Wildcat Mountain State Park + More Great Off-the-Beaten Path Hiking!

Posted: Thu-Jun-2022

There are some truly spectacular Wisconsin State Parks worth exploring, from the dramatic scenery at parks like Peninsula State Park in Door County and Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo to off-the-beaten-path parks like Governor Dodge State Park near Dodgeville and Wildcat Mountain State Park. Wildcat Mountain State Park, located in the stunning Driftless Region of the state, overlooks the Kickapoo River Valley and is a truly stunning Wisconsin State Park. It's a fantastic place for hiking, biking, picnicking, birdwatching, and more.

As beautiful as Wildcat Mountain State Park is, it's just one of the many incredible Wisconsin State Parks worth visiting this summer. With soaring gas prices, this summer presents the perfect opportunity to get outside and explore the outstanding areas closer to home, too. Altogether, there are 47 State Parks in Wisconsin and various state forests and recreational areas. Near each of them, you'll find some of the best places to stay in Wisconsin: Our collection of Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts. 

The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association is a group of independent lodging properties that offer comfortable and unique accommodations and the best hospitality around. If you're ready to get out and explore everything Wisconsin has to offer, there's no better place to stay than one of our licensed and inspected Inns. Find the perfect Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today, and let's start exploring!

Beautiful views of the Driftless Area from Wildcat Mountain State Park

Explore Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin

Wildcat Mountain State Park is a good choice if you're looking for outstanding, off-the-beaten-path Wisconsin State Parks to explore this summer. Wildcat Mountain State Park is situated on a steep limestone bluff - something characteristic of Wisconsin's scenic Driftless Region - overlooking the beautiful Kickapoo River below. 

Wildcat Mountain State Park is primarily wooded and offers just over 25 miles of hiking trails. The Old Settlers Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Wildcat Mountain State Park. It begins in the upper picnic area and is only 2.5 miles, making it a relatively quick way to get out and see some of the park's interior. Nature lovers won't want to miss the shorter Hemlock Nature Trail, while geology buffs will want to explore the caves on the Ice Cave Trail. 

Wildcat Mountain State Park isn't just for hikers, though. There are also several trails throughout the park for horseback riding. The color-coded horse loop trails total 15 miles and meander through some of the state's most magnificent scenery. You can rent horses to ride in the park at local stables in Ontario.

As Wisconsin's longest tributary, the Kickapoo River is an excellent choice for canoeing or kayaking. Its slow-moving waters are excellent for paddlers of all abilities, and the portion of the river that moves through Wildcat Mountain State Park is one of the prettiest. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available in Ontario if needed. The Kickapoo River is also a class II trout stream, making it a great place to fish for brown trout. 

Like all Wisconsin State Parks, a vehicle admission sticker is required for entry. 

Best Places to Stay near Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin: Justin Trails Resort in Sparta, The Westby House Inn B&B in Westby, and Four Gables Bed and Breakfast in La Crosse. 

The scenic Kickapoo River winds through Wildcat Mountain State Park

10 More Great Wisconsin State Parks to Explore

The diversity of Wisconsin is one of the best things about it, and Wisconsin State Parks are a wonderful place to gain a deeper appreciation for this fabulous state. Spend your time hiking through lush forests, biking on popular trails, or paddling your way along winding rivers and crystal clear lakes. Whatever you choose, one thing is for sure: Wisconsin State Parks are a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts!

Below, we've highlighted ten of the most spectacular Wisconsin State Parks to visit, each within easy reach of one of our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts. Perhaps an epic road trip is in your future?

  1. Devils Lake State Park in Baraboo is one of the most popular Wisconsin State Parks - and as soon as you take in the view looking back over the lake, you'll see why. The bright blue waters of Devils Lake are surrounded by towering quartzite cliffs offering views that are amazing any time of year. 
  2. Governor Dodge State Park, located in southwestern Wisconsin, is home to two lakes perfect for swimming and paddling, and when you need a break from the water, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails nearby.
  3. Door County's popular Peninsula State Park is worth the trek. It's the state's second most popular park and offers a breathtaking experience on the shores of the beautiful Door Peninsula. Bike the sunset trail, hike along the Niagara Escarpment, and kayak along the gorgeous bluffs. It truly has the best of everything. 
  4. Copper Falls State Park is a great Wisconsin State Park to explore on your way to or from Bayfield. Here, you'll find two beautiful cascading waterfalls to enjoy, and they make it more than worth the trip. 
  5. Explore the Dalles on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River at Interstate State Park. These glacial potholes were formed by melting glaciers long ago and are just one more interesting glimpse into how the last ice age impacted Wisconsin. 
  6. Rib Mountain State Park, near the centralized town of Wausau, is home to the popular Granite Peak Ski Area. It's one of the oldest geologic formations in the world, and in the summer is a great place to enjoy an afternoon hike and picnic. And don't miss the spectacular fall views from the chair ride up this gorgeous peak!
  7. Willow River State Park near Hudson is easily one of the most stunning Wisconsin State Parks. It's located on the St. Croix River and is home to the magnificent Willow Falls. 
  8. If you find yourself near Wisconsin's popular chain O' Lakes area for some classic summer fun, don't miss a visit to Hartman Creek State Park. There are seven lakes, various boat launches, fishing, and plenty of trails to explore. It's the perfect summer getaway spot!
  9. Perrot State Park near Trempealeau offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River - especially from the top of Brady's Bluff. It's also an excellent place for birdwatching, with more than 200 bird species passing through this area each year.
  10. Big Bay State Park, located on an island and reachable only by ferry from Bayfield, is one of the state's best-kept secrets. This park offers incredible vistas of the state's untamed wilderness and a panoramic view of Lake Superior.  

Wherever your adventures take you this summer, know there's always a welcoming home away from home waiting for you in our diverse collection of Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts. So many of our Inns are rated as the best places to stay in Wisconsin, but it's something you'll have to experience firsthand to believe. Choose from our wonderful collection of Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts today, and let's get ready for an epic summer of adventure!

Receive our Newsletter for B&B travel, seasonal packages, Wisconsin fun, and tasty recipes, all delivered to you in our quarterly e-newsletter.