Rib Mountain Talus Forest, SNA #532 (138/675)

Rib Mountain Talus Forest encompasses a second-growth northern mesic forest within Rib Mountain State Park, just southwest of Wausau.  Enter the state park and follow the park road to its terminus in a large parking area.  Numerous trails loop through the site, with some passing in and out of the natural area.  A GPS is recommended to know when, in fact, you are within the natural area boundaries.

As you can see from the photographs below, it was an eerily foggy and cloudy day on which to be exploring the forest.  Not a soul was seen in the park aside from myself; though I couldn’t exactly see very far in front of me.  The fog added a unique element of beauty to my explorations on this day.  I followed the various trail looping through the site and passed by very spooky ski lifts as well as the observation tower.  I did not climb the tower though, for lack of any possible panoramic view.  The trails were rock-studded and tranquil as they wound through the quiet forest.  I did not locate the rare plants known to be here, but I did not amble about the talus slope due to the extremely slick conditions.  I did see a number of invasive species including red clover, orange hawkweed, and butter-and-eggs.  Perhaps the most interesting native plant observed was a leucistic wild columbine, which are typically a vibrant red color.  I would like to return to this site on a slightly sunnier and clearer day to see what it has to offer when I can see my hand in front of my face.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Rib Mountain Talus Forest can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 532
County Marathon
Natural Communities / Geology Talus Slope, Northern Mesic Forest, Second-Growth Forest
Size (Acres)  211
Parking Parking Area
Trails Yes
Easy to Find No
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Rib Mountain State Park
Dates Visited 6.4.10

Marathon County

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