- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Gibraltar Rock (No. 73)
Columbia County. T10N-R8E, Sections 13, 18. 68 acres.
Rising 200 feet above the surrounding landscape, Gibraltar Rock is a flat-topped butte, an outlier of the Magnesian escarpment. With a thin Platteville-Galena dolomite cap over St. Peter sandstone, the butte offers panoramic views of the Wisconsin River Valley and Lake Wisconsin. Soils are thin, glaciated sandy loams. On the south is a sheer rock face overlooking a large leather-leaf bog and scenic valley. A major portion of the site is a dry mesic forest dominated by red oak and basswood. Cliff communities are mostly open and harbor several species of ferns, pale corydalis, columbine, and cliff goldenrod. On the bluff top is an area dominated by red cedar with an understory of dry prairie. Species include big and little blue-stem, side oats grama, prairie drop-seed, blue eyed grass, bird's foot violet, pasque flower, prairie smoke, lead-plant, bergamot, whorled milkweed, goldenrods, and asters. The site is used by migrating raptors, which catch thermals formed by the warm cliff face. Gibraltar Rock was originally owned by Columbia County, which transferred ownership to the DNR in 2007. It was designated a State Natural Area in 1969.
From the junction of Highways 113 and 60 in Lodi, go north on 113 4.1 miles, then west on County Highway V 1.1 miles, then south on Gibraltar Rock Road 0.2 mile to a parking area. A segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail leads to the top of the bluff. An old access lane, though shorter and steeper, also leads to the summit. NOTE: Rock climbing is prohibited here.
For hunting opportunities, please see the hunting and trapping in State Parks page.
Gibraltar Rock is owned by:
The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.
The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.
Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.
In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.
- Cross country skiing
- Horseback riding
- Rock climbing
- Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
- Collecting of animals, non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
- Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
- Camping and campfires
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]