Photo Credit: Kinstone
Due to ongoing changes, please check ahead with organizations and events before traveling. For more information on safe travel visit the CDC travel page.
The bluffs that border the Mississippi region here offer some of the grandest overlooks of the Mississippi River Valley that you will find. This county is home to Century Farms, working farms in existence for over 100 years, and winding, hilly back roads that take you there. In Buffalo County, you’ll find some of the most unique stops along the WI Great River Road along with a wealth of birding and insight into Western Wisconsin’s wine renaissance.
Backroads and Breathtaking Views
500-foot bluffs greet you as the Wisconsin Great River Road travels through Buffalo County. The Buena Vista Overlook in Alma, WI has the largest natural balcony overlooking the Mississippi. Elmer’s Auto and Toy Museum in Fountain City, WI is actually 5 museums in one and a fascinating way to spend a day. But even more than that, the museum sits on Eagle Bluff, rising 550 feet above the Mississippi with the highest view you’ll find of the river. The beauty of this area is more than just the spectacular bluffs. You can download a map of scenic drives to take you to lesser-traveled backroads among the farming communities within its hills and valleys.
While Elmer’s is most definitely on the unique stops list, it’s neighbor, Kinstone Megalith Garden is a must-see. Large stones create a sculpture garden amid native prairies and oak savanna. This place resonates with a feeling of peace and a connection to nature that relaxes and grounds. The Castlerock Arms and Armor Museum is a surprising find in the small town of Alma. With a collection that starts with Ancient Greece through to modern times, you will be hard pressed to find a comparable collection in the Midwest. Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden is a roadside piece of Americana outside Fountain City. Built by a man who stated he wished to “kill old-age boredom”, and transformed these grounds into an art piece.
Bald Eagles are perhaps the star of the Mississippi Flyway. At least it is always breathtaking to see one. The Wings Over Alma Nature and Art Center combines birding and art with an outdoor viewing deck with a spotting scope (the Alma area is home to hundreds of bald eagles) and a gallery of local and regional artists. If you are interested in viewing the birds of the Mississippi backwaters, Merrick State Park is a fantastic choice, especially during the Spring and Fall migrations.
Local wines can be a delicious souvenir from your Great River Road road trip. Danzinger Vineyard uses all its own grapes and makes and bottles their wine on site. There are several award-winning wines to choose from but Golden Sunrise, a semi-sweet white wine, is a favorite. Seven Hawks Vineyards is one of the largest vineyards in the Midwest. Hunters Blend is their signature red wine and the one to try. It is created with a blend of northern hybrid grapes.
Safe Business Practices Pledge
Buffalo County businesses are working to keep their visitors safe, pledging to keep to a six-step mandate:
- Mask up
- Monitor employee health
- Stay home
- Clean surfaces
- Physically distance
- Wash hands