Deep in the heart of Wisconsin’s Hidden Valleys, the “Driftless” area of the Midwest (missed by glaciers four times), lies Viroqua, County Seat of Vernon County. Settled in 1846, Viroqua now has a friendly population of nearly 4,300. Farmers, tradespeople, professionals, musicians and artists make up the diverse community of residents that call the area “home.”
More than just a great place to live, the abundance of services, activities and beautiful nature makes the Viroqua area a fun and exciting place to visit! Throughout Vernon County, you’ll find clean, pleasant communities proud of their history and heritage. Escape to our friendly small towns, picturesque vistas, unique festivals and a simple way of life. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend some time in lovely Vernon County.
Year-round Activities Near Viroqua
Vernon County is the home of many Amish settlements. Their traditional black buggies and horses can be seen on the most any road in the area. Signs along the roads identify those families who have items for sale. You’ll find everything from candy to leather products, bentwood furniture, quilts to toys and baked goods, all offered for sale at their homes or shops. The Amish will not conduct business on Sundays, their day of rest. The Innkeeper will gladly provide you with a driving tour itinerary to the Amish area.
Antiquing is a popular pastime throughout the year with over 20 antique malls, shops and dealers for you to hunt for treasures within a short drive. As the weather warms, you will find auctions to attend nearly every weekend, and most will have some antiques and collectibles on the bill.
Seasonal Activities Near Viroqua
As the snow melts, flowers emerge and the green returns to the trees in Vernon County, treat yourself to a visual splendor and a season filled with exciting things to do in the area. The warmth of Spring brings out the many prized morrels, an edible mushroom eagerly sought out by local residents and visitors alike.
Vernon County’s first weekend festival each year is Westby’s Syttende Mai, celebrating the Norwegian heritage of many of the area’s residents. The festival is typically in mid-May.
If you enjoy hunting, spring brings the turkey hunting season.
In the summer, nearly every weekend is filled with a celebration in one of the area’s towns and villages. Be sure to check the schedule of festivals to see what is happening while you are here.
Summer provides a wonderful opportunity to get out and enjoy the picturesque landscape of Southwestern Wisconsin. Whatever your sport: bicycling, fishing, hiking or canoeing, you’ll find paradise in the many trails and waterways here. If you like to bicycle, the unglaciated, hilly terrain provides a challenging experience to the bicycling enthusiast. Mountain biking trails at Sidie Hollow Park and the Kickapoo Reserve offer challenges to the mountain biker. If you like fishing, Vernon County has the best to offer in the state. You’ll find over 200 miles of trout streams in the county. Timber Coulee is listed by Trouts Unlimited as one of the top 100 trout streams in the country. Nearly 20 miles of the West Fork of the Kickapoo River has been designated as a catch and release stream offering some real sport fishing. In addition, the Mississippi river and three lakes offer the fishing enthusiast many choices for recreation.
Canoeing the Kickapoo River draws hundreds of canoeists every week from April to October to the scenic Kickapoo Valley. The Kickapoo River is the states crookedist river and can be canoed by those of any age or skill. You may furnish your own equipment or rent equipment from one of the many outfitters in the region. These outfitters will launch your boats at a number of sites and then pick you up downstream.
Hikers will find many beautiful and sometimes rugged trails in the area. Wildcat Mountain State park offers several trails that allow for spectacular views of the Kickapoo Valley. Both Sidie Hollow and Jersey Valley County Parks have trails around their perimeters. The Kickapoo Reserve has over 8,600 acres to explore.
We also have a farmer’s market every Saturday in downtown Viroqua throughout the summer.
During the end of September and much of October, the many deciduous trees in the area ablaze with color and texture. The hills become a paradise for the photographer or the outdoor enthusiast.
As the harvest draws to a close, many communities have colorful and interesting festivals in the fall. The last event on the fall calendar is the Vernon County Fair held every third weekend of September at the historic fairgrounds in Viroqua. With over 10,000 exhibits, you’ll find plenty to do, see and eat at the fair.
For the hunter, fall brings the excitement of turkey hunting and deer hunting in late November. For the fisherman, Walleye season on the Mississippi is in the fall.
The end of the year brings a special time to the area. The Mississippi River freezes over and ice-fishing begins for the winter season. The countryside is aglow in lights and good cheer fill the homes. Enjoy a romantic sleigh-ride and delicious holiday foods or cross-country ski.
Winter offers a glistening treasure of natural beauty and excitement for visitors to Vernon County. Eagle watching has become a popular activity in the area. Hundreds of the majestic birds over-winter in the area, sunning themselves on branches along the Mississippi River bluffs (just 19 miles away) and feeding in the open pools or fields nearby.
Thousands of people attend the 90 meter International Ski Jumping tournament near Westby in February. This tournament draws the nation’s top ski jumpers and several from foreign countries as well. This ski jump is usually one of the trials for the US Olympic team.
Seven active snowmobile clubs maintain over 237 miles of trail in a well-groomed condition. These trails link several towns in the county and link to trail systems in neighboring counties as well.
For the skier, the area provides excellent opportunity for both cross-country and downhill skiing. Whether you choose to make your own trails in the natural preserve near LaFarge, glide around the trails of the local golf course in Viroqua or nearby Sidie Hollow or Jersey Valley lakes, you’ll find the beautiful scenery and crisp air of Wisconsin refreshing. Mt. LaCrosse, about 30 minutes from Viroqua offers the Alpine skier the highest vertical drop and the longest downhill run in Wisconsin.