Holy Hill cover

HUBERTUS – Situated in the forests of the Southern Kettle Moraine in Washington County, Holy Hill is not only one of the world’s great spiritual destinations, it is also one of the best places to experience the beauty of nature.

Officially named the Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill, the world famous church was completed in 1931 and elevated to Basilica status by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

The site was recognized for its spiritual value as early as the late 1600's when a French missionary built a stone altar, raised a cross and dedicated the hill to Mary, mother of Jesus.

The first Shrine of Mary: Help of Christians chapel was constructed of logs and dedicated by Father George Strickner in 1863. It was also the first time the site was referred to as Holy Hill.

In 1903, Holy Hill was officially declared a Shrine by Pope Leo XIII. Three years later, the Discalced Carmelites of Bavaria were invited to staff the Shrine. The friars have remained the stewards of Holy Hill ever since.

In 1914, Milwaukee sculptor Joseph Aszklar began work on a series of 14 sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross. The near life-size sculptures were completed in 1928, and line a winding path through the forest leading up to the Basilica.

Complementing the main church of the Basilica, the Chapel of St. Therese was dedicated in 1928 and is a more intimate but still beautifully-constructed church.

Holy Hill also features a gift shop, café and guest house. The guest house includes the old Monastery Inn, which was built in 1919, and a newer building constructed in 1962.

While Holy Hill has plenty of on-site parking for visitors, the most rewarding way to reach the complex is by foot. The Ice Age Trail offers well-maintained hiking trails traversing some of the most scenic geography in Southern Wisconsin. There are trailheads with parking both north of Holy Hill at Shannon Road, and south of the site at Donegal Road.

Once at Holy Hill, the 178-step Scenic Tower provides spectacular views of the Kettle Moraine and beyond from the highest point in Southeastern Wisconsin. The tower is open from May 1-Oct. 31, but a 24-hour webcam is available 365 days a year at https://www.holyhill.com/basilica/scenic-tower.

Holy Hill is located 60 miles southwest of Sheboygan in Hubertus in Washington County. Here are the best routes via freeway: Holy Hill directions.

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