Your Town Greater Wausau Area: A hidden gem is a diamond in the rough at Rib Mountain State Park

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:46 PM CST
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RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. (WSAW) - Rib Mountain is one of the biggest attractions in Marathon County, both literally and figuratively. Each year Rib Mountain draws hundreds of thousands each year and many don’t know one of its best features.

The best-kept-secret that sits at the top of Rib Mountain is the quarry. Although it is a ‘hike,’ some people say the view is breathtaking.

“It’s a nice little escape away from the bustle of the big city, well ‘big city’ I guess,” an avid hiker and nature enthusiast, Danielle Welter said. “Being as it’s like five minutes away from all the fun stuff in Rib Mountain, and then you can come out here and enjoy the peace and solitude, it’s kind of a treasure.”

Before the quarry was preserved, it was mined for materials to make things like sandpaper and other abrasives until the early 70s. “The state actually purchased the quarry in 2001, and now it’s just going to be protected for future generations,” Rib Mountain’s park manager, Bayli Christorf said.

Preserving something that looks like it belongs in the west. “When I took my 10-year-old kid there one year, she said ‘dad this is like our own little Grand Canyon,” concession manager, and a member of ‘Friends of Rib Mountain,’ Kevin Keeffe said. “It’s a very nice vista.”

So how come many people aren’t familiar with quarry? Keeffe answered with, “When I was a kid, we had to walk through the woods to get to the quarry, and sometimes you went the wrong way and you never got there.”

But now with a better trail system, people like Danielle and even her dog Piper, are able to enjoy Rib Mountain’s hidden gem. “[Piper] loves it out here probably just as much, if not more than I do,” Danielle said.

The mountain also has letterboxing, which is similar to scavenger hunts around the park to encourage more exploration all while having fun. If you’d like to know more about letterboxing, click here.

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