Experience history and nature at Wildcat Den State Park. A great place for family outings, the park features many picnic shelters, trails, and campsites. Located just off Iowa Highway 22 along the Mississippi River, Wildcat Den sits only about twelve miles outside of Muscatine, making it an easy trip for local residents.
Along with outdoor recreational activities, Wildcat Den State Park includes several historic sites. Pine Creek Mill, a restored and working 1848 grist mill on the National Register of Historic Places, stands out as the oldest known working grist mill between the Mississippi River and the Rockies. Open in July Wednesday through Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 pm, visitors may speak with interpreters and explore on their own. Come watch machinery demonstrations at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, if the old machinery cooperates and if enough staff can work together to run it safely.
Just a few feet away from the mill stands the restored 1877 Melpine Country School. Open 12:30 to 4:30 pm Saturday and Sunday afternoons in July, this old country school features displays of photos and authentic memorabilia.
Visit the 1878 steel bridge near the school and mill. The bridge provides a great place to watch and listen to the sounds of water coming over the dam.
Only a short walk from the school and mill area, visitors can see the pioneer cemetery that marks the final resting place of several early settlers, including the mill’s builder.
This summer, Wild Cat Den State Park intern Chloe will offer a series of learning activities for adults. Check our Facebook page for details. Previous activities included outdoor photography, bird watching, and studying bobcats/cougars.
Anyone may visit any part of Wild Cat Den State Park for free. The mill also includes a gift shop complete with refreshments in the mill. For more information check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wildcat-Den-State-Park/106118236086475 and web site www.pinecreekgristmill.com.
For more information contact Tom at [email protected], or the park office at (563)-263-4337.
Do you want to help? The Friends of Pine Creek Mill works to get many jobs done around the park and can always use more volunteers. Contact Tom to find out how you can help.