The Kickapoo Valley Reserve has long been regarded among horse riding enthusiasts as one of the most beautiful destinations in the Midwest. The Reserve offers approximately 37 miles of riding trails. The Reserve shares a border with Wildcat Mountain State Park to the north with its 15 miles of horse trails.
The trails that wind their way through the Reserve pass beneath towering limestone-capped sandstone rock outcroppings that overlook the Kickapoo River and its tributaries. Ascents and descents are numerous as the trail takes you over the valley's deeply carved terrain. Opportunities abound to observe wildlife along the trail as it stretches from the lush valley floor to the high ridges with their awe-inspiring vistas. Old growth pine, short grass prairie remnants, and Cambrian era plant relicts are just a few of the unique features to be found in the Reserve.
Primitive camp areas are available on the Reserve that are accessible to vehicles with horse trailers. Willow and Mule Camp areas, located north of La Farge off of State Highway 131, are traditional favorites for horse and mule riders. Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. All visitors are required to obtain a camping and/or visitor's permit. Permits are available at the Reserve Visitor Center and sixteen self-registration stations on the Reserve.
Wildcat Mountain State Park offers 24 campsites that accommodate horse trailers with campers. Reservations are required. Additional trail passes are required for riders entering the state park trail system. Numerous accommodations can be found in the neighboring villages of La Farge and Ontario, as well as the popular community of Rockton - a long time favorite destination among trail riders
When planning your visit to the Reserve, please consider the following:
- The trail season runs from May 1 to November 15 in both the Reserve and Wildcat Mountain State Park.
- All visitors are required to obtain a Visitor’s Permit for the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Wildcat Mountain has its own trail fee.
- All trail riders must stay on the designated trails.
- Trails are subject to closure due to wet conditions. Call ahead about current conditions - (608) 625-2960.
- Remember that the terrain is challenging, so plan your route accordingly to avoid overworking your mount or yourself.
- Highways and roads run in and along the Reserve. Be cautious and courteous. Maintain a single file line and watch for oncoming traffic. When crossing bridges, it is usually safest to dismount and lead your horse.
- Pack it in; pack it out! Leaving litter or trash in or around the Reserve is unacceptable.
Regardless of the time of year, the Reserve is one of the most beautiful tracts of land in all of the Midwest. Starting with the massed color displays of spring wildflowers, through the tropically dense green growth of mid-summer, and culminating with the brilliant autumn hues of hardwood timber that bring a glistening white winter, the scenery of the Reserve is compelling enough to find you wanting to return to the Valley time and time again.
Note: According to WI Admin Code ATCP 10.36, out of state riders bringing equine animals into Wisconsin must carry a "valid certificate of veterinary inspection". This must include "official individual identification of the equine animal" and a "report of a negative test for equine infectious anemia". Please read the official code for details and more information.
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