Pewit's Nest is one of a large
number of Wisconsin State Natural Areas. This narrow, 30- to 40-foot
deep gorge, made of layers of Cambrian sandstone, contains a series
of cascades and waterfalls. . The gorge, now sandwiched between agricultural
fields, was formed at the end of the last glacial period by drainage
of Glacial Lake Baraboo down the Skillet Creek valley. There are no
formal trails and precipitous drops without guard rails, requiring alertness
and care on the part of the visitor. This small natural area with its
rich geology and damp microclimate is a small enchanted island of rare
beauty just 1.5 miles and a short hike from the nearest town.
The strange name Pewit's Nest was bestowed on the area by the presence of a person living in a recessed area in the sandstone above a pool of water, an abode much like the nest of a peewit (a bird also called a phoebe). This person constructed an extensive mill with a large overshoot waterwheel driving a machine shop, of which no evidence remains, at the mouth of the gorge.