Be sure to snap a photo with the large wooden troll sculpture out front!
9. Mount Horeb Area Historical Museum
This excellent small-town museum tells the story of Mount Horeb’s development, from its early settlers to becoming a center of Norwegian heritage in Wisconsin. Displays feature immigrant trunks, traditional costumes, carvings, photos, and more. Make sure to also browse the great museum gift shop!
10. Duluth Trading Company Headquarters
Mount Horeb is home to the flagship store for Duluth Trading Company, a popular workwear and casual clothing brand. The large store in the center of downtown is housed in an old machine warehouse and features both shopping and a small museum detailing the company’s history.
With its Scandinavian roots, abundance of colorful trolls, and proximity to outdoor recreation, Mount Horeb offers a unique experience. Use this list to help guide your exploration of some of the best things to see and do in this wonderful small town.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the population of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin?
The population of Mount Horeb was 7,754 at the time of the 2020 census.
What is the history of Norwegian immigration in Mount Horeb?
Norwegian immigrants played a significant role in the history of Mount Horeb, with the first Norwegian immigrant arriving in 1871. The village has a strong Norwegian and Norwegian-American ethnic presence.
What are some notable attractions in Mount Horeb?
Mount Horeb was home to Little Norway, an open-air museum featuring a replica of a 12th-century Norwegian stave church. The village also hosted “Song of Norway,” an operetta celebrating Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
Why is Mount Horeb known as the “Troll Capital of the World”?
Mount Horeb transformed itself into the “Troll Capital of the World” in the 1980s, celebrating its Norwegian heritage with playful troll statues and themes decorating many area businesses, particularly along Main Street, known as “The Trollway.”
What are some notable businesses in Mount Horeb?
Mount Horeb was once home to the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum, now known as the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. Additionally, it is home to the Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic and the corporate headquarters of Duluth Trading Company.