Wisconsin’s landscape is so unusual that the topography is, virtually in its entirety, federally recognized as part of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve.
Drive south along Lake Winnebago, with a stop-off at High Cliff State Park. From here, the afternoon is best spent on the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit scenic drive, designed to take you past every type of glacial topography.
Bend northwest to another node of the scientific reserve in Devil’s Lake State Park, which has an interpretive center and the state’s best hiking trails atop glacial land. Take in the vistas of the Wisconsin River on a Wisconsin Dells boat tour.
A quick jaunt off the geological trail is in order. From Devil’s Lake State Park, drive west on a loop trip following U.S. 14, U.S. 61, and the south side of I-90. Within is Wisconsin’s Coulee Country, a landscape of undulating hills and crooked rivers—the largest unglaciated region in the world.
Starting from Devil’s Lake State Park, follow the Wisconsin River north through the Sands Country, filled with glacial detritus. In Wisconsin Rapids, head west to the Chippewa Moraine Unit of the National Scientific Reserve.
Head northwest to St. Croix Falls and Interstate State Park, site of the final interpretive center explaining the state’s postglacial natural history: stunning views!
Then, go east, weary traveler, into the lands of those 16,000 glacial lakes and relax; you’ve earned it!