Mt. Horeb: The Troll Capital of the World

Local artist Michael Feeeney crafted the wooden sculptures.

How well do you gnome Mt. Horeb?

The small town nestled 20 miles west of Madison is known as “The Troll Capital of the World” — and for good reason. Stroll down The Trollway + you’ll be greeted by these whimsical statues. 

The driftless region traces its Scandinavian heritage back to settlers from the 1870s. Legend has it that trolls dwell in mounds — Blue Mounds is just 5 miles west of the village — and guard treasures of gems or gold. 

The trolls didn’t start officially protecting the area until the 1970s, when a gift shop placed imported Norwegian trolls to help promote their business. The magic creature attracted the attention of truckers, who would mark their trips to others when passing the Mt. Horeb trolls.

Take a peek at the toe. | Photo by @a_state_of_running

When the 18/151 Hwy bypass was built, the village became concerned with the lack of traffic through the town. The trolls from the trucker era provided a way to attract people to the area, and thus Mt. Horeb decided to continue the tradition. With this, the city became known as the “Troll Capital.” 

You can take your own “troll hunt” through the city36 creatures to find in total. We recommend that you end your journey at the ultimate troll feature — The Grumpy Troll Brewpub.