Population (2010)

1,887

Introduction

Brice Prairie is both a natural feature and a small, unincorporated community that bends around Lake Onalaska that is popular with recreation seekers.

Visitor Information

Direct your questions to the good folks at Explore La Crosse (608.782.2366).

Arriving in Town

The main route through the area is County Highway Z, but County Highways Zb and Zn also provide access to some areas. None of these roads connect to State Highway 35, so you’ll need to backtrack to get to the Great River Road.

History

Brice Prairie was home to a Ho Chunk winter camp in the 1800s known as White Oak Spring; they made a living by trading furs and selling maple syrup. Logging along the Black River generated some commerce, but the area was mostly home to dairy farms. Alexander and Lucy Brice moved to Wisconsin in 1843 from New England and settled in La Crosse County in 1855. Alex was a veteran of the War of 1812. They had 10 children, one of whom, George, went on to some success selling farm implements and in local politics. The prairie once had a track for training sulky racers and an airfield used to train pilots during WWI. Today, the area is dotted with subdivisions but no incorporated community.

Fun Fact: Brice Prairie is the boyhood home of fictional travel writer/mystery solver Frank Dodge.

Exploring the Area

Sports & Recreation

The Great River Trail passes through Brice Prairie.

Getting on the River

Schafer’s Boats and Bait (W7221 N. Shore Lane; 608.781.3100) sells bait and tackle year-round and rents boats after the ice melts: pontoon boats, canoes, rowboats, tandem and single kayaks, and 16’ fishing boats. In winter, they are a good resource for the latest news about ice conditions and the quality of the fishing.

**Looking for more places to visit along the Mississippi River? Check out Road Tripping Along the Great River Road, Vol. 1. Click the link above for more. Disclosure: This website may be compensated for linking to other sites or for sales of products we link to.

Where to Eat and Drink

Red Pines Bar & Grill (W7305 County Road Z; 608.779.2800) sits along the backwaters with a good view of the lake; dine on the patio and enjoy walleye cheeks (chunks of deep-fried walleye), stringer of sunfish or catfish, or pizza. On the lighter side, get a sandwich and pair it with chips made on-site.

Where to Go Next

Heading upriver? Check out Midway.

Heading downriver? Check out Holmen.

Community-supported writing

If you like the content at the Mississippi Valley Traveler, please consider showing your support by making a one-time contribution or by subscribing through Patreon. Book sales don’t fully cover my costs, and I don’t have deep corporate pockets bankrolling my work. I’m a freelance writer bringing you stories about life along the Mississippi River. I need your help to keep this going. Every dollar you contribute makes it possible for me to continue sharing stories about America’s Greatest River!

©Dean Klinkenberg, 2011,2017