Located in the heart of the driftless region, an area of Wisconsin that the glaciers took a pass on, Wildcat Mountain State Park is gorgeous year-round. The terrain in the driftless region is far hillier than the rest of the state, providing great vistas at every turn.
The Kickapoo River meanders around the base of Wildcat. Stop in Ontario to have your pick of the canoe rental companies – Drifty’s, Titanic or Mr. Duck’s (names that inspire confidence all around). No worries if you are a novice. The Kickapoo, while somewhat fast moving, is also incredibly shallow. In the unlikely event you capsize, wading to the shore is easy. The water is rarely deeper than chest deep. All along the river are natural sand beaches, encouraging you to take your time to stop and wade or picnic.
All trails lead down from the park office at the top of Wildcat Mountain. Campsites are attractive and most have wonderful views. Even if you don’t plan to camp or hike, be sure to stop and catch the view from the overlook. It is unparalleled in the state.
Not up for a lot of hills? Sidie Hollow County Park also offers camping, a boating lake and an easy trail that circles the lake. Don’t be surprised to come across horses tethered in the woods. It’s a popular place with Amish folks to boat or fish at on their day off.
Viroqua, about 45 minutes south, is an excellent town to stop in for a nosh or groceries. There is an excellent co-op, Saturday farmers market with many Amish pastry and veggie stands, and plenty of cute shop, including a favorite – Gary’s Rock Shop.
The driftless region is a a truly excellent long weekend destination.