Driftless Area

The Driftless Area (also called the Driftless Zone) is a multistate region in the United States Midwest centered along the Mississippi River and containing portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. The area is known for its deeply carved river valleys and rolling hills, making the area a hunting, camping and one of the sole skiing areas in the Midwest. In many respects, the geography of the region creates not only unique ecosystems but also a unique culture.


The true boundaries of the Driftless Area are somewhat ambiguous as the regions defining characteristics gradually ease back in flat lands rather than distinctly end. However, in general, the borders are as follows

  1. In Minnesota, it begins roughly near Fort Snelling Park and expands to the southeast with Minnesota Route staying general east of Minnesota Highway 56.
  2. In Wisconsin, the area is generally bounded by the Chippewa and Wisconsin Rivers. Where the Wisconsin River turns west at Portage, the area generally lies to the west of a straight line running due south between Portage and the Illinois border.
  3. In Iowa, the area is generally located east of Wapsipnicon River and north of US Route 30.
  4. In Illinois, the area is generally west of the Stephenson-Winnebago County line and north of IL Route 64.

The following regions are partially or entirely within the Driftless Area:






There are three primary cities within the region: Rochester, MN, LaCrosse, WI and Dubuque, IA. The Twin Cities, Madison, WI and Cedar Rapids, IA all lie immediately outside of the area.

Get in

The area, despite being relatively remote, is immediately accessible via a number of interstates and routes including the following:

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.