The Driftless area is a large peninsula of land, mostly located in Southwest Wisconsin, that went unglaciated throughout the last glacial period, which occurred 10,000 years ago. The word “driftless’ simply refers to the fact that this area lacks glacial drifts. It’s not a big deal to be without glacial drifts, especially if as a result you have dramatic landscapes of repeated hills and valleys that go on for more than a hundred miles. The hills are steep, limestone based, and mostly wooded with a deciduous mix of oak, hickory, ash, and cherry. At the base of these limestone hills hundreds of cold water springs erupt and form into the most perfect trout streams that one can envision. If you live in Chicago or Minneapolis there is no need to travel a thousand miles in search of remarkable trout fishing – just come to the Driftless Area which stretches from La Crosse, WI on the north to Dubuque, IA to the south, and from Baraboo, WI on the east to Decorah, IA on the west.

In the middle of Wisconsin’s portion of the Driftless Area lies the Kickapoo River Valley. In many ways the Kickapoo Valley has somehow managed to escape modernity. While the valley occupies about 2000 square miles, there is no city of more than a thousand people within the valley itself. Small villages, friendly cafes, quaint B&B’s, and a surprising number of artists can be found in this piece of paradise. If you spend a few days here be warned – your body clock will unwind, you will talk a little slower, and you may be surprised by the frenetic pace of the world outside of the Kickapoo Valley. The Kickapoo River itself, along with the larger Wisconsin River, and the beautiful backwaters of the upper Mississippi River all offer great canoeing opportunities.

Here is a place of incredible natural settings, more hills that you could ever imagine to find in the Midwest, great trout fishing, wonderful silent sport opportunities, good old fashioned rural serenity, and total relaxation.


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