Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.
The wildcat creek waterway has many recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The state of Indiana (IDNR) recognizes most of the creek system as scenic waterway. The waterways provide all sorts of recreational, historical, as well as geological attractions. This area is home to a wide variety of native Indiana plants and animals that may be viewed along the banks. Indiana wildflowers that may be seen from the creek may include bluebells, dutchman's breeches, hepatica, bloodroot, trillium, spring beauty, and violets. Many hardwoods in a verity of successional stages can be seen include silver maples, oaks, sycamores, redbuds, green and white ash, American elm, willow, tulip poplar, walnuts, paw-paw, and cottonwoods. The wildlife that can be observed can include great blue herons, green herons, wood ducks, mallards, great horned and barred owls, redheaded woodpeckers, Baltimore orioles, yellow finches, kingfishers, red-tailed red-shouldered hawks, kestrels, turkey vultures, Canadian geese, as well as osprey. Mammals such as beaver, woodchucks, muskrats, fox, coyote, white tailed dear, raccoons. Varieties of fish that may be found in the waterways may include large and small mouth bass, catfish, gar, carp, and panfish.
The wildcat creek system consists of three forks (North, South, Middle). All the forks flow in an east to west direction. Often water levels very on all three forks depending on the season, spring having the higher levels and late summer/early fall having lower levels. The South Fork of the wildcat begins in Carroll County flowing through north-central Indiana crop lands, pastures, forests, as well as developed areas for about ten miles into Tippecanoe County. The south fork often has less water compared to the north fork but still allows for great canoeing and fishing. The south fork eventually meets up with the north fork at First Wildcat Park.
The North Fork begins for canoeists at the Adams Mill Public Access and ends in the Wabash River near Lafayette. The north fork has the larger flow of water of the three waterways. Along the creek you can find six public access sites starting at Adams Mill and ending with Davis Ferry on the Wabash. The north fork also offers great fishing as well as viewing of wildlife.
The Middle Fork is not as easily accessible as the other two forks. A number of obstacles make this fork more difficult for the average canoeist. An experienced canoeist may find the creek challenging if water levels are cooperative.
Adams Mill (dam) to Knop Lake - the put in site is at Adams Mill Public Fishing Area. There is a path that leads to the water but it may be lengthy. This is a popular place for fishermen. There are plenty of picnic areas in and around the mill. Parking spaces shouldn't be a problem, as there is plenty of room. It is approximately 14 miles to the next access site. So plan accordingly for a 6 to 8 hour float. The creek flows under the Lancaster covered bridge (500 W). This is a popular area for photographers.
Knop Lake to Mis-so-la - this is a nine-mile trip taking from 4 to 7 hours to float.
Mis-so-la to First Wildcat Park - the parking area at Mis-so-la is small. The put in site is easy to find and easy to use. The 4 mile trip can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Recommended as a good trip for those who are looking for a quick easy paddle.
First Wildcat Park to Peters Mill - The park has plenty picnic tables as well as a picnic shelter. There are also restrooms and plenty of parking. The put-in at First Wildcat Park can require a lengthy portage to the edge of the creek. A nice sandy beach covers the area popular with the locals for swimming and lying out. The float should take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
Peters Mill to Davis Ferry (Wabash River) - The Peters Mill site is small but easily accessible to the water. It has a nice wooden dock for easy access to the creek. The float from Peters mill to Davis Ferry can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours.
Emergency medical service is available at hospitals in Kokomo and Lafayette.
From Dayton to Fairfield - The put in is downstream of the state road 38 bridge (on the eastern edge of Dayton), along Co. Road 800 E., on the right bank of the creek. Stay close to the bridge and follow the path to the creek. There is plenty of paved parking for at least 50 cars. The next public access site is in the Fairfield Lake Fish and Wildlife area. It can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours to float this stretch.
Fairfield to Monitor - The put in is on a sandy shore found at the end of a small walking path, which is paved, and ADA accessible. The parking area can hold around a dozen cars. The float should take from 2 to 4 hours to reach Monitor Public access site.
Monitor to First Wildcat Park - the put in is located just under the bridge. A short footpath with steps leads you to the water. The float can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
Emergency service is located in Lafayette.
Information compiled by Rob Copeland and Matt Williams in Sept 2001.