Climbing in Winona

With half of the city rimmed by towering bluffs, Winona is irresistible to climbers year round.

Rock-climbing enthusiasts love scaling Sugar Loaf bluff, a city landmark that rises 500 feet above the Mississippi River Valley to provide an unmatched view for any willing to mount the summit. Several trails provide access to the rock, with the most accessible being on the southwest side of the bluff. Parking is along the roadway on Glen Echo Road, with the trail easily identifiable from there. The Winona State University Outdoor Recreation Department offers guided climbs during the summer.

Ice climbers are pouring into town to have a go at our latest addition: a man-made ice flow that cascades at least 200 feet down the face of the bluffs. Climbers can access the ice climbing wall by parking at Bluffside Park near Holzinger Lodge and hiking to the base of the wall.

Both attractions are free and accessible independently for climbers who have their own gear and agree to climb at their own risk. Big River Climbing Guides, located in Winona, also has equipment and instruction available.

In addition, the Winona State University Outdoor Recreation Department has an indoor climbing facility that is open to the public.

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