About Rib Mountain

Rib Mountain State Park quarry overlook

Rib Mountain State Park quarry overlook

Rib Mountain is the third highest point in Wisconsin at 1,942 feet above sea level and, at 741 feet above the surrounding terrain, is the tallest hill in Wisconsin. Established as a state park in 1934, a recent purchase of 257 acres from 3M Corporation increased park area to approximately 1500 acres. The top of the 60-foot observation tower is about 800 feet above the surrounding terrain and offers spectacular views.

The formation of Rib Mountain began some 1.5 to 2 billion years ago with the violent fusion, through intense heat, of sand into mammoth chunks of quartzite. Beginning 1.5 billion years ago, the surrounding plains started eroding away. The incredibly hard quartzite, however, resisted this erosion. Over the succeeding hundreds of millions of years what remained rose higher and higher over the surrounding area, and is now called a “monadnock” by geologists.  Rib Mountain is one of the oldest geologic formations on earth. For more information, see this Geology page by Dr. Keith Montgomery of the University of Wisconsin – Marathon County.

Directions: Rib Mountain State Park is located southwest of the city of Wausau. Exit US Hwy 51 at County Hwy N (Exit 188), and drive west 1/3 mile to Park Road. Turn right onto Park Road and follow it up the mountain 1.7 miles to the Park contact station.

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