Technically the full Wildcat Trail goes all the way from the Montgomery Bell Inn to the Ore Pit Loop trail, but due to limited time and winter/holiday closures in the park, I opted to cut it short and only go from the junction with the Nature Trail to the Ore Pit Loop trail, making my roundtrip in this section 1.0 miles. Despite running into a few fellow hikers on the Nature Trail, there were zero souls in sight on the Wildcat Trail in either direction. It was impossible, however, to feel that sense of isolation that I look forward to while hiking because the trail runs right next to a popular campground, and during winter, there’s no tree cover to really separate the two, which means I hiked right past some lovely people making a late lunch over a campfire while we awkwardly tried not to stare at one another.
Despite the fact that it hadn’t rained in over a week, the section of the trail immediately past the campground was super muddy. So much so that I had to stop at one point and try to scrape some of the mud off my shoes with a stick because it was literally starting to weigh me down. Thankfully I have waterproof shoes to hike in, but it’s still never fun for me to feel myself sinking deep into mud with every step. Aside from the mud, the trail had one or two short steep sections, but was overall was a very easy hike. Pretty much any age would be able to manage it.
You’ll know you’ve reached the end of the Wildcat Trail when you get to a small covered table at a fork in the trail. There’s also a trail map posted there so you can decide where you’d like to head next.