Natural Areas and Parks
The “Driftless Area” of the Upper Midwest derives its name from the fact that it was unglaciated during the most recent glacial event, about 12,000 years ago. The Driftless Area comprises some 13,000 square miles, largely in southwest Wisconsin but extending into southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois. The continental glacier which covered most surrounding regions did not touch this area, leaving our signature hill and valley terrain intact.
Within a short distance of Soldiers Grove are some incredible attractions, some made by nature, some by man.
At first you see low rises on the landscape. Soon your eye begins to pick out regular patterns in the hills. If you trace the patterns, the hills turn into familiar shapes — animals rising in low relief out of the ground. These effigies are not the work of nature at all but were created by the people who lived here more than 1,000 years ago. Effigy Mounds National Monument in Northeast Iowa was established by presidential proclamation in 1949. The monument preserves a representative and outstanding example of a significant phase of the prehistoric American Indian mound-building culture and protects wildlife, scenic and other natural values of the area.
Great River Road
Wisconsin’s Great River Road flanks the majestic Mississippi River as it leisurely winds its way along 250 miles of the Wisconsin west border. Along its way, the road is nestled between the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other, becoming one of the most scenic drives in mid-America. Most of the time the road parallels the river, but when the road does meander a short way from the river, it treats its guests to vistas of rolling farmland and beautiful forested valleys and coulees.
Hogback Prairie (Wisconsin State Natural Area)
Hogback Prairie is situated on a narrow, steep-sided ridge that rises 300 feet above the Citron Valley, a former oxbow of the nearby Kickapoo River. The prairie has an unusual mix of native plants, blending typical dry prairie species with those of moister prairies. The variety of slopes has contributed to the existence of an excellent population of the state-threatened Hill’s thistle and other rare species. To the south the ridge widens and the prairie grades into oak woods and an overgrown savanna with several savanna indicator plant species. Hogback Prairie is owned by the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is an 8,569 acre tract of land located between the villages of La Farge and Ontario in southwestern Wisconsin. Enjoy the many wonders of the Reserve, including sandstone outcroppings that tower over the quiet waters of the Kickapoo River, and native plants and animals that abound in all seasons.