The COVID-19 pandemic has made all of us feel cooped up inside. And when you’re inside most of the day, everyday, there are only so many video games to play and movies to binge.

Plus, sitting on the couch and staring at screens for most of the day, can also take a toll on your physical health. Hiking is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy spectacular views, and cure your boredom as well.

Here are the top 6 hiking trails around Winona according to Outdoor Education and Recreation staff and expert hikers Erin Barnard and Mike Henderson.

John Latsch State Park

The John Latsch State Park has a trail that winds up Mount Charity. This trail is a half-mile long, comprised of 660 stairs.

Hikers get an overview of the Mississippi River Valley when they reach the top. This park is free and about a 20min drive from Winona.

Perrot State Park

Perrot State Park has nearly 13 miles of hiking trails, located in Wisconsin just a 25min drive away.

One of these trails is the Brady’s Bluff Trail that runs almost 2.5 miles in a large loop. This trail may be difficult for some, as it is steep and narrow, along with having a few sets of steps.

But if you are up to the challenge, you’ll have a great view of Trempealeau Mountain and Bay. There is also a shelter at the top of the bluff perfect for picnics.

Sugarloaf Bluff

Sugarloaf Bluff may be an old favorite, but it’s a classic for a reason since the top of the trail offers amazing views of the city, Mississippi River and surrounding bluffs.

The Sugarloaf Bluff trail is currently the only trail built by the city of Winona. This trail takes some moderate hiking efforts as it is about 1 mile one way and reaches 85 feet high at the highest peak.

Hikers can often watch rock climbers while walking. In the winter, there is also a trail that leads to the Winona Ice Park.

Merrick State Park

Merrick State Park has 2 miles of hiking trails that are perfect for beginner hikers, as they are mostly flat.

There are trails that wind along the river, offering lots of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Merrick State Park is near Fountain City, WI and a easy 20 minute drive from Winona.

Great River State Trail

The Great River State Trail has a gravel hiking and biking trail built into an old railroad bed that takes you through prairies and along Mississippi backwaters. You can get on this 24 mile long trail at the Trempealeau Wildlife Refuge, Perrot State Park and a few other locations.

It is also part of the Mississippi River Trail, which is a 3,000 mile biking trail that travels through 10 states. Now that’s a summer road-trip for the hardcore outdoors enthusiast!

Bluffside Park

Bluffside Park has trails of varying difficulty, which make the park perfect for all hikers. The park has about 9 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.

On the trails, you’ll see unique geology like sandstone walls and great views of the Winona valley.

Hiking is the perfect pandemic-safe activity where you can take in the unique beauty of the Winona area.

Now, go take a hike while the weather is good!

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Brooklynn Howell

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