Mississippi River at Dayton

All-American Favorites

Mississippi River Headwaters

Carol – MnDOT

This is where the Mississippi River begins its journey through the beautiful landscapes of Minnesota, before it flows past nine other states into the Gulf of Mexico. In summer, adults become kids again as they tiptoe across the wet stones. Then in the quiet of winter, the power of place is enhanced as the endless flow goes under Minnesota ice.

He Mni Can-Barn Bluff

Lisa – MN-MRPC Commissioner

Red Wing’s He Mni Can-Barn Bluff offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. The 2.9-mile hike peaks on top of a limestone bluff with panoramic views of the river and historic downtown. The South Trail starts at the Main Park Access and leads to the Prairie Trail which runs along the southern edge of the bluff before reaching the stairway, which runs along the eastern edge of the Linne Quarry, this is the easiest way to reach the summit of Barn Bluff.

Mississippi River at Dayton

John – MN Mississippi River Parkway Commission

The Mississippi River in the Dayton, Minnesota area is one of the last natural stretches of the river, calling for quiet reflection.

Munsinger Clemens Gardens

Chris – MN Mississippi River Parkway Commission

This is a great spot to visit over and over again. There’s always something new to see as the gardens and river change with the seasons!

Sauk Rapids Rapids Southside Park Music Venue

Sarah –

This new music venue is just gorgeous. It overlooks the river and visitors get to enjoy views of the river while taking in live outdoor music. Nothing better!

Garvin Heights Overlook

Jennifer – MN-MRPC Bluffs Regional Commissioner/Winona County Historical Society (photo courtesy of Mary Farrell)

Garvin Heights lookout in Winona, just off of HWY 61, is an amazing spot to stop and get a bird’s eye view of this stretch of the mighty Mississippi River. It is a must-stop for visitors, folks passing by and locals. One can see for miles and truly appreciate the beauty, power and expansive unique ecosystem the river creates. 

Mississippi River Fishing

Jennifer – MN-MRPC Bluffs Regional Commissioner/Winona County Historical Society

The river itself is my very favorite stop along the Great River Road! We love to fish and we are often on the Great River Road finding boat landings to enjoy the river. From fishing to exploring the backwaters, the Upper Mississippi River is a haven for us in all seasons. 

St. Anthony Falls

John – MN-MRPC Metro Regional Commissioner

Visiting the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock immerses you in the vibrant activity at one of the Great River’s most visited and historic places. Walking to the lock’s outer wall, you will get close enough to hear and feel the power of the river’s only major waterfall and understand how Minneapolis came to lead the nation and at times the world in flour production for half a century. And, a National Park Service ranger will be happy to tell all about it.

Share your favorite All-American place, memory, moment, or story along the Minnesota Great River Road and Mississippi River

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