This is a hike you’ll want to take at a slow pace due to its steady climb. Even with the elevation gain and several sets of steps, this hike is worth the effort needed to reach the top of the 340-foot bluff. The cliff showcases a spectacular view of the Mississippi River on one side and Red Wing on the other. It’s a pretty trail through a scattering of trees on the south side and, on the north side, a more thickly wooded, rocky trail wedged between the Mississippi and the towering bluff. The main highlight of these trails is to experience the view from the top, where miles of Wisconsin’s and Minnesota’s urban and rural countryside are visible with the backdrop of the beautiful Mississippi River.
North Trail (Difficult) - This trail starts at the Main Park Access and ends at the West Scenic Overlook. The trail overlooks the Mississippi River and takes you through abandoned limestone quarries. At the very end of the trail you will climb up the remaining steps of the original Kiwanis Stairway. Due to steep slopes and the northern exposure along this trail: Caution should be taken when hiking this trail, especially on wet days and early in the spring. Trail Lengths as follows:
to West Scenic Overlook - .89 miles
to East Scenic Overlook (via Prairie Trail) - 1.44 miles
to South Trail/Kiwanis New Stairway - 1.09 miles
to Main Park Access via South Trail (roundtrip) - 1.57 miles
to West Scenic Overlook, East Scenic Overlook, and Main Park Access via South Trail (roundtrip) - 2.27 miles
Prairie Trail (Moderate) - This trail runs along the summit of the entire bluff and must be accessed by first hiking the North Trail or South Trail. On both ends of this trail there are scenic overlooks which offer magnificent views of the area. Due to vertical cliffs: Caution should be taken at both scenic overlooks, especially the East Scenic Overlook. Trail Lengths as follows:
from West Scenic Overlook to East Scenic Overlook - .55 miles
Midland Trail (Moderate) – This primitive trail runs parallel to the South Trail and offers an alternative route along the south base of Barn Bluff.
South Trail (Easy/Moderate) - – This trail starts at the Main Park Access and leads to the Prairie Trail. The trail runs along the southern edge of the bluff before rising to the summit on the new Kiwanis stairway, which runs along the eastern edge of the Linne Quarry. This trail is the easiest way to reach the summit of Barn Bluff. Trail Lengths as follows:
to Linne Quarry/Kiwanis New Stairway - .43 miles
to East Scenic Overlook - .83 miles
to West Scenic Overlook and Main Park Access via North Trail (roundtrip) - 1.57 miles
to East Scenic Overlook, West Scenic Overlook, and Main Park Access via North Trail (roundtrip) - 2.27 miles
Carlson Lime Kiln Trail (Dead End) - .30 miles round trip. Rock climbing on the Kiln Structure is strictly prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted.