Observer Walk: Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill

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HUBERTUS, Wis. ⏤ The Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill is maybe the most pleasant walk/hike you can take in the local region.

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The peaceful spot, tucked in 435 acres of woods, is located about 70 miles northwest of Kenosha in Hubertus, Wis. The three-layer hill is centered around an old chapel that towers over the treeline of the national shrine.

On the first level, you can find a cafe, a gift shop and bathrooms. For those who don’t feel like getting their steps in and taking the stairs up the hill or persons with disabilities, there is also an elevator located on this level for convenience. 

Holy Hill Scenic Tower

On the second level, you’ll find a small chapel entrance (Chapel of St. Thérèse), an area for sitting and reflecting and the entrance to the Scenic Tower.

Now, it’s important to note that this tower is not for those who cannot handle many steps. 

It is also not for those with a fear of heights as, though the stairs are in an enclosure, that enclosure has large openings to see out. As a result, you will see how high up you really are. 

(Editor’s note: When I pause and say “Alright” on the steps, that’s my thing. Slight fear of heights here.)

Thankfully, the tower was open when I went; however, that is not always the case.

Third-level chapel

Unfortunately for me, a group was holding mass in the upper chapel on the third level at the time that I went to Holy Hill. Therefore, I was not able to go inside of it this time ⏤ as photography is strongly discouraged inside while a service is taking place. 

However, I have been inside before, and it’s a beautiful space filled with intricate stained glass, art and is definitely worth going to when it is open just to stand in it and look around.

Holy Hill Stations of the Cross

Throughout the woods surrounding the main parking lot and chapel, visitors may walk among the Way (Stations) of the Cross that are set up along a trail. 

According to the shrine’s website:

“The Outdoor Way of the Cross ends with its fourteenth station just outside the lower church. These almost life-size figures sculptured from Bedford stone took Joseph Aszklar of Milwaukee fourteen years to complete. He finished the task in 1928.”

I have walked these stations twice now, and going back I’ve noticed new details in the artwork of each station.

You can go on a walk with me through the first part of the stations in the video above. After, you can catch up with me to finish out the stations in the second video below.

For more information on Holy Hill, visit

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