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Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

The Howard Creek, Fern Ridge, and Pine Creek units have areas open to limited hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography and observation. Please contact the refuge (608) 326-0515) before visiting the open areas.


Directions, Address & Contact Information

The refuge office is co-located with the McGregor District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The office and visitor contact station are located along Hwy 35, just north of Prairie du Chien, WI.

470 Cliff Haven Road

Prairie du Chien, WI 53821

(608) 326-0515

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Points of Interest

The refuge encompasses 911 acres of the Driftless Area in Iowa, a small portion of the entire Driftless Area. This elevated craggy landscape found in 24,000 square miles of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, escaped the slowly gliding ice of the Glacial Period or the Paleozoic-age, 500,000 years ago. The refuge also supports a rare community of plants and animals that take residence in the slopes.

This area also known as the Karst region, boasts topography of steep slopes and cliffs carved by the boundary of the ancient glacial stampede. Here the glacial deposits found in most of the surrounding area are not present.

The monstrous sheets of ice that surrounded this island of land didn’t carry the rocks, clay, sand and silt found in the landscape beyond. Instead seeds and spores from prehistoric times were left frozen for thousands of years. The Algific (cold air) Talus (loose rock) slopes that make up the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, were set aside in 1989 to help recover two federally listed species: the endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail and a colorful flower the threatened Northern monkshood.

Know Before You Go

The Howard Creek, Fern Ridge, and Pine Creek units have areas open to limited hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography and observation. Please contact the the refuge office at (608) 326-0515) before visiting the open areas. No visitation is allowed on the remaining 7 units to protect fragile algific (cold air) talus (loose rock) slopes and the threatened, endangered, and rare plant and animal species found there.

Wear sturdy boots or shoes because much of the terrain on the three open units is steep and rugged. There are no public use trails or amenities, so consider bringing water, bug repellent, sunscreen, and food. Dress for the weather and be prepared to encounter poison ivy in some areas.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016
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