Visit Prairie du Chien in the Driftless Area
Located just above the beautiful confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, Prairie du Chien is the oldest European settlement on the Upper Mississippi River, and certainly a town worth visiting when you visit the Driftless Area. The history of Prairie du Chien dates back to the earliest days of the fur trade between traders and Native Americans. Later, Fort Crawford was built here, which played an important role in Indian relations, the Civil War, and medical experiments attributed with advancing medical science. Eventually, as with many communities in the Midwest, the Rairoads came to Prairie du Chien, and were responsible for furthering the social and economic development of the area. Today, Prairie du Chien is a charming town to visit, full of wonderful historic sites to see and activities to do. Located just 35 miles away, our quiet Vacation Rentals in the heart of the Driftless Area is the perfect place to stay and explore the towns of Driftless Wisconsin.
Explore the History of Prairie du Chien
With such a long and rich history, there are plenty of historic attractions worth visiting within the town of Prairie du Chien. St. Feriole Island, in the center of town and the site of the city’s earliest activities. This historic town center was not only the center of the fur trade, but was also the home of the first Fort Crawford, which was the site of the Battle of Prairie du Chien in 1814, as well as three important Indian treaties. The island also once served as the depot for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Today on St. Feriole Island you’ll find Villa Louis, which is a Victorian estate that was home to a well-known family in Prairie du Chien. The property was one of the first historic house museums in the Midwest, and became Wisconsin’s first State Historic Site in 1952. Every year, Prairie du Chien hosts the Villa Louis Carriage Classic, which is a a pleasure driving show held on the beautiful grounds of the historic homestead.
Above and beyond the regional history, Prairie du Chien is also a stunning place to visit in its own right. Visitors can enjoy cruises down the Mississippi River, canoeing or kayaking down the Wisconsin River, trout fishing on the rivers or streams, hiking at Effigy Mounds National Monument, or birding and hiking at other area parks such as Wyalusing State Park or Pikes Peak State Park. There is so much to do in Prairie du Chien and the greater Driftless Area that just one weekend won’t even begin to touch it. Take advantage of our beautiful Driftless Area Vacation Rental, nestled on 100 beautiful acres in the heart of the Kickapoo Valley.
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15662 Vance Rd
Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin 54655
Our family stayed in mid-August. We had a very relaxing visit. The house is comfortable and the property is encircled by hills, making the experience a unique getaway. We enjoyed building bonfires each night, hanging out in the nice living room and taking the surprisingly lengthy hikes that are all on the property. Mornings started with coffee on the second story porch overlooking the meadow and hills, evenings ended with zero noise except that made by nature or our family. Each night there was a canopy of bright stars that weren't diluted by light pollution. We enjoyed hiking Wildcat Mountain, canoeing down the Kickapoo, roasting smores and hanging out. My son and I tried our luck at trout fishing in a nearby stream (Tainter?). It was an enjoyable, unique experience although we didn't catch anything. We'll be back.
- Dave, Eau Claire, WI