Small campground with access to great hiking to Devils Punch bowl and more. Excellent spring wildflowers, historical grist mill and schoolhouse. .
Beautiful area with lots of hiking trails. We keep coming back to this one.
Wildcat Den State Park is somewhat of an unknown gem. Surrounded by cornfields, rolling hills and the Mississippi River, this park is tucked neatly away in Southeast Iowa. We've been here in all four seasons and each one provides a different landscape.
The park offers non-electrical campsites with pit toilets located in the campground area. A portion of the sites are available on a first come first serve basis. The remaining sites have to be reserved. Each campsite has a fire pit and picnic table. There is well water available. There is also a large shelter across the road from the campground area. The bottom portion of the park, where the Pine Creek Grist Mill is located has modern restroom facilities as well as another shelter.
Hiking the Wildcat Den Trail Loop is a must. Looming sandstone cliffs, tall pines, and rock formations are all part of the park's landscape. This is also a great place to view spring wildflowers. There's several spots of interest you'll want to be sure to take in while there, including the Devil's Punch Bowl, Steamboat Rock, The Pine Creek Grist Mill built in the 1800's, the Melpine School, and most recently, a renovated log cabin. The Mill offers tours during the warmer months and it's worth the time to take the tour.
While the trails at the Den are very scenic, they're not well-marked. This is perhaps the only downside of the park. The park is dog-friendly, but they must be on leash at all times.
This is one of my favorite "hidden" parks in Iowa.