Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

OutAndBack • 6 mi • 0 ft

Located nine miles south of Gering and Scotts Bluff in Scotts Bluff County. This recreation area contains at least three miles of hilly hiking trails that switchback through rugged, pine-forested ravines on a prominent escarpment overlooking the vast North Platte River valley. Steep climbs and descents, loose rocks, and tight corners help create a moderate to difficult biking experience in an area with a distinct western feel. Ponderosa pine, cedar, prairie grasses, and even yucca and other cactus plants add to that atmosphere. The trails, a combination of single- and double-track, can be ridden as an out-and-back ride with several side loops. You can also return to the trailhead by the park road at the top of the ridge.
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Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Gering
Length: 6 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to difficult
Season: Midspring to late fall. Snow could linger in the north-facing ravines in the early spring, keeping the trails muddy.
Local Contacts: Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area, 308-436-2383
Local Maps: The USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle of this area is Wildcat Mountain.
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Recent Trail Reviews

2/12/2017

Visually, this is an incredibly beautiful place. And it was once a very quiet/peaceful/relatively natural one too. That’s until the geniuses at Nebraska Game & Parks decided to install an ugly, noisy, multi-station “shooting range” in this once-beautiful park. Now, most times it’s pleasant enough for visitors to want to find a little peace and quiet and enjoy some nature, you’ll be treated instead to loud volleys of gunfire echoing through the the Wildcat Hills (including nearby public land parcels Buffalo Creek and Montz Ranch). The Nature Center was expanded at the same time as the “shooting complex” was installed, which is fortunate, since that is likely the only place you’ll see much “nature” amidst the noise. The “shooting range” is only several hundred *feet* from the Nature Center, so have fun enjoying the “natural” noise as you take in the views. Big ugly berms now block views to the south from the park road…presumably to prevent stray gunfire from hitting vehicles. Thinking of enjoying some nice peaceful camping? The prevailing winds and sound-amplifying effects of the Hills means you’ll be “enjoying” the gunfire from any of the park’s designated camping areas. So put on some noise-canceling headphones, maybe with an app that plays some “natural” sounds, and enjoy your visit. Or keep driving and spend your tourist dollars on a place where the interests of a few (but very noisy) “shooters” don’t outweigh those of the many.

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