When people are first introduced to Southwest Wisconsin, they are often amazed by the rolling wooded hills and peaceful valleys that make the area so unique. Most Americans are unaware of this rugged oasis tucked into the mostly level Midwest. If a person spends any time at all in the region, they soon hear the term ‘Driftless Area’ and it will be time for me to put on my geologist hat.

The Driftless Area (a.k.a. the Driftless Zone or the Paleozoic Plateau) is a region in the upper Midwest that escaped glaciation leaving us with peculiar terrain. Geologists have determined that long ago continental ice sheets wrapped around the area and it was, at least for a time, an island in a sea of ice. Today it can be observed that certain types of silt, clay, sand, gravel, and boulders known as glacial drift are conspicuously absent in this area hence the term ‘driftless’. Not only is it missing glacial drift, but the landscape remains rugged and deeply carved by rivers and streams.

Driftless Area Overview Map

The Driftless Area lies primarily in southwestern Wisconsin, but also includes areas of southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and extreme northwestern Illinois. It covers approximately 16,203 square miles. The 7 county area in SW Wisconsin that I serve as a real estate broker lies within this special region.

Bluffs and deep river valleys intermingle with farm fields and shaded glens to create the breathtaking landscape in which I am privileged to live and work. As a rural property REALTOR I travel much of southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless Area observing the rich tapestry of this place. I’ve been able to capture many beautiful scenes with my camera over the years and have put a few together to create a short video.

Please excuse the amateur videography, but it’s all mine shot on location as I work. I wish everyone could be so fortunate to work in a place like this. Better yet, give me a ring and I’ll show it to you in person and help you find a little piece of it to call your own.

If you’re a geology fan you might enjoy this award-winning documentary Mysteries of the Driftless – The Documentary which covers many of the scientifically unique aspects of the Driftless Area.

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