Description - 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.
One of the focal points of the park is the Pine Creek Grist Mill located in the eastern part of the park on Pine Creek. The mill was built in 1848 by Benjamin Nye, one of Muscatine County's first settlers who also built the county's first store and post office in 1838. The Pine Creek Grist Mill is one of the finest examples of mid nineteenth century mills left in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of Pine Creek Grist Mill and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working to restore the mill to its original condition. The "turn of the century" Melpine Schoolhouse is located near the mill and offers park visitors another glimpse of Iowa's past. To learn more about the mill, the Melpine Schoolhouse, and the work of the Friends of Pine Creek Grist Mill, visit their website at www.pinecreekgristmill.com.
A portion of the park was donated to the state by the Brandt sisters who actually lived there at one time. A bronze tablet dedicated to their memory has been placed in sandstone in a lovely setting where centuries-old pine trees line 75-foot cliffs.
Wildcat Den State Park offers a variety of picnic settings ideal for a pleasant outdoor cookout. There are two open shelters available and may be reserved for a fee through the park manager.
Wildcat Den State Park is a great place for a family to "get away from it all" for a weekend or a family vacation. The campground has 28 campsites and non-modern rest room facilities. Camping permits are obtained through self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the campground. Camping is also available at Fairport Recreation Area.
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.
Fairport Recreation Area
For a different type of camping experience, why not try the Fairport Recreation Area Campground located 6 miles away from Wildcat Den State Park on Highway 22. Fairport is located right on the Mississippi River and offers 42 campsites, all of which have electrical hook-ups. Modern shower and rest room facilities and a trailer dump station are available at the Fairport Campground. Camping permits are obtained by self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the campground.
There are 3 boat ramps available at the Fairport area and provide plenty of boating access to the "Father of Waters." A fish cleaning station is provided as well as docks for loading and unloading boats.
The Fairport Recreation Area provides excellent access and viewing of the Mississippi River. The large towboats, recreational boaters, river wildlife (especially birds) and the majesty of the river all parade in front of the campground.