Lower Wisconsin River Road Highlights
French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first ones to follow the Wisconsin River, but you can also take trip down the Lower Wisconsin River Road, if not in person, at least by reading on here at lowerwisconsinriverroad.com, where you can learn more about this scenic route right in the Heartland of America. But first, let's take a deeper look at the Wisconsin River.
The Wisconsin River
This affluent of the Mississippi River is the longest river in the state of Wisconsin, at a length of 430 miles. The river starts out from the Lac Vieux Desert, near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan border, flows south through the central Wisconsin glacial plain. It passes Wausau and Stevens Point before turning West and meeting the Mississippi three miles South of Prairie du Chien. Many things could be said about this river, but two stand out, the Dells of the Wisconsin River, and the Lower Wisconsin River State Riverway. The Wisconsin Dells is a gorge characterized by its scenic beauty, unique rock formations and tributary canyons. The Dells was formed over ten thousand years ago, during the last ice age, while the rock itself dates from the Cambrian period, about five hundred million years ago. The ecosystem of the Dells is the home to a richly varied flora and fauna which includes northern and southern oak and pine forests, and oak savanna, moist and dry cliffs, as well as rare animals such as different species of dragonflies, mussels and birds.
The Lower Wisconsin River State Riverway is a state project developed to preserve the southern portion of the river. It covers 93 miles from Sauk City to about ten miles south of Prairie du Chien, where it empties into the Mississippi. The state department of natural resources manages over 75000 acres of protected land which includes islands, adjacent lands to the river and the river itself. This offers a natural habitat for diverse local wildlife such as white tail deers, otters, beavers, turtles, sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks and fishes.
The Lower Wisconsin River Road
The road starts at the Interstate 90 and Wis 60 intersection near Lodi, and ends at the Wis 35 junction in Prairie du Chien, stretching for a good 100 miles. The Wis 60 highway passes through the cities of Lodi, Prairie du Sac, Sauk City, Spring Green, Lone Rock, Gotham, Orion, Port Andrew, Wauzeka and Prairie du Chien, each with its own attractions and highlights. The Lower Wisconsin River Road is certainly an untainted slice of rural Wisconsin, full of those colorful and quaint details that lead you back to an era that people usually only read about in history books, but that can be revisited in the flesh, just as long as men respect nature and life itself.
Some of the activities that tourist can partake in while traveling the Lower Wisconsin River Road include eagle watching, pine river recreation trail, the Tower Hill state park, a number of festivals, Civil War re-enactments and canoe races, among many others. But really, just being there and feel like you're part of something that was there eon before you were born, and that hopefully will remain there long after we're all gone, is worth the visit.