Coulee Country


The area in which Vernon and Crawford Counties are located goes far back in Wisconsin history. In 1680 the French started a trading post on the "Great Confluence" of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. They named it Prairie du Chien (prairie of the dog) after an Indian chief named Alim (Dog) who lived there.

The "Great Confluence" is a wide prairie surrounded by towering bluffs. It has been a meeting place since ancient times. Furs from the north country, as well as trade routes up the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers to Lake Michigan, and down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, have given the area a rich and varied history. Today Prairie du Chien is a city of about 6,000 people and the seat of Crawford County.



The town of De Soto is also on the Mississippi River, about midway between Prairie du Chien and La Crosse. It lies in the center of an area unique in natural beauty, geologically called a "Driftless Area" because it was sheltered from the glaciers by the massive headlands rising up near La Crosse. The heavily timbered hills remain, interlaced with thousands of pure artesian springs and streams that over the ages have carved the deep valleys leading to the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers. The area is only 30% farm ground, much of which is in 10-year government programs that encourage habitat restoration. This, the lack of industry and the remoteness of the area contribute to an environmentally buffered area with remarkably clean air and water.

The native people have always considered the area a spiritual and sacred place. About 2,500 years ago people began building ceremonial mounds along the cliffs overlooking the big river. Many of the views from these sites remain in their natural state and still have the power to evoke the awe and wonder felt by the earliest inhabitants.

Boasting more trout streams than any other part of the state, numerous canoeing rivers, and the sprawling 200,000-acre Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, southwestern Wisconsin provides countless recreational opportunities. All species of game fish are plentiful and trophy sizes are common. Already famous for abundant populations of wild turkeys and deer, it is also the central migration route for waterfowl and over 250 other species of birds. Over two dozen free boat landings allow easy access to these quiet waterways.

Well known for its apple orchards, fresh and smoked fish shops, arts &crafts, antiques and of course famous Wisconsin cheese and sausages, Crawford County's numerous historical sites and regular events and festivities will also interest the visitor. The Rendezvous, held every summer near the Villa Louis, a restored Victorian mansion, relives the colorful days when the mountain men and the Indians met to trade and renew old acquaintances. Nearby Gays Mills is known for its orchards and Apple BlossomFestival in May and the Harvest Festival with spectacular fall colors. Cider, honey, caramel apples, cherries, grapes and many other local delicacies are available. At Cassville is a ferry to take you over to Iowa for a scenic trip along the western shore of the Mississippi. Enjoy the Catfish Festival in Glen Haven and Potosi, Dairy Days in Platteville, Civil War Battle in Prairie du Chien, Germanfest in Guttenberg, plus art fairs, farmers' markets, antique shows, flea markets and so much more.

Visit the Village of De Soto

Visit the Town of Lansing

Visit the Village of Ferryville

Visit La Crosse

If you are looking for a getaway, a log cabin in the woods, or a secluded building site by a stream or high in the bluffs over looking the river, we can help. A small business, a country home, or an abandoned farm for investment, Stop in or call, "We'll" be glad to show you around.

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