Interpretive Trails at Cave of the Mounds
New in 2008, we are proud to offer wildlife observation and nature appreciation opportunities to visitors of all ages and abilities. Come and tour our freshly groomed Interpretive Trails!
The provides visitors the chance to learn a bit more about karst topography and Wisconsin caves. Sinkholes are the highlight of this trail, including those above Cave of the Mounds, as well as several separate systems. Impressive views of Wisconsin's Driftless Area can be seen from the School Sinkhole. Stop at the Historic Barn Discovery Center and search for evidence of ancient life with the Barn Fossil Hunt. Hikers will enjoy walking above the Cave they have, or will soon, tour below, identifying features that indicate the presence of a cave here. Karst View Trail access begins southwest of the Visitor Center. Trail difficulty: easy; Trail length: approximately 1/3 of a mile.
The trail provides visitors with experiences in savanna woodland forested habitat where birds and small mammals abound. The trail loops down into the valley and twice across Chert Creek, an intermittent stream that carries water from the top of the East Mound toward the Pecatonica River to the south. This peice of land was purchased in cooperation with the Natural Heritage Land Trust and remains protected as a conservation easement. This important green space provides a buffer to Cave of the Mounds from local developments. Long term plans are in the works to connect the Oak Valley Loop area to the Military Ridge Bike Trail which runs along the southern edge of the easement. Oak Valley Loop access begins shortly after hikers ascend the Karst View Trail, southwest of the Visitor Center. Trail difficulty: moderate; Trail length: approximately 1/3 of a mile.