Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Nebraska

(308) 436-3777

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area is a picturesque piece of wilderness encompassing 761 acres of rugged rock buttes and pine-covered canyons, located 10 miles south of Gering. It is also home to an extraordinary nature visitor center. Whatever the time of year, visitors will find a variety of wildlife, including both mule deer and whitetails. Much of the recreation area is covered by stands of mountain mahogany (Cercocazpus), found only rarely in the Wildcats or the Pine Ridge in northwestern Nebraska. The nature visitor center building's windows are deeply tinted so visitors can closely observe birds and other wildlife coming from the forest to use feeders and plantings along the building's north side. Windows and observation decks extending along the center's north and east sides overlook the pine forest and the North Platte Valley and Scotts Bluff National Monument. Also, more than three miles of nature trails wind through the canyons and rocky bluffs, with four main trailheads and foot bridges on three trails.

Three stone shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The larger group shelter has fireplaces in each end and can accommodate 40 people comfortably. The two smaller shelters each have a picnic table and fireplace, and are ideal for family outings. Picnic tables and fire grates are scattered throughout the area, and drinking water is available. Vault toilets are provided at two sites. There is no designated camping area at Wildcat, although primitive camping is allowed on several grassed parking areas and at smaller, near-level sites along the interior trail roads. A playground with swings, teeter-totter and merry-go-round is located below several picnic sites on the east access road. After sunset, the lights of Scottsbluff, Gering and river valley farms add their sparkle to the dusk-reddened rock outcroppings.

Map of Wildcat Hills State Rec. Area (NE)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.706672, -103.670078

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Mountain bikers can bike on the hiking trails winding through the area.

  • Camping

    There is no designated camping area at Wildcat, although primitive camping is allowed on several grassed parking areas and at smaller, near-level sites along the interior trail roads.

  • Hiking

    More than three miles of nature trails wind through the canyons and rocky bluffs, with four main trailheads and foot bridges on three trails. The primary trail is located below the large shelterhouse and is accessible to hikers of all ages and abilities. However, some of the side trails have steep grades. Elevations in the hills approach 5,000 feet in some areas. Foot bridges and a rain shelter add to hikers' enjoyment.

  • Picnicking

    Three stone shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The larger group shelter has fireplaces in each end and can accommodate about 40 people comfortably. The two smaller shelters each have a picnic table and fireplace and are ideal for family outings. Picnic tables and fire grates are scattered throughout the area, and drinking water is available. Vault toilets are provided at two sites.

  • RVing

    The "summit" access road is not accessible for large RVs, vehicles towing larger camping trailers or boat trailers, since the turnaround is extremely sharp.

  • Winter Sports

    The interior access roads and part benches along the way of the foot trails provide excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing when snow conditions are right.

Seasonality/Weather

The nature visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily April-September, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday October-March (closed weekends).

Directions

Driving

From Highway 92 and 71 at Gering go south eight miles to entrance.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(308) 436-3777

Links