Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area 4/52
The Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area is a short but rewarding hike just outside of Lodi, Wisconsin and a short drive from Madison. Following the narrow trail leaving from the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the footpath quickly opens up to about three feet wide. You will have a nice thirty to forty five minute stroll to the overlooks. Following gentle grade takes you through long shady sections, broken only by a sunny meadow with plenty of wild sumac. In the shadier areas, you get multiple views of rock formations. The mosquito population this summer was light, but still a discouragement from stopping in the lower shady spot for long.
Once on the bluff, you will find multiple vistas, one after another with beautiful farmland. Here we stopped to sit for a while and watch three large vultures, yes vultures, preening. The thermals here provided a new experience for all of us. Whenever the birds dislodged a down feather, it would gently float up on the thermal until it disappeared out of site. High above, the rest of the vultures, as well as the occasional raptor, can be seen lazily floating along in the thermals created here. After sitting for almost twenty minutes, we continued along. Due to the way the bluff winds, you get several views of the bluff itself from the top, though the hundred plus foot shear drop is enough to give anxiety to those afraid of heights.
Overall a great short hike destination, for a small drive. The trail was well traveled, and becoming more crowded as we departed, so as with most trails, arrive early if you want more solitude.
Mosquitoes are light, but present, so Deer for your own tolerances. Consider long pants as the poison ivy and wild parsnip are abundant in the first section of trail. Otherwise it is an easy hike, so prepare as for a normal day hike.
I recommend parking at the Ice Age Trail lot at W12350 Co Rd V, Lodi, WI 53555. (Google Map)
About the Author
I grew up in the woods. Coming home after school I would throw my book bag in the door and take off outdoors. Years later, this passion has returned. Experiencing the outdoors is like returning home.