Great River Road
The Wisconsin Great River Road has more miles of shoreline than any of the other nine states that border the Mississippi River. The Upper Mississippi River Valley cuts through the Driftless with steep bluffs, some with rock faces, and deep coulees with numerous trout streams. The portion of the Great River Road that runs through the Driftless is also home to a plentiful number of bald eagles. February is often a good month to see them as they congregate around open water, but they are around all year long.
Where to begin? The Great River Road and bald eagle viewing go hand in hand. Watch for the many pull-offs along the river for a chance to see one (or four). Bring your binoculars to get a close up view, but they’re not necessary to see these majestic birds.
Black Hawk Trail
The twists and turns of this road trip follows the route of Chief Black Hawk and takes you past several historical markers leading up to the Battle of Bad Axe. Learn the sad story of a misunderstood tribal treaty that led to a massacre. It can be hard to imagine such a tragedy happening in such a beautiful place.
Where to begin? The Genoa Fish Hatchery Interpretive Center has a museum exhibit to get you up to speed on the story.
Hwy 33 from Cashton connects to Hwy 82 on its way into Hillsboro and when you see the yellow buggy signs, you know you’re in Amish Country. Driftless back roads can be full of blind hill tops and tight corners. Buggies are slow, and ride on the shoulder of the road. Be mindful and patient when driving the Driftless Amish Country. You’ll be rewarded with sights of quaint farms, horses, and children playing outdoors. The Amish are connected to a simpler time.
Where to begin? Bring the camera along to capture the buggy parked at the local grocery store or the fields of hay standing in tall bundles. But, remember the Amish themselves do not want to be photographed. So please honor their request.
Lower Wisconsin River
Hwy 60 runs along the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Chien through to Lodi. This 100 mile drive starts out at the Mississippi River and takes you through bluffs and farmlands, prairies and woodlands. It’s a beautiful drive taking you into the depths of the Driftless and showing you everything the land’s contours can contrive.
Where to begin? This is a road trip where you might want to bring along the kayaks or canoe. This section of the Wisconsin River is one of the most popular paddling spots for flatwater rivers in Wisconsin.
The waters of the Driftless are the focus of this route. You’ll find yourself, through much of the trip, in the Lower Kickapoo River Valley. But you will also be riding along the Mississippi and the Wisconsin rivers. Wind through valleys cut by streams and rivers and visit small Driftless towns along the way.
Where to begin? This will take you deep into the Driftless. Starting out in Prairie du Chien is a good choice, so is topping off your gas tank there before you hit the road.