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Life along Wisconsin's western border is influenced heavily by Old Man River, the Mississippi. Numerous picturesque towns reflect this influence. Cassville is a pioneer river crossing point that still serves travelers with its car ferry. Eagles soar near here; the raptors favor the Mississippi River Valley.

Prairie Du Chien is situated at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. Historically a gathering place, this plateau town shows Native American, French explorer and fur trader influences at several points of interest. Grandad Bluff, rising above La Crosse, boasts a park that overlooks three states: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Paddlewheelers are a feature of this river city.

Trail trekkers will appreciate Onalaska, whose new bridge makes it a hub for the La Crosse and Great River state trails. Trempealeau Mountain and its namesake town offer scenery and history; the 384-foot landmark rise is ringed by water and Trempealeau's Main Street is included in the National Registry of Historic Places. Fountain City, whose terraced gardens overlook the river, is near the Prairie Moon Museum & Sculpture Garden and Eagle Bluff. Stately Tundra Swans can be viewed at Rieck's Lake Park near historic Alma. Pepin is the hometown of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who penned "Little House in the Big Woods."

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