See the Best of Nature at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Located near La Farge, WI, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is one of the most beautiful attractions in Southwest Wisconsin! This nature reserve is home to an abundance of scenic Wisconsin landscape, and should be at the top of any outdoor lover’s to-do list. Ideal for both recreation and education, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve contains numerous plants, animals, hiking trails and more!

About the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

The reserve covers 8,600 acres of land, including a State Natural Area designated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. According to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve’s website, the land was originally part of a government flood control project that was never finished. The land cleared for the project would eventually become the site of the reserve. You read more about the history of the reserve here.

The reserve is also home to a Dark Sky Preserve, one of several dedicated places across the country that are void of light pollution. The stargazing here is incredible!

Plants and Animals

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is home to an array of wildlife, from common critters including Canada goose and house sparrows, to endangered flora like the bird’s eye primrose. Plenty of birds, mammals and reptiles call the area home! Listed on the reserve’s website is a list of birds that have have been spotted (there’s a lot!), as well as other fascinating animals including foxes, beavers, bald eagles and several different types of salamanders!

According to the reserve’s website, over 450 species of flora can be found on the land, including a dozen rare and endangered plants. Needless to say, if botany is your subject of interest, you’ll be more than occupied exploring the vegetation that inhabits the land.

Recreation

Grab your tackle box and fishing pole, strap on your backpack and hiking boots or saddle up – fishing, camping, horseback riding and more can all be enjoyed here! Few things are as calming and refreshing as spending time outside, and it’s hard to find a more ideal location than the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Hunting white tail deer, among other animals, is popular, as well as trapping. Learn more about hunting, fishing and trapping in the reserve here.

Whether your preferred method is by foot, horseback or mountain bike, the reserve’s trails are perfect for exploring its natural beauty. Visit the Trails webpage to learn more about the guidelines, the KVR Trail Challenge and more.

To get the most out of the reserve, bring your tent and camp underneath the beautiful Wisconsin sky! Due to the nature of the land, you’ll want to read the guidelines for camping. Campers are required to leave nothing behind, ensuring that the grounds stay in their preserved state. Fire pits are provided and several of the campsites can be accessed by vehicle, as stated on the website. Permits for all recreational events can be found here

Education

No matter how you are, there’s something for you to learn here! Summer day camps and youth programs are held for kids, as well as workshops and lectures geared towards adults. Check out the events calendar, the reserve’s annual events, or email kickapoo.reserve@krm.state.wi.us to sign up for the monthly event newsletter.

Location

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is located at S3661 State Highway 131, La Farge, WI 54639. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday, and directions to it are posted here. The reserve is less than 20 miles from Westby, and just over an hour from La Crosse.

 

Wisconsin’s Driftless Area is one of the state’s most scenic regions, and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is undoubtedly a highlight of the area. For more information on the Driftless Area, its towns, attractions and more, download this free vacation guide, courtesy of the Westby House Inn and Restaurant. When you visit, stay at the Westby House for the most hospitable, relaxing experience in Southwest Wisconsin!