Geography of Buffalo County, Wisconsin

By | March 5, 2024

Buffalo County, located in western Wisconsin, boasts a diverse geography characterized by its rolling hills, fertile valleys, and the winding Mississippi River. This region, part of the Driftless Area, showcases unique geological features, a temperate climate, and a network of rivers and streams that contribute to the area’s natural beauty and agricultural productivity.


Landforms and Topography: According to Topschoolsintheusa, Buffalo County is situated within the Driftless Area, a region that escaped glaciation during the last Ice Age, resulting in distinctive topography characterized by rugged hills and deep valleys. The county is part of the Mississippi River Valley, featuring rolling hills and bluffs that provide scenic vistas and recreational opportunities.

The Coulee Region, encompassing parts of Buffalo County, is known for its coulees—steep, narrow valleys carved by erosion. These coulees contribute to the county’s unique and picturesque landscape, creating a patchwork of hills and valleys that make the area distinct within the state.

Rivers and Streams: The Mississippi River, forming Buffalo County’s western border, is a dominant geographical feature that has played a pivotal role in the county’s history and development. The river serves as a major transportation route, and its scenic beauty attracts residents and visitors alike. The confluence of the Chippewa and Trempealeau Rivers with the Mississippi adds to the county’s hydrological significance.

Several smaller rivers and streams traverse Buffalo County, including the Buffalo River, which flows through the heart of the county. These waterways contribute to the overall drainage network, supporting local ecosystems and providing water resources for both human and natural use.

Lakes and Reservoirs: While Buffalo County is not characterized by large natural lakes, it features smaller lakes and reservoirs that add to the region’s natural beauty. Alma Lake, situated near the town of Alma, is a notable water body that provides recreational opportunities such as fishing and boating. These smaller lakes and reservoirs contribute to the diversity of aquatic habitats in the county.


Buffalo County experiences a temperate climate with distinct seasons, influenced by its location in the upper Midwest. Summers are typically warm, with average high temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit. Winters are cold, with average lows in the teens and 20s Fahrenheit. The region experiences a moderate amount of precipitation throughout the year, with snowfall occurring during the winter months.

The temperate climate, combined with the unique topography of the Driftless Area, contributes to the county’s suitability for agriculture, including the cultivation of crops such as corn, soybeans, and hay.

Flora and Fauna:

The diverse geography of Buffalo County supports a variety of flora and fauna. The wooded hillsides are home to a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, including oak, hickory, maple, and pine. These forests provide habitats for wildlife, including deer, turkey, and a variety of bird species.

The rivers and streams in the county support a diverse aquatic ecosystem, including fish such as walleye, bass, and catfish. Wetlands and riparian areas contribute to the county’s biodiversity, providing habitats for amphibians, reptiles, and waterfowl.


Agriculture plays a significant role in Buffalo County’s economy, with the fertile valleys and plains supporting a variety of crops and livestock. The county is known for its dairy farms, producing milk and cheese. The topography, characterized by rolling hills and well-drained soils, is conducive to agriculture, and farmers in the region have adapted to the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the Driftless Area.

Outdoor Recreation:

The diverse geography of Buffalo County makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Mississippi River provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and birdwatching, while the hills and valleys offer hiking and scenic overlooks. The county’s natural beauty attracts hunters, anglers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat in a rural setting.


Buffalo County, Wisconsin, is a region of diverse and distinctive geography, shaped by the Driftless Area’s unique topography and the influence of the Mississippi River. From the rolling hills and coulees to the fertile valleys and waterways, the county’s landscapes offer a mix of natural beauty and agricultural productivity. The temperate climate and outdoor recreation opportunities add to the appeal of this western Wisconsin gem, making Buffalo County a place where residents and visitors can experience the harmony of nature and human activity in a picturesque setting.