There is simply no better place to explore, by car, by bike, or by boat. The scenery when you explore the Driftless Wisconsin Area is unmatched. The history is fascinating. The people and communities are diverse. Around every bend of the road, every twist of the river, something interesting awaits.
Explore Driftless Wisconsin Area by Interest
Select an interest below to begin your exploration or read on for information about each.
More Information About the Travel Interests of the Driftless Wisconsin Area
Wisconsin’s Driftless area offers a wide variety of regional highlights to explore:
Driftless Wisconsin Area Amish Country
The Amish are famous for simple living, plain dress, and rejection of modern conveniences. These traditional values and practices of Amish culture have their roots in the Swiss Brethren culture of the early 1500s. First settling in the northern part of Vernon County in the early 1970s, the charming Amish communities of the Driftless Area are found between Ontario and Cashton, near Hillsboro, south of Viroqua in the Liberty Pole Area, in western Vernon County around Chaseburg and Stoddard, and also on Crawford County’s Sugar Grove ridge.
Driftless Wisconsin Area Food & Farming
Wisconsin is known for its dairy farms, but there’s much more to explore in the foods and farming of the Driftless region. Vernon County is home to 32 vineyards producing unique regional wines from cold-climate grapes. Wisconsin’s Driftless area is also known for its locally-grown, healthy and organic foods found at farmers markets and food cooperatives.
Driftless Wisconsin Area Geography & Rivers
Rugged landscapes and the largest concentration of cold water streams of its Karst topography define Driftless Area geography. The mighty Mississipi River borders the western edge of Crawford and Vernon counties. The Wisconsin River, the state’s longest, flows along the southern border of Crawford County and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. The meandering Kickapoo River, at 125 miles, is the longest tributary of the Wisconsin River. Fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, canoeing and camping are found throughout the region.
Driftless Wisconsin Area History
From the prehistoric Mound Builders, to the early explorers and fur traders of the 17th and 18th Centuries, to the lumber mills, mines and crop farming of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the Driftless area has hosted some very engaging history made up of a variety of immigrant cultures ranging from Norwegians to Czechs, Bohemians, and Irish.
Driftless Wisconsin Area Parks
Crawford and Vernon Counties are home to three state parks. Eight county parks and forests of the region offer scenic bicycling, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting and picnicking opportunities. Twelve designated State Natural Areas provide visitors with rare glimpses of native flora and fauna in their pristine, untouched state.
Mississippi River Valley
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America and its waters have always been essential to the Driftles region’s commerce, history, natural resources, and recreation. Here you can camp in campgrounds located in state parks, near river towns, or pitch a tent on the river’s many islands for free. On the water, fishing and motor- or paddle-boating abound. Enjoy scenic hiking, biking, wildlife viewing & drives around the river. History lives at various historic and prehistoric sites.
Kickapoo River Valley
The Kickapoo River Valley is one of the world’s oldest river systems and its waters meander north, south, east and west along its 125 mile length. Visitors are able to explore the river by canoe, by automobile, and/or by bicycle. Other outdoor recreation of the area ranging from hiking, to horseback riding, cross-country skiing and more can be found at Wildcat Mountain State Park and Kickapoo Valley reserve.
Driftless Wisconsin Area Communities
The communities of Wisconsin’s Driftless region delight visitors with their individual personalities and small-town charms. Experience life in a river town. There are communities that offer the international influences of Norwegian and Czechoslovakian culture. Unique shopping, dining and culture await in each of our towns and villages.