Wildcat Den State Park - SE Iowa

 

Wildcat Den State Park

Wildcat Den State Park Plants and Wildlife

Click on the Plant, Bird, Retile and Amphibian, Insect and Arachnid, and Mammal tabs at the bottom of the table to scroll through the lists. These lists are based on species identified during site visits. Bloom periods are based on those provided by the Illinois Plant Information Network website.

Click here if you would like to submit records of plants you have seen at this location.

Click here if you would like to submit records of wildlife you have seen at this location.

About Wild Cat Den State Park

This 432-acre State Park is owned and managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The park houses Devonian limestone and Pennsylvanian Sandstone bluffs that are up to 150-feet tall, which offer spectacular views as hikers wind along the Pine Creek trail.  Several caverns dot the bluffs and pre-historic fossils can be observed on slumped rock along trails.

The park is primarily forested, with mature oak hickory forests carpeting the uplands while riparian forests wind along the Pine Creek floodplain.  White Pines, a glacial relict species, naturally reproduce within the park’s Devil’s Punchbowl area, which is rare in Iowa.  A variety of animals and over 300-species of plants occur within the park, with fern and bird diversity being the most notable. Excellent Spring wildflower viewing also draws a great number of visitors to the park.

In addition to the significance of its natural history, Wild Cat Den State Park houses many historical sites of importance.  The Pine Creek Grist Mill, built in 1838, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public on occasion.  The mill is located on the east end of the park along Pine Creek, as is a restored schoolhouse.  A historic bridge offers excellent viewing of the Mill’s Pine Creek dam, which creates an attractive waterfall during times of high flow.

Visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website to access maps and additional information on this park.

 

Amenities

There are restrooms, picnic benches, grills, and shelters available at this State park.  There is also a non-modern, non-electric campground.  The park has several maintained hiking trails, with access from the lower picnic area (few stairs) or the upper access to the Devil’s Punchbowl (numerous stairs), highly recommended. A wildlife viewing blind can be found along the hiking trail just west of the campground. 

 

How to Get There:

Nearby Sites of Interest:

Interesting literature concerning Wildcat Den State Park (click on the blue titles to view online articles):

Anderson, Raymond and Bill Bunker.  1997.  The Natural History of Wild Cat Den State Park. Geological Society of Iowa Guidebook 64.  82pp.

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