Pewit's Nest


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.