Just as the coulees and valleys of the Driftless are a refuge for plants and animals, they are a place where small communities can thrive far from the madding crowd. Here are a few examples of such communities:

Saint Paul the Apostle Orthodox Monastery - Just north of Boscobel, they share the Athonite monastic tradition with Christians using the English language. Focused on prayer and repentance, they support themselves by selling icons at their store or on the Internet.

St Francis Hermitage​​ - A community of sedevacantist Catholics who are members of the Fraternite de Notre Dame. They believe the papacy is currently vacant. The Fraternite has missions in Chicago, San Francisco, France, Haiti and ... Gays Mills. In addition to their charitable works, they also run a French restaurant and organic patisserie.

The Cheyenne Valley area near Hillsboro was Wisconsin’s largest rural African American settlement in the 19th century. Two men from the community served in the Iron Brigade. Black Joy on the Prairie, African American Heritage in Vernon County, Driving Tour, Shivers Family Presentation.

Pleasant Ridge, just south of Lancaster, was home to a community of the formerly enslaved, founded in 1848. Like the Cheyenne Valley, it featured integrated schools. Wisconsin Historical Society, Grant County Historical Society. Aaron Cooley on Pleasant Ridge.

In 1844, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints settled in what is still name Mormon Coulee, just east of La Crosse. Sadly, they left the area in 1845.