Things to do in Ferryville, WI
Gays Mills Orchard Ridge – Numerous orchards in the Gays Mills, WI area just 17 miles from Ferryville. Purchase or pick your own. Apple Festival is the last of September.
Blackhawk Recreation Area and Marker – Desoto, the marker commemorates the site of the 1832 Battle of Bad Axe, where Chief Black Hawk and his band of Sauk followers made their historic stand against the U.S. infantry.
Cabela’s – Hwy. 35 N, Prairie du Chien, WI. 40,000 sq. ft. retail showroom offers the latest in hunting, fishing and outdoor gear.
Clements Fishing Barge – Highway 35 float is located just below Lock and Dam #8, 20 minutes North of Ferryville, WI. Walleye, sauger, perch, panfish and more. Captain Hook’s Bait and Tackle located in nearby Genoa, WI.
Hubbard’s Fishing Float – Highway 35 Float is located just below Lock and Dam #9, 15 minutes south of Ferryville, WI. The fishing float offers great fishing in a prime spot for those who do not have a boat. Fishing tackle available.
Rush Creek State Natural Area – (2000+ acres) some of the Midwest’s premier turkey and deer hunting public land. Only 5 minutes north of Ferryville, WI.
Great River Road Interpretive Center
S5631 State Hwy 35 (GRR), Genoa, WI54632
The National Fish Hatchery and Great River Road Interpretive Center focuses on the recovery of endangered aquatic species, education and providing fish for area waters. The hatchery is open for tours during business hours 8 am – 3:30 pm and the Interpretive Center is open from 9 am – 4 pm daily. A boardwalk path takes visitors on a self-guided tour through a marsh with native plants, dragonflies, frogs and wildlife, easily seen.
The GRR Interpretive Center opened to the public on June 1, 2018. Built as a collaborative effort with the National Scenic Byways Program and the US Fish and Wildlife Service with the mission to educate and inform GRR travelers on the unique geography, natural history and local history of the region, while instilling a conservation message to the public. It has a “living roof” with native plantings to help insulate the structure. There are 3 levels in the building and a small theater. A bluff wall exhibit with bird mountings such as the American Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon show the natural habitat and local landscape. An interactive exhibit with changing content allows the user to search for information about the Great River Road, history and early culture of the region. Exhibits go beyond the story of the Hatchery, featuring significant histories of the area, including the pearl button industry and the Battle of Bad Axe-the final battle of the Black Hawk War. In April 2020 a new exhibit opened in the Center, documenting the history of the construction of Lock & Dam #8 – Genoa, a Works Progress Administration Program (WPA of the Depression Era.)
Rush Creek Nature Area
The outstanding feature of Rush Creek is a two-mile long series of dry, alkaline prairies situated on the steep southwest facing limestone-capped bluffs of the Mississippi River. These “goat prairies”, named for their steep, rocky terrain, are part of the most extensive dry prairie remnants left in the state. While most Wisconsin prairies were lost to the plow or development, Rush Creek’s steepness and dry southwestern exposure are largely responsible for its preservation.
Characteristic plants include lead-plant, little blue-stem, side-oats grama, silky aster, blazing-star, wood betony, compass plant, and bird’s-foot violet. The narrow north and east-facing slopes bluff tops are forested with red and white oak and a significant amount of black walnut, hickory, basswood, sugar maple, and aspen. Common shrubs and mid-canopy species include gray and round-leaved dogwood, American hazelnut, sumac, and ironwood with a good diversity of woodland herbs and forbs.
The spring-fed Rush Creek is cool and clear and supports a floodplain forest of silver and red maples, elm, cottonwood, river birch, and willow. The extensive nature and diversity of vegetation make Rush Creek important habitat for numerous rare plants and animals. Rush Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1981.
Sugar Creek Bluff
Ferryville, WI (take North Buck Creek Road off Hwy 35)
Just over 2 miles long, the trail up Sugar Creek Bluff in Ferryvlle, WI (take North Buck Creek Road off Hwy 35) brings you to a magnificent view of he Mississippi River and the Great River Road. Part of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, this trail will reward hikers with wildlife viewing as well as being a great location for birding and viewing the local flora. The prairie at the top of the trail is a great spot for spying Bald Eagles, Hawks, Turkey Vultures, migrating birds in season and much more.
Sugar Creek Bluff contains a rich prairie flora with such species as prairie drop-seed, big and little blue-stem, New Jersey tea, flowering spurge, prairie coreopsis, bird’s-foot violet, downy painted-cup, and bastard-toadflax. Red oak, white oak, shagbark hickory, white ash, and basswood dominate the dry-mesic forest. The forest ground flora is diverse and includes numerous spring ephemerals and early summer species including spring beauty, dutchman’s-breeches, hepaticas, bloodroot, columbine, and toothwort. Sugar Creek Bluff was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.
For 20 years, Mississippi Valley Conservancy has been working to make Sugar Creek Bluff State Natural Area near Ferryville in Crawford County a star among its land conservation projects in Western Wisconsin. Thanks to prairie restoration, wetland improvement, invasive species removal and trail work, the bluff and its companion wetland can reward visitors with wildlife sightings and blooming flowers such as hoary puccoon, leadplant or monkey-flower. The rare cerulean warbler and red shouldered hawk are among the birds you may see there.
Hikers will also find, at the prairie overlook, an expansive panoramic view of the Mississippi River and the bluffs beyond. Barge and other river traffic are part of the view. Hawks, eagles and turkey vultures may drift by, soaring on the thermals rising from the bluffs. In any season, the view is beautiful.
Effigy Mounds National Monument – National Park Service property – Iowa’s only national monument the Effigy Mounds. There are 206 known prehistoric American Indian mounds within the borders of the park. Open year-round.
Fish Farm Mounds – Fish Farm Mounds State Preserve is a three-acre prehistoric cemetery (mound group) locate in the southern portion of the 576-acre Fish Farm Mounds Wildlife Area. The preserve contains a cluster of thirty conical mounds of various sizes, which were built by Native American from 100 B.C. to9 650 A. D. The Wildlife Area is mostly wooded and is abundant with wildlife, making it a popular hunting area.
Lady Luck Casino – Marquette, IA – Over 750 slots, table games, regional and headline entertainment.
Lansing, Iowa (8 miles) – Just across the river and has several points of interest. There are 5 bars/restaurants and a grocery store, along with a liquor store and gas stations. There are also hardware stores, unique gift shops and historic places to visit.
Mt. Hosmer in Lansing, Iowa – Visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of three states (Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota) and the beautiful Mississippi River simply by driving to the top of Mt. Hosmer Scenic Overlook Park.
Driftless Area Education and Visitor’s Center
1944 Columbus Rd, Lansing, IA 52151
Monday – Thursday 5AM – 8PM
Friday – Saturday 5AM – 9PM
Sunday 6AM – 8PM
Monday – Thursday 5AM – 9PM
Friday – Saturday 5AM – 10PM
Sunday 6AM – 9PM
Open Daily 9AM – 7PM
Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10AM – 6PM
Closed Sunday, Monday
Saturday’s 9 AM – 3 PM
May – October 28, 2023
Dining & Nightlife
Serving 9AM – 12:30PM Friday & Saturday
11AM – 11PM Sunday – Thursday
Note: The Swing Inn has a resident “ghost.” You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of “Blue Moon.”
Serving Daily 7AM – 11PM
Scenic Road Tours
You can enjoy a variety of attractions within a comfortable drive from Ferryville. Click on the links below to see more details about a particular set of attractions.
Use this guide to plan your day trip along this historically rich area of the Midwest.
Sugar Creek Bluff State Natural Area (A)
This small (77 acres), secluded natural area is located at the south edge of Ferryville. Nature lovers will enjoy the rich variety of trees and plants native to this area.
Sugar Creek Bluff is owned by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002. Access is free.
Additional information available at the Wisconsin DNR website.
Lynxville Lock and Dam No. 9 (B)
Located on Mississippi River mile marker 647.9, 8 miles south of Ferryville near Lynxville, Wisconsin
- Built and operated by US Army Corps of Engineers.
- Constructed and placed in operation in July 1937.
- Dam consists of concrete structure 811 feet long with five roller gates and eight tainter gates. Earth embankment 9,800 feet long with a grouted overflow spillway 1,350 feet long.
- Lock is 110 feet wide by 600 feet long.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns (C)
Largest show cave in Midwest. Centuries old Indian shelter carved by underground river, maze of chambers and tunnels created by water flowing through bedrock limestone over thousands of years.
Open May 15 through October 31, rain or shine. Cameras welcome. Hwy 60 on Rhein Hollow Road, Wauzeka, 608-875-7723.
Villa Louis (D)
The Victorian Country Estate of Wisconsin’s first Millionaire Hercules Dousman. Get a glimpse of the life few experienced in the late 19th century. Located 30 minutes south of Ferryville on Highway 35 in the heart of Prairie du Chien.
521 Villa Louis Road, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Mississippi River Sculpture Park (D)
Wisconsin’s second oldest settlement now offers an opportunity to journey through 12,000+ years of human history as it influenced those who shaped this section of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Admission to the park is free. New sculptures are placed on display as they are completed so be sure to visit often.
Located 30 minutes south of Ferryville adjacent to Villa Louis on St. Feriole Island.
Pete’s Hamburgers (D)
A Noteworthy Summertime Tradition in downtown Prairie du Chien since 1909.
Hamburgers cooked in water? With or without onions? In a free-standing “shanty” in the middle of the street? No tables or seating? Sounds weird but you have to try them and then you’ll know why “once people try one, they can’t stop. They have to keep coming back”. Across the street from Starks Sport shop at 118 W. Blackhawk Ave.
Open from June thru third week of October.
Fort Crawford Museum (D)
The museum boasts more than 50 exhibits in 3 buildings, which reflect the historical society’s mission to tell the story of Prairie du Chien with emphasis on Fort Crawford, especially the amazing story of Dr. William Beaumont, the famous medical pioneer, often referred to as the “Father of American Physiology”. The leader of the Sauk Indian Nation, Black Hawk, surrendered after the Battle of Bad Axe in Prairie du Chien and was briefly imprisoned at Fort Crawford. The bars from his prison cell window are on display on the grounds today.
717 S. Beaumont Road, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Cabela’s Retail Outlet (D)
Cabela’s retail outlet offers in-store events and special discounts on many weekends. Store features a Bargain Cave for those who are budget conscious. Located 30 minutes south of Ferryville on Highway 35 at the north end of Prairie du Chien.
33901 State Hwy 35, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
www.cabelas.com Visit the Retail Stores tab from the main website to see the current schedule of events and specials.
Wyalusing State Park (E)
Where the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers Meet
At 500 feet above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. One of Wisconsin oldest parks, Wyalusing features Indian burial mounds, canoe trail, 23.7 miles of hiking trails, 7.7 miles of mountain bike trails, bird watching, cross-country ski trails.
County Highway C just south of the Wisconsin River Bridge. Located 45 minutes south of Ferryville.
Stonefield Village and Governor Dewey Estate
A MUSEUM OF AGRICULTURAL HISTORY, VILLAGE LIFE AND THE ESTATE OF GOVERNOR NELSON DEWEY
Stonefield celebrates Wisconsin’s rich agricultural heritage. You can learn about the rise of turn-of-the-century dairy farming and the development of modern farm implements, including tractors, reapers and threshing machines. Experience the sights and sounds of the railroad — the era’s most important transportation. Discover the grand summer estate of Wisconsin’s first governor, Nelson Dewey. Explore Stonefield today to see what made the state become “America’s Dairyland.”
Located 90 minutes south of Ferryville.
12195 County Road VV, Cassville, Wisconsin 53806
Casino Queen Marquette (F)
Cross the bridge from Wisconsin to Iowa to continue your adventure starting with a little excitement. Casino Queen knows exactly what you want! Great gaming action mixed with down-home service of a small town along one of the most scenic areas of the Mississippi River. Located 40 minutes south of Ferryville.
100 Anti Monopoly, Marquette, Iowa 52158
Pikes Peak State Park (G)
Yes, this is the same Zebulon Pike after whom was named the more famous Pikes Peak in Colorado, but this is the original!
From the top of the 500-foot bluff, the confluence of the Wisconsin River and the mighty Mississippi is seen to the south. To the north, the view of the bridges connecting Iowa and Wisconsin is breathtaking. Pikes Peak State Park is located in the Paleozoic Plateau that was missed by the glaciers that flattened and molded so much of Iowa. Pikes Peak State Park is a hiker’s delight.
Located 45 minutes south of Ferryville.
15316 Great River Road, McGregor, Iowa 52157
Spook Cave (G)
Spook Cave offers a unique underground river experience. You will encounter a cave that will reflect no seasonal temperature change, always at 47 F. The air you breath is so fresh, clean, so pollution-free.
Located one hour south of Ferryville.
13299 Spook Cave Road, McGregor, Iowa 52157
Effigy Mounds National Monument (H)
“…one of the finest mound groups in all America…”
An “Effigy Mound” American Indian culture developed over 1,000 years ago placing thousands of earthen mounds across the landscape of what (today) includes parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.
Over 200 mounds are preserved intact within the Monument; 31 are effigies in the shape of bears and birds – commemorating the passing of loved ones and the sacred beliefs of these ancient peoples.
Located 45 minutes south of Ferryville. Although our address is “Harper’s Ferry,” we are actually located much closer to (4 miles north) of McGregor and Marquette, Iowa.
151 Hwy 76, Harpers Ferry, Iowa 52
Return to Ferryville Along the Iowa Great River Road (H-I)
Begin your return trip to Ferryville continuing along the Iowa Great River Road west of the Mississippi River. This short trip offers some of the most scenic terrain in Iowa. Pass through Harper’s Ferry and Lansing before crossing the bridge back to Wisconsin.
Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center
Mt. Hosmer Park & Scenic Overlook
Mt. Hosmer Park is a 25 acre city park offering a breathtaking view of three states, Lansing Bridge and the river valley. The elevation of its summit is 1,060 feet and it rises 440 feet above the Mississippi River. This hill was named Mount Hosmer in June 1851, after Miss Harriet Hosmer, a noted eastern sculptress, climbed the hill in record time. Park facilities include a shelter house, cooking grills, picnic tables and hiking trails.
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
With a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, a farmstead , country church and the Vesterheim Genealogical Center, Vesheim is the most comprehensive museum in the United Stated dedicated to a single immigrant group. The museum houses over 24,00 artifacts.
523 W. Water St, Decorah, Iowa
Great River Road Interpretive Center
Rush Creek State Natural Area
Operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, this natural area is an example of a “goat prairie” and is an important habitat for numerous rare plants and animals. Access to the park is convenient from either Highway 35 (at the roadside) or from Rush Creek Road. Located only 3.5 miles from Ferryville. Access to the natural area is free.
Rare plants include purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens), hairy meadow-parsnip (Thaspium barbinode), broad beech fern (Phegopteris hexagonoptera), and Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica). Rare animals include wing snaggletooth (Gastrocopta procera), Kentucky (Oporornis formosus) and cerulean warblers (Dendroica cerulea), Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens), red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), and the gorgonne checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne gorgone). Rush Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1981.
Additional information available at the Wisconsin DNR website.
Blackhawk Park, Corps of Engineers
Blackhawk Park (WI)
E590 CTY RD BI
Located 15 minutes north of Ferryville.
Genoa National Fish Hatchery
Genoa National Fish Hatchery raises over 10 species of fish to contribute to sport fish restorations, including walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brook trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, sauger, black crappie and bluegill. Lake sturgeon are also raised for stocking in Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin waters.
This facility is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Stop by for a self-guided tour. Group tours are available upon request for school and civic groups. Kids’ Fishing Day is held in Spring – see our Events page for this year’s date. The hatchery grounds are also noted by bird watching enthusiasts.
S5689 State Road 35, Genoa, WI 54632-8836
Located 20 minutes north of Ferryville.
Kickapoo River Wildlife Area – Bell Center Unit
A 1,400 acre property located 2 miles south of Gays Mills along Highway 131. Recreational opportunities include hunting, trapping, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, canoeing and cross country skiing.
East Circuit Map
Railfanning in Ferryville
If you are a railroad buff – you know what this means!