Outdoor Life

There’s nothing quite like fresh air, beautiful views and setting off on an outdoor adventure in Winona.

As a WSU student, you’ve got easy access to recreation resources and you’re super close to beautiful parks that are calling your name.

So get outside and enjoy the natural beauty —no matter if you how much of a thrill seeker you are!

7 Most Beautiful Spot in Winona


Welcome, Daredevils & Dedicated Outdoors-folk

For the adrenaline junkie who’s in the mood to get their heart pumping, Winona has it all with rock climbing, mountain biking and backpacking throughout the bluffs.

When winter comes, you can still get that natural high with ice-climbing at Sugar Loaf Bluff-- one of Winona’s famous landmarks.

If you are at more at home in a tent than an actual house, the Wabasha Outdoor Education & Recreation Center is your perfect match.

The OERC team is all about getting people outside through group trips and helping them learn outdoor skills through:

  • Day trips to nearby trails and state parks
  • Weekend trips and longer adventures full of camping, climbing, mountain biking and amazing scenery
  • Workshops on topics like rock climbing, geocaching, camp cooking and even professional certifications

Follow the OERC Facebook page for latest updates!

Looking to create your own adventure? You can rent a variety of equipment-- from camping gear to kayaks to mountain bikes-- at the Prairie Island Rental Center.


Bring on the Adventure

If heights aren’t your thing and you prefer to go at your own pace, there are tons of cool activities to do both on dry land and in the water.

Head out on a nature hike at nearby city parks, such as the popular Garvin Heights—which has a great panoramic view of the lakes, Mississippi River and WSU campus that truly never gets old. Winona has miles and miles of hiking and biking trails for you to explore.

If you’re up for a short road trip, make sure to visit the following state parks:

  • Whitewater—10 miles of trails and six scenic views provide you a variety of options for finding the perfect contemplation spot in nature
  • Great Rivers Bluff—Endless amazing views of the King’s and Queen’s Bluffs sure would make a killer background to an Insta post
  • John A. Latsch —Half-mile trail up Mount Charity with nearly 600 steps will have you singing “Stairway to Heaven” all the way to the top

Or rent from a variety of seasonal equipment and watercraft at the Winona Lake Lodge Recreation Center. For a $20 annual membership, you can jump in a canoe or kayak and balance on a paddle-board during the warmer months.

The 5 miles of paved trails at Lake Park are also perfect for biking, running and walking—and it’s just a few blocks from campus.

And once our infamous Minnesota winter arrives, there’s no need to hibernate until spring (though it is tempting to stay inside). You can rent ice skates, snowshoes and cross-country skis at Lake Lodge to wander through the winter wonderland.


Must Love Nature, No Bugs

For some Warriors, enjoying nature is more relaxing than it is adventurous. It’s sunshine, flowers and trees and not so much bugs and dirt. Don’t worry—we didn’t forget about you!

There are nearly a dozen parks in Winona—everywhere from along the river to up in the bluffs to little neighborhood parks throughout the city. Not to mention that WSU campus is practically a park itself!

Go ahead and lounge in a hammock. Settle in beneath a shady tree to read a book. Toss a football around with friends or play a round of disc golf at Lake Park. Pack a picnic and take in the scenic views at Garvin Heights.

Being outside doesn’t even mean you have to disconnect from your devices. You have access to free WSU wifi on campus and at Lake Park as well as at city parks like Levee Park.

This means you can lay out in the sun and catch up on Spotify playlist recommendations... or your homework, of course!