Inspire(d) Magazine from Deborah Iowa put together a list of the top vista points in the Driftless Area in their most recent issue. In an article titled, “Peak Peaks: 6 Lookouts You Don’t Want to Miss,” one famous spot in Winona, and two others within 20 minutes of Winona’s downtown get nods.
Anyone who is familiar with Winona, knows of our most famous icon, Sugar Loaf. In the article, the writer puts this beloved hiking spot at the top of the list. They say, “Sugar Loaf bluff sits high above Winona, Minnesota, its rock spear acting as a beacon, as it has for many years. The well-known rock pinnacle was formed from limestone mining in the late 1800s, although the bluff itself has been a river landmark for centuries. It features an easy drive to an overlook that offers an expansive view of the river, surrounding bluffs, and the city of Winona. The Sugar Loaf area has also come to serve another purpose as well: rock climbing! Winona is quickly becoming known for their outdoor recreation efforts, including climbing instruction and groups.”
Under 15 minutes away from Winona, you can find the picturesque village of Trempealeau resting on the Mississippi in Wisconsin. Inspire(d) places the Mound Bluff Trempealeau Interpretive Path at number two on their list. They write, “Did you know that around 1,000 years ago, just above Trempealeau, Wisconsin on the mighty Mississippi River, there was an incredibly sophisticated settlement of native “Mississippians”? The Little Bluff Mounds Interpretive Trail showcases the history of the bluff-top settlement, where three temple mounds still stand. With one of the most spiritual views of the Mississippi River in our region, it is no wonder that Native Americans found this place special. Make your TRIP (Trempealeau Interpretive Path) a trifecta, by visiting the Shirley M Wright Library for more information about the Native culture, as well as Perrot State Park with more 500-foot bluff views! www.tremptrip.com.”
Travel westward for 20 miles, deeper into the Driftless from Winona and you’ll discover the small town of Rushford. There you’ll find Magelssen Park and its beautiful overlook of the area and a famous tree. “Tucked away on Highway 43 in Southern Minnesota is the beautiful small town of Rushford, at the convergence of Rush Creek and the Root River. Magelssen Park has three scenic overlooks, with an open panorama of the area for several miles. Drive or hike on beautiful trails to several picnic areas, and the Rushford Burr Oak tree –estimated to be nearly 200 years old and one of the largest in Minnesota! As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the region’s most tucked-away, yet accessible parks – perfect for a day of hiking, views, and a picnic – and close enough to town for an ice cream cone, lefse, or an iced coffee afterwards.”
Of course, the Driftless is packed with beautiful trails to stunning viewpoints. The Winona area features a multitude of such places. If you’re in Winona, you can find not only Sugarloaf, but the Holzinger Trails, Garvin Heights, and more right in the borders of our city. Check out our hiking and biking page here