Wildcat Mountain State Park Geology
Wildcat Mountain is in the area of southwestern Wisconsin called the Driftless Area because it was missed by the glaciers that covered most of the state. The area is a sample of what Wisconsin must have looked like before the Ice Age, more than 10,000 years ago.
The hills, made of Precambrian sandstone with limestone tops, have many exposed bluffs which add to their scenic beauty, especially in the fall.
"Kickapoo" is an Algonquin word meaning "that which goes here, then there." Surely this is a good name for the river which flows for 125 miles over 65 miles of land, with a fall of nearly 350 feet through what are called the Ocooch Mountains of western Wisconsin. The name "Ocooch" came from a small band of Indians related to the Winnebagos called the "Ocoche." The tribe was wiped out by smallpox brought by the earliest white people. The mountains are high castellated bluffs, sometimes referred to as "The Dells of the Kickapoo." Some very rare and old plants are found on these bluffs and can only be observed by canoeing the river.
The Kickapoo River, Billings Creek, and Cheyenne Creek in Wildcat Mountain State Park have carved winding, steep-sided valleys made out of the rock. The Driftless Area is the only part of Wisconsin with no natural lakes.
The Kickapoo River, like the other rivers of the driftless area of Wisconsin, probably was formed by small glaciers or spurs of ice which had nothing to do with the massive glaciers know as the Wisconsin Ice Sheet which covered the rest of Wisconsin.