Natural Wonders Of The La Crosse Region

Legendary Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

As part of the Driftless Region, the La Crosse area features many natural wonders! Check out these standouts that will undoubtedly be the highlights of your spring and summer!

The Driftless Region
“Drift” refers to glacial drift: the rock and sediment deposited by a glacier as it moves over an area of land. During the last Ice Age, a small piece of the Upper Mississippi Region was miraculously left untouched by glacial erosion and drift deposits. The surrounding landscapes that once featured prominent bluffs were leveled to plains and rolling hills, yet no glaciers entered one small pocket… And so, the Driftless Region became the last remnant of the natural, rugged terrain that once spanned today’s Upper Midwest!

Apple Blossom Scenic Drive

La Crescent, MN

Starting in late May you should plan to bike or drive the 17 mile scenic Apple Blossom Drive, to experience the natural beauty of blossoming apple trees. Ride along the bluff-top roads that overlook the Mississippi River and La Crosse, Wisconsin and descend into the Pine Creek Valley for your return trip back to La Crescent, Minnesota.
 Riders start on North-East corner of Cameron Park and head south on 5th Ave for one block before turning right on Cass St.

Grandad Bluff Park

La Crosse, WI

Grandad Bluff has become not only a destination point for thousands, but also a famous symbol of the great Driftless Region. The 600-ft high bluff overlooks the city of La Crosse, the Mississippi River Valley, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. Just a short 10-minute drive up a winding bluff road are legendary sights bursting of summer greenery. Voted as “the most scenic view in the state” by Wisconsin Trails readers, this signature sight is a bucketlist must when visiting the La Crosse Region.
3020 Grandad Bluff Rd. La Crosse, WI

The Mindoro Cut

Farmington, WI

Mindoro Cut is located in the town of Farmington in La Crosse County, Wisconsin just off of Highway C, which links Mindoro with West Salem. The cut is 74 feet deep, 86 feet long, and 25 feet wide. It is the 2nd deepest cut built by hand in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest functional cut which has not been improved. Work on the cut began in 1907 and concluded in 1908, completed primarily with hand tools. The Mindoro Cut was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Highway C, Farmington, La Crosse County

The Mississippi River

This famed, long and winding river gives the Driftless Region something to talk about! It has miles of waterways for anyone in the region to explore from sight seeing, hiking, and fishing to birding, camping, or cruising. The River truly provides unparalleled adventures!

Great River Landing Sights & Experiences

Onalaska, WI

Outstanding natural beauty, culture, and outdoor activities find their home on the waterfront of Lake Onalaska at the Great River Landing. This destination is renowned for its Great River State Trail: connecting over 100 miles of state bicycle trails and is local to businesses offering unique cuisine and shopping. Don’t miss the chance to partake in fishing, canoeing, or kayaking these famous waters!
Highway 35/2nd Ave and Irvin Street,
Onalaska, WI

Fishing in the La Crosse Region

La Crosse, WI

Near La Crosse, the Upper Mississippi sprawls well beyond its main channel, creating hundreds of tiny islands, channels, and deep pools which harbor more species of fish than any other temperate-climate river in the world. Walleye is king in these waters, but you can catch just about anything here: sauger, northern pike, shovelhead sturgeon, large and smallmouth bass, perch, sunfish, bluegill, crappie, gar, channel and blue catfish, to name a few.
The La Crosse Region

Camp Out & Stay

La Crosse, WI

Whether you’re hosting an event or seeking to camp with loved ones, Pettibone Resort is an ideal campground for your needs. Located on the backwaters of the Mississippi River, your dream summer getaway trip with campfires and starry skies lives here. What’s more? The river resort’s banquet hall provides the perfect rustic elegance for any romantic wedding atmosphere in any season.
333 Park Plaza Drive,
La Crosse, WI

Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Take a deep breath and relax in nature journeying through 261 miles long trail ways – the longest in the nation and one of the most visited. With over 240,000 acres of wetlands, forest and river to explore, you can enjoy a plethora of wildlife. Notably, enjoy sights of eagles, songbirds, blue herons, tundra swans, egrets, ducks, and many more birds that either call the Refuge home or travel through on their migratory route.

Marshes & Other Wildlife

La Crosse, WI

The Marshes near the Mississippi River are extremely important to the River ecosystem as they act as a natural watershed of the Mississippi by holding water when it rains and then slowly, safely releasing it. Myrick Park of La Crosse is a wonderful park to explore this type of unique ecosystem. This park connects to numerous trails, ranging from easy to hard, and features scenic views of the marsh and surrounding bluffs.
Myrick Park Dr., La Crosse, WI

Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Onalaska, WI

Onalaska is home to the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge where visitors can wander through the sand prairie overlooking the magnificent Mississippi River. One must make sure to see what lies below the surface of the famous river through The River Walk’s “walk on water” exhibit. The changing prairie colors provide everlasting freshness from late spring to early fall.
N5727 County Road Z,
Onalaska, WI

Seasonal Birding: Eagles to Tundra Swans

La Crosse, WI

La Crosse County and the surrounding areas are home to some of the best birdwatching locales in the Upper Midwest. From Bald Eagles, Tundra Swans, and Great Egrets on down to bluebirds, warblers, and sparrows, the area hosts a wide range of species sure to satisfy birders of every stripe. Fall is an especially active time of year, with several migrating species spending time in the region, so be sure to visit these places to catch a glimpse of your favorite visiting birds.
The La Crosse Region


3 Road Trips To Take In The Region

Take a trip this spring or summer with the whole family! Enjoy beautiful scenery, access to excellent hiking, fishing, scenic overlooks, and the picturesque vistas your family will love! Throw in great dining and day trips to some of the best views around, you may find yourself wanting to stay!


Seasons In The Region

La Crosse Region comes alive during the spring and summer months, bursting with adventure and activities for all! Explore the Region that offers an abundance of great outdoor resources and opportunities, amazing food, arts and culture, and stunning views for you and your entourage to enjoy.