Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona

4.5
Great River Bluffs State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, on the Mississippi River southeast of Winona. Originally known as O. L. Kipp State Park, it was renamed in the late 1990s to describe better its resources. The park preserves steep-sided bluffs rising 500ft above the river and the narrow valleys between them, which support rare and fragile plant communities. Two of the bluffs have received further protection under the Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas program, which are known as King's and Queen's Bluff Scientific and Natural Area.
The region lies on sedimentary rock layers deposited on the floor of a shallow sea 500 million years ago. The lower, older layer is sandstone overlain by more recent dolomite rock. Much later a deep channel was carved into this stone by the ancient Mississippi River, which 10,000 years ago was greatly swollen from the melting glaciers to the north. The softer sandstone was eroded more easily, undercutting the dolomite on both banks of the river. The dolomite fractured off along vertical joints, leaving sheer rock faces still visible today. Side streams flowing into the Mississippi cut gullies into the river banks, creating a series of bluffs capped with erosion-resistant dolomite. Located in the Driftless Region of southeast Minnesota, the area was missed by the most recent Wisconsonian glaciation, and therefore is a region of deep river valleys dissecting the upland plains.
Great River Bluffs State Park is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, Winona Edition.
Source
Create an itinerary including Great River Bluffs State Park
Save Saved
map
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Great River Bluffs State Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
82 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This was the last park that we visited in a long line of parks mid-November. We drove in and were struck by how remote (off main roads) this park was. We saw two deer, one one the drive in to the park...  more »
  • This park has many trails along the bluffs, through forested areas and across prairie-like grassland. Great views of the Mississippi. The park itself doesn’t have water features ( no lake, etc.), just...  more »
Google
  • After visiting every single state park in Minnesota, this one without a doubt was my favorite. Staff were very friendly, it's close to Winona and Lacrosse if you don't want to camp, but yet it feels isolated. The campground is far away from the highway, and it feels as if you are in your own world. The views from this park are incredible, and the hiking trails are well maintained.
  • Lots of good hiking and lots of different trails to explore. A bit busier on the weekends in the summer but you would be hard pressed to find anyone there in the colder months or on the weekdays. It's a gorgeous area surrounded by valleys and bluffs, and of course the Mississippi River!

Plan your trip to Winona

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Winona

View all >
4.9
Duration: 1​h 30​min
4.9
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.8
Duration: 2​h
4.8
Duration: 2​h 30​min

Hidden gems in Winona

4.8
Duration: 1​h 30​min
4.9
Duration: 1​h 30​min
5.0
Duration: 30​min
4.7
Duration: 1​h 30​min

Side trips from Winona

4.8
Duration: 2​h
4.8
Duration: 2​h
4.8
Duration: 2​h
5.0
Duration: 8​h

Nearby attractions in Winona

4.9
Duration: 3​h
4.8
Duration: 1​h 30​min
4.9
Duration: 2​h
4.8
Duration: 1​h 30​min

Nature in Winona

4.4
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.0
Duration: 2​h 30​min

Museums in Winona

4.2
Duration: 1​h 30​min