Head to Wildcat Mountain State Park for Fall Colors

Wildcat Mountain State Park is a fantastic place to explore during the fall near our Wisconsin cabins

Experience the breathtaking beauty and fall colors at Wildcat Mountain State Park as it sits atop a bluff overlooking the winding Kickapoo River. With over 25 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, this Wisconsin State Park offers plenty of opportunities to take in stunning scenery. The rugged and picturesque Driftless Region stands out as one of the most breathtaking areas in the state. The untouched valleys, winding rivers, and towering bluffs, sculpted by retreating glaciers many centuries ago, offer a perfect playground for adventurers seeking biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and more.

There are a few things not to miss at Wildcat Mountain State Park, including the Old Settler’s Trail, the Hemlock Nature Trail, and the Ice Cave Trail, all popular among hikers. For a unique adventure, visitors can also canoe portions of the Kickapoo River, the largest tributary of the Wisconsin River. You’ll also need to plan a stop at the observation point and picnic area overlooking the Kickapoo Valley to take in the stunning views of the Driftless Region, full of autumnal hues and bright fall colors. And, fun fact, the park is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year! 

Before you start filing your outdoor itinerary exploring the Driftless Region, you’ll want to secure your lodging, and Justin Trails Resort has an array of options for all vacation styles. We have romantic Wisconsin cabins, cozy bed and breakfast suites, and small cottages for a more rustic glamping getaway, all with luxurious perks and amenities. Our property is extremely family and pet-friendly for some of the most unforgettable getaways—especially in the fall when the trees turn from greens to golden, orange, and red hues. Check out our upcoming availability and book your lodging today! 

Wildcat Mountain State Park is a great place for hiking this fall near our Wisconsin cabins

Fall Foliage at Wildcat Mountain State Park

Wildcat Mountain State Park is an easy trip from Justin Trails Resort. First, head south on Highway 27 towards Cashton. From there, travel east on Highway 33 towards Ontario. The park is just two miles from Ontario (stop off here for boat rentals). The turn-off to the canoe landing and Hemlock Trail will be on your right, and the road to the rest of the park will be just ahead on your left.

Here are the best things to do at Wildcat Mountain State Park:

  1. Old Settler’s Trail: This 2.5-mile loop trail leads to the upper picnic area for sweeping panoramic views. Continue to Taylor Hollow Overlook for the best view of the village of Ontario below. Keep your ears open for birdsong on all the trails, explore the interesting sandstone cliffs and rock formations, and take in the stunning Wisconsin fall colors. 
  2. Hemlock Nature Trail: This trailhead at Wildcat Mountain State Park is at the lower picnic area beside the beautiful Kickapoo River. Begin near the parking lot and follow the 1.3-mile trail downstream. The narrow and rugged trail heads up the sandstone cliffs above the River and begins a series of switchbacks to Mount Pisgah to a stunning outlook.
  3. Ice Cave Trail: This shorter trail leads to a rock formation called Ice Cave—an eroded sandstone landmark that appears to be a cave, but you may be surprised as you approach. This an excellent trail to take in the fall colors. 
  4. Horseback Riding: For those with equestrian experience, there are more than 15 miles of horse trail loops at this state park, fully marked and maintained. You’ll also find horseback riding rentals in Ontario.
  5. Pack a Picnic: While there are two main picnicking areas at the park with shelters, if you bring your own blanket, you can set up a lovely outdoor lunch just about anywhere. Sit by the meandering River or under the shade of the old Hemlock trees.
  6. Exploring the Kickapoo River: You’ll find the boat landing in the lower picnic area at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Multiple local businesses in Ontario, WI, provide canoe and kayak rentals, and Drifty’s Canoe Rental also offers to pick up and shuttles to the River. The Kickapoo River has calm waters, perfect for all levels of paddlers, but always be aware of the weather and current conditions. 
  7. Fishing: The Kickapoo River has more than 40 fish species, including an abundance of brown trout. Luckily, for anglers looking for gear, head to the park office to participate in the Tackle Loaner Program.
  8. Winter Recreation: While the fall colors make autumn one of the best times to visit Wildcat Mountain State Park, it’s also a fantastic destination for winter sports, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The Ice Cave Trail is a popular winter hike as the water that trickles down the sandstone formation turns into an impressive sheet of ice. 

vehicle admission sticker is required for entrance to Wildcat Mountain State Park. As always, we’re happy to offer advice or suggestions during your stay; ask before you head out!

Wildcat Mountain State Park is a great place to see fall colors, but so is our resort with the best Wisconsin cabins

Enjoy the Fall Colors from our Wisconsin Cabins

After a fantastic day in the crisp fall air at Wildcat Mountain State Park, you’ll be ready to sit back and relax; thankfully, our comfortable Wisconsin cabins will await your return and are even more cozy in the fall.

Here are the three options for our wonderful Wisconsin cabins for your next getaway:

  1. The Paul Bunyan Log Cabin. Our pet-friendly, open-concept, Scandinavian-Scribe log home encompasses 1,000 square feet on two levels. It was built with colossal aspen, logged from our farm in rural Sparta. Your family and friends will enjoy 1,000 square feet of this cozy oasis. There’s a queen bed, comfortable couch, full kitchen, and gas fireplace on the ground floor, among other amenities. In the loft, you’ll find a king-sized bed, a whirlpool tub, and an outdoor balcony with a stunning view of the grounds.
  2. Little House On The Prairie Log Cabin. This Scandinavian Full-Scribe log cabin was built for couples, perfect for romantic Wisconsin getaways and honeymoons. Relax in a queen-size bed and watch the gentle flames in the gas fireplace or climb the ladder to the private loft, where you’ll find a whirlpool tub. You’ll also find a kitchenette and a private porch with rocking chairs. 
  3. The Cottage. This cozy romantic space is pet-friendly and features a king-sized bed, a gas fireplace, and a kitchenette, among other amenities. Relax on your private deck, snuggle in front of the cozy gas fireplace, or take a soak in the corner whirlpool tub for two—perfect after hiking at Wildcat Mountain State Park! 

Justin Trails Resort offers more than just these Wisconsin cabins—we have a wide variety of lodging. If you prefer a B&B Suite, glamping option, or traditional campsite—you’ll find it all here! Make your reservations today! 

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