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Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona
(4.4/5 based on 55+ reviews on the web)
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 as King's and Queen's Bluff State Natural Area.GeologyThe 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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We walked over 4 miles of the trails going to three of the overlooks in the park. We saw bald eagles at two of the overlooks and thoroughly enjoyed the views overall. The trails are mostly easy with a...  more »
  • The King's Bluff trail takes you by restored prairie, through pine forest (with a soft bed of needs underfoot, through hardwood forest, on rocky hiking paths and then to a bluff top overlooking the Mi...  more »
  • The trails are lovely for hiking at all levels. Surprisingly more prairie-like than you would anticipate next to the river, but lovely none-the-less. There is nothing out there so make sure you bring ...  more »
Google
  • It's pretty at the end of the bluff, but there isn't much to the park. One main trail and a hand full of campsites is about what you'll get. It's a good place if you're nearby, but not worth the drive if you bypass other parks that have more to offer.
  • I stopped here on a trip, and I was glad I did! The north and south overlooks(which are awesome views) have short paths that lead to them take about 5 minutes to get to from the parking lot. There are also longer paths available if you wanted to spend more time here.
  • Good camping experience. Site 23 is not very flat, hard to use for a larger tent.
  • Very well maintained campsite. The wood they make you buy is subpar though. It's like 1x2 boards that burn in minutes. 1 or 2 logs would last longer. Views are nice, rattlesnakes are huge, watch out.
  • Good place to go camping or hiking. There's some gorgeous views of the Mississippi once you get into the park a bit. Campsites are far enough away from each other and are well maintained.