After spending time at Carlos Avery on 4/20, my parents still had the day after Easter taken off, and we decided to go visit Red Wing. Red Wing is a city in Southeastern Minnesota, in the geological Driftless Area. Most of Minnesota is relatively flat due to glacial drift (except for around the North Shore) but the Driftless Area was not ground down by glaciers, so there are bluffs and river valleys. In particular, a popular hike in Red Wing is Barn Bluff. We had not done it yet, so that was one of the goals. This will be a pretty picture-heavy post, the bluffs had some great views.
Both of those pictures were taken on the way to Red Wing. Had some watermark issues with them, but I am now putting the date that the photo was taken and the website in a watermark on the side.
Barn Bluff is popular with rock climbers as well, as there are some tall cliffs. There are a few trails you can take to the top, and I believe we took the North Trail.
Since we are starting to get higher, there are some better views of the surrounding terrain.
We have also reached the cliffs that people rock climb on.
The stones up here were interesting, having small clusters of crystals in them. We spent awhile just exploring around the boulders on this part of the trail and looking at stones, which is where my mom found some old snail shells.
I didn’t see any live snails, but we have seen them in other rocky places like this.
The island in the pictures above had what look like mobile homes or some kind of cabins on it, probably rentable. One of the other islands had a tent on it, probably kayak or canoe camping. That sounds like a fun way to camp and explore; pack things into your kayak, find an island or beach, and just set up.
Soon, we discovered that the trail was closed and washed out. This means we couldn’t reach the summit. We could take a different trail, but didn’t have enough time. No big deal though, the trail was great up to that point. We noticed a bluff on the other side of town that had a car on top of it, and made a mental note to figure out how to drive up there. It seemed that would offer some great views.
On our way back down, we found another trail that skirted along the bluff and faced the town. We couldn’t go on it for very long, and we weren’t sure that it was an official trail, but a few steps up it gave a fantastic view of Red Wing. I would love to get a timelapse from this spot sometime.
After this diversion, we headed back and off of Barn Bluff. We wanted to see the view from the other bluff, and looking on my phones map, we determined it was Memorial Park. There was a long winding drive uphill and on the top of the bluff, there were unique picnic tables carved out of stone, a frisbee golf course, and scenic overlooks. It seemed to actually be a somewhat large park, advertising mountain biking trails too. The view at the top is great though. When you reach the picnic tables and walk over to the edge, there is a panoramic view of Red Wing, the Mississippi River and its islands, and the bluffs and valleys over into Wisconsin.
These are all the pictures I have from the day. Red Wing makes for a great day trip, especially if you live around the Twin Cities, for its scenic views and hiking. There are also some nice shops along Main Street including the historic St. James Hotel if you are going to be sticking around for a bit longer. Thanks for reading!