Day trip to Red Wing on 4/21/2014

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.

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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.



Took this from the car, not even sure where exactly, but it was in Red Wing.


Barn Bluff.


Barn Bluff Trailhead.


Some interesting information about Barn Bluff.

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.



My parents starting up the trail, the bluff visible in the upper left.


This tunnel was near the trail. Not sure what its original purpose was, but there was cold air pouring out of it.


Inside the tunnel, people must come and party in here.

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.


Cliff, rock climbers preparing at the bottom.


Looking up at same cliff, bush overhanging.


Me and my father standing on a boulder by the edge of the trail.


My father standing in front of a fallen rock from the cliff.

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.

The inside of an old snail shell.

The inside of an old snail shell.

I didn’t see any live snails, but we have seen them in other rocky places like this.


Looking up at a more textured area of the cliff.


View of the Mississippi River, some islands, and further-off bluffs.


More views of the surrounding area.

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.



Looks like a tree farm, the pine trees stood out as a large area of green against the rest of the landscape.


A very small plant growing in a crack of a rock that my dad pointed out.


Strange looking moss, context for the next picture.


This actually came out a bit blurry, but some sharpening in the editor brought out the detail of the moss leaves nicely.

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.


A tree, not sure what kind, budding.

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.


Red Wing from the side of Barn Bluff.





The slope of Barn Bluff that we are on, you can just barely see the trail we are on too.



Looking out to the left of Barn Bluff and Red Wing.



One of my favorite pictures from this trip, I really like the building and the valley beyond it.

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.

Barn Bluff and part of Red Wing.

Barn Bluff and part of Red Wing.


Factory that we saw near the Barn Bluff Trailhead is visible in this picture.


Far-right view from the scenic overlook.


This image looks best when clicked on to pull it up larger as it is an awkward size. I put it together with panoramic software from the three images above it.


Picture of Red Wing from the other scenic overlook.

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Zoomed-in picture of Red Wing.


This shows part of Red Wing and the landscape into Wisconsin. Another one of my favorite pictures from this trip.

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!

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