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Wildcat Mountain State Park

The park has more than 20 miles of trails that can be hiked, a nature building and many scenic vistas.

The park has two compass orienteering courses developed by an Eagle Scout. The long course is 1.33 miles and the short course is 1.05 miles. Compasses may be checked out at the park office.

Hiking trails

Old Settler's trail

The 2.5-mile loop trail is rugged and covers a 390-foot elevation difference. Once used by early settlers and later by area farmers, the Old Settlers Trail also winds through three separate pine plantations planted by Ontario students as far back as 1951. This loop trail can be reached from either the northern end of the upper picnic area or from the nature building. Alternatively, hikers can opt to walk only one segment of the Old Settler's Trail. Starting at the nature building, the trail can be taken on the accessible 0.4-mile (one-way) portion to the Taylor Hollow Overlook, Wildcat's best view of the Village of Ontario below.

Hemlock Nature trail

This trail begins in the lower picnic area beside the beautiful Kickapoo River. Begin near the parking lot and follow the trail downstream. Self-guiding nature markers along the 1.3-mile route call attention to the special life forms of this ancient valley. Keep in mind that, because it is a protected area, no pets are allowed. The narrow and rugged trail travels along the sandstone cliffs above the Kickapoo River and then begins a series of switchbacks to Mount Pisgah, an elevation change of 365 feet. An observation point at 1,220 feet above sea level has been constructed to take in the spectacular view.

Ice Cave trail

Just off County Highway F, south of State Highway 33, is the entrance and parking areas to the Ice Cave picnic area and trail. Beginning at the picnic area is a 0.75-mile hiking trail leading to a rock formation called Ice Cave. The first 0.25-mile is along the banks of Billings Creek. The eroded sandstone formation appears to be a cave when approaching, but on closer inspection hikers will find a shallow depression in the rock with a small spring running over the upper edge. In the winter, this spring water freezes into a giant icicle. This short trail is a delightful place to stretch the legs and enjoy the lush, green vegetation, songbird population and colorful wildflowers.

Prairie trail

A short, level hike is available for those who want to enjoy nature at a leisurely pace and observe seasonal changes in the prairie. A portion that is accessible for people with disabilities begins at the family campground nearest to site #1 and winds 925 feet through a patch of re-established prairie. While in the prairie, surrounded by big bluestem grass and wildflowers, visitors can view the breathtaking Kickapoo Valley. A 0.2-mile path from the prairie through the woods is a more adventurous hike to the Observation Point.