Wildcat Mountain State Park

E13660 Wisconsin 33
Ontario, WI 54651

608-337-4775

On a steep ridge overlooking the scenic Kickapoo River Valley, Wildcat Mountain State Park offers hiking trails with spectacular views and camping for families, groups and horseback riders. Canoe the Kickapoo River in your own canoe or rent one in Ontario. The park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Prehistoric times

Archeologists from the Wisconsin State Historical Society and the National Park Service have excavated rock shelters and Indian mounds in 25 sites in the Kickapoo Valley. Most of these locations are believed to have been temporary hunting camps, as no evidence of cultivated plants was found. Indian hunting parties probably migrated yearly along the Kickapoo from the more settled camps of the Tomah area to the more permanent homes at the junction of the Wisconsin and Kickapoo Rivers.

At one site, seven levels were identified in a nine-foot excavation. The fifth occupation level was dated at about 2000 BC. At the seventh level pieces of deer and other animal bones, charred bones, broken projectile points and flakes were found. At another site, there were a few pottery chips and a stone hearth.

The early Indians knew the Kickapoo river as "the river of canoes." Since the late 1960s it was rediscovered by canoeists and has again become the river of canoes from May to October. Highway 131 from Ontario to La Farge faithfully follows Indian trails, crossing the river 11 times in 13 miles.

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