When craving the solace of the outdoors, with enough room to breathe and keep a social distance, the Driftless can offer you the winter fun you love with the space you need. Be sure to check ahead to see if offered services are ongoing.
Look forward to your future vacation in Southwest Wisconsin and learn what the Driftless is all about. Click to order a map and start the daydream.
Click to order or download a map and start the daydream.
When the snow falls and the winter temperatures start to drop the ice begins to creep out from the shores of the lakes and rivers of the Driftless. This is a time of year highly anticipated by fishermen when they can finally drill a hole in the ice and drop a line. Northern pike is plentiful and fun to catch. They’re a big fish and average about 16 to 22 inches in length, but we like them to get the chance to grow even bigger, so keepers must be at least 26 inches. The record for a northern pike in Wisconsin? 45.5 inches! That’s the average height of a six-year-old child!
Where to begin? Pool 9 of the Mississippi River, also known as Lake Winneshiek, is a good place to go. Check-in with the locals at bait shops to get the update on the ice. You might find maps of the Northern and Southern portions of the pool useful.
Photo by Spencer Davis
With so many trails to choose from, a snowy Wisconsin winter is a ton of fun. The light blue trail on this map works its way through the Kickapoo Valley Reserve (KVR). The beauty of the Driftless is amplified in the ridges and valleys the trail will take you through. Snowmobiles are the only motorized vehicles allowed on KVR land, so be sure to stay on the trail to keep this beautiful part of the Driftless open to sled enthusiasts.
Where to begin? It’s good to know what the snow conditions are. Things change frequently, and you can find out if trails are open by checking out the Wisconsin Snow Report.
Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing
Snowshoes open up Wisconsin public lands by allowing you to go off-trail and explore. But if you feel safer on trails, you will find that at Wildcat State Park the 2.5 mile Old Settlers hiking trail becomes a snowshoe trail each winter. The park has over 20 miles of trails to be explored and winter hiking is a fun way to do it. With the foliage off the trees, the many overlooks in the park offer even more expansive views of the valleys of the Driftless
Where to begin? If you need some snowshoes you can pick up a pair at Bluedog Cycles in Viroqua. And be sure to stop at the park office to learn where the groomed cross country trails are in the park, you will want to avoid those.
Cross Country Skiing
Prairie du Chien is a good central point for getting out to do some cross country skiing. The city’s La Riviere Park offers signed, groomed, cross country ski trails. And just south of Prairie du Chien is Wyalusing State Park. This park offers multiple groomed trails for the cross-country skier. Whitetail Meadows Trail is perfect for the less experienced skier while Turkey Hollow has a few small hills and offers more of a challenge at 2.3 miles long.
Where to begin? All cross country ski trails in Wyalusing can be accessed from the Astronomy Center Parking Lot and you can find a map of the park here.