Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona
Categories: Geologic Formations, State Parks, Nature & Parks
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.Put Great River Bluffs State Park on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Winona trip builder.
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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... read 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 ... read more »
The Kings bluff hike is mostly flat, but such great views of the Mississippi River at the end of the trail. There are other trails through the woods and some by the campgrounds. Very unbusy park.
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.
Peaceful and calm place. You need to pay parking fee here. Great view and close to nature. Bathrooms were dirty.
Jordan La Croix
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.
Kim D. Hammer
A great place for an easy hike; awesome views of the Mississippi River! Watch for rattlesnakes :)
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