Wildcat Den Trail

MODERATE 92 reviews
#1 of 1 trails in

Wildcat Den Trail is a 4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Muscatine, Iowa that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.0 miles
495 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


One of the major features of Wildcat Den State Park is its trail system. Trails wind through a variety of terrain and lead to such fascinating sites as "Steamboat Rock," "Devil's Punch Bowl," and " Fat Man's Squeeze." The beautiful bluffs and rock outcroppings provide spectacular views to hikers. Wildcat Den State Park is one of the most unique in Iowa, combining natural beauty and solitude, preservation of historical structures, trails, camping and picnic areas for recreational use.

11 days ago

The best hiking experience within an hour of the Quad Cities. I agree with the consensus of others that the signage needs work. The good news is that none of the little spur trails are terribly time consuming. The whole trail system can be easily enjoyed in a leisurely morning.

14 days ago

Loved this trail! We parked near the campground (first one by new era road) and entered the trail along the parking lot. It took us the “long” way around through the woods. We ended in the second campground (lots of picnic tables, a shelter and some swings). Across the street from there is another trail. The DNR men said to keep to the right trail. We followed their directions and hiked along bluffs and the “punch bowl”. I believe we kept to the left and came upon the “steamboat rock” and “fat mans squeeze”. Lots of places to explore. Trail is not well marked - actually only the entrance of trails are marked and the trail forks multiple times. We used our phones/GPS to figure out if we were following the right path. I’m new to using the free version of this app and the map didn’t seem to show the trail, just the boundaries of the park (could have been user error). At fat mans squeeze, there’s another parking lot and a small trail that continues. We weren’t sure where the trail lead and were ready to head home so we walked to the parking lot and followed the road back to the campground. Next time I’ll park somewhere else and skip the first part of the forest trail since my kids just wanted to explore.

We drove to the mill after our hike. There’s a shelter and one grill there, along with bathrooms and some swings.

So far, my kids’ favorite state park - but would love better signage.

23 days ago

We love this beautiful place!!

25 days ago

Enjoyable hike! Trails well maintained. As others have stated, not much for signs. Relied on Alltrials map to track where we were.

1 month ago

Great trail that has every kind of trail experience you want in Iowa. lots of up and down so pace yourself and start at the campground if you're bringing kids. the full trail will tucker them out quickly.

2 months ago

Had a terrific day at WCDSP. We saw one Kentucky warbler and heard several more long the creek. We saw a small group lf cerulean warblers at the north parking lot. This is a wonderful place.

3 months ago

Hike the trail yesterday with a 7 year old. Spent 2 1/2 hours. We enjoyed it greatly. Will definitely go back. Wish the trail was a little better marked. We do not know if we saw these three place or not "Steamboat Rock," "Devil's Punch Bowl," and " Fat Man's Squeeze." we also did not see the trail to the Mill. Even so we had a great time!!! Will go back.

4 months ago

Hiked trail for the first time yesterday. without a trail map it's difficult to know your way around. The trail itself was awesome. Would definitely reccomend and will definitely return.

5 months ago

Great scenery! We enjoyed the hike to the saw mill.

6 months ago

cool rock formations.

8 months ago

Great scenery! Would have given it a five but the trails were not marked very well.

8 months ago

Trails well maintained. Very scenic. Not much for signs. Had to depend on all trails tracker.

11 months ago

I agree with Doug Wilmsmeyer and his 5 stars for scenery (and the maintenance of the trails), but only one sign the whole distance, and several forks in the trail, so 2 stars fro signage, which was nearly non-existent.

11 months ago

5 stars for the scenery. 2 stars for the signage. Several groups were confused even with the map because of so may side-loops. If you want a quick in-and-out, park in the area where the road loops (looks like a teardrop on the map). Then get on the trail to the south west.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Great hike. Recommend for everyone.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Prepare to lose your breath and bring extra clothes if you'd like to take a small swim in the river. Very worth it!

Monday, June 05, 2017

I grew up near Wildcat Den and it's still one of my favorite state parks in Iowa. I love taking my kids there now. It's a great place for a family hike and it offers such great scenery.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Very few people. Amazing scenery. Can't wait to go back

Monday, December 26, 2016

Not too overcrowded. Nice scenery.

mountain biking
Friday, October 14, 2016

Is the trail open to mountain biking?? Thanks.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Since this park is close by, it is a great place to get out and enjoy the trails at anytime. There are trails that are fairly easy and some that are more challenging. A great place to get a quick workout in on a weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Monday, April 25, 2016

We loved this trail! Hard enough for a decent work out without killing yourself. Very pretty. We enjoyed the varied scenery and beautiful trails.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

This park was awesome! They have trails that are in the woods, but we (including the dog) decided to play in the river, and climb up the rock faces! If you bring good shoes or good hiking shoes, you can go about anywhere! And of course, it's completely dog safe!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

2/29/2016 Leap year! It ended up being a wonderful way to celebrate an extra day this year. I saw about 15 deer in three different locations. Wintertime sloppy muddy but very relaxing and enjoyable. If I'm in the area again I will definitely come back. Most of the trail is wide enough for sports utility vehicle to drive through. Some of it does get very hilly and is more of a off path trail. The rating says easy but I would say it was moderate in spots. I would love to come back in the summertime.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Great place to hike! Beautiful area!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Just completed this hike today with my dog for the first time. It was a pretty fun hike. There's lots of beautiful sights and some steep terrain. I had fun because my dog and I went off trail and did some climbing. It can get pretty crowded on nice days.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Great local place for a nice quick hike. lots of stairs, stream and rock. Great scenery with Grist Mill, School. They are adding a period style log cabin (complete 2015?) next to the settlers cemetary. Nice park

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Coming from a 25 year stint in SE Minnesota, I didn't know what to expect going to this park. I'm sure I camped here in scouting days, but have no recollection of the park.
That said, I enjoyed the park. Fairly easy hike, easy drive from the Quad Cities area. Nice quiet location. Creeks and some sandstone cliffs to view which are nice. Grist Mill is interesting.
I have yet to see any critters outside of hearing birds.

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