From the hills all around, rugged valleys collect for rivers that feed the mighty Mississippi. The early French called such a valley a coulee. These many valleys, large and small, still are known as coulees, a regional name for a regional landscape.
Here the glaciers never came. The great ice sheets grinding out of the north sometimes passed to the west, other times to the east, to plane the land, carve out the Great Lakes, and leave deep deposits of gravel and other sediment everywhere but in coulee country.
Coulee views along the Mississippi are proudly compared with the Palisades of the Hudson and the hills along the Rhine. Coulee Country is world known through the writings of Hamlin Garland, 1860-1940, a native son.