Trails and Rock Climbing

Hiking at He Mni Can-Barn Bluff

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 landscape and rural countryside are visible with the backdrop of the beautiful Mississippi River.


All trails begin at the end of East Fifth Street. The following caution applies to all trails: Loose Rocks, Steep Slopes, Vertical Drops. Proceed at Your Own Risk. Children should be accompanied by an adult.


  • Access Trail (Easy)
    • Provides access to the Lime Kiln Trail and the Woodland Junction, the point where the Quarry, Midland, and South trails meet.
  • Carlson Lime Kiln Trail (Easy/Dead End)
    • The Lime Kiln Trail provides access to the G.A. Carlson Lime Kiln structure, which was constructed in 1882. 
      • Length of trail: .07 miles
      • Rock climbing on the Kiln Structure is strictly prohibited
      • Violators will be prosecuted
  • Prairie Trail (Easy)
    • This trail runs along the summit of the entire bluff and is accessed by hiking the South Trail, Central Trail, or Quarry/North 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 length from West Scenic Overlook to East Scenic Overlook: .55 miles
  • South Trail (Easy/Moderate)
    • This trail starts at the Woodland Junction and leads to the Prairie Trail. The trail runs along the southern edge of the bluff before rising to the summit on the Central Kiwanis Stairway, which runs along the eastern edge of the Linne Quarry. This trail is the easiest way to reach the summit of He Mni Can-Barn Bluff. 
      • Trail length: .60 miles
      • Length to West Scenic Overlook: .70 miles via Prairie Trail
      • Length to East Scenic Overlook: .85 miles via Central Trail
  • Midland Trail (Moderate)
    • This primitive trail runs parallel to the South Trail and offers an alternative route along the south base of He Mni Can-Barn Bluff.
      • Length of trail: .27 miles
  • Quarry Trail (Moderate)
    • The Quarry Trail provides access to the abandoned quarries, rock climbing areas, and the West Scenic Overlook via the North Trail. Please note that the North Trail is closed yearly from November to April; during this time the Quarry Trail has no outlet.
      • Length of trail: .53 miles.
  • Quarry Trail Shortcut (Moderate)
    • The Quarry Shortcut Trail provides an alternative route to the abandoned quarries/rock climbing area. The shorter, but steeper, route includes multiple stone stairs.
      • Length of trail: .03 miles
  • Central Trail (Moderate)
    • The Central Trail provides a connection between the South Trail/Central Kiwanis Stairway and the Prairie Trail.
      • Length of trail: .10 miles
  • North Trail (Difficult) – Closed November-April
    • The North Trail is a primitive, single-track trail that links the West Scenic Overlook to the Quarry Trail on the Mississippi River side of the bluff. For your safety, the trail is closed yearly between November and April. Due to steep slopes and the northern exposure, extreme caution should be used when hiking this trail. The North Trail is an advanced/difficult trail and is not recommended for small children, pets, or individuals with physical limitations. Hikers are encouraged to use the rope that has been installed along the trail.
      • Length of trail: .36 miles

Rock Climbing Information

For All Guests

Do not throw rocks. Climbers and hikers are at the bottom of the cliff and in the forest.

There are established rock climbs on the cliffs in this park. Please do not damage or remove any equipment that you find on the cliff. This equipment is used by climbers for safety while climbing, and damage can result in serious injury or death.

Climbing Anchors

Please top rope (TR) on your own equipment to limit the wear on fixed anchors. At He Mni Can-Barn Bluff, climbers are encouraged to use the fixed anchors to lower from the climbs; rappelling is not necessary.

Inspect all fixed equipment on the cliff for rust, excessive wear, damage, and other circumstances that may reduce the strength of the equipment. Report all suspect fixed equipment to the Minnesota Climbers Association. Replace worn carabiners with your own when possible.

Respect the Wildlife

Rocky crags and cracks are prime habitat for insects, bats, and snakes. While some may sting or bite if grabbed by mistake, they are a vital resources and should be left alone.

Keep Climbs Available

Do not leave climbing equipment unattended to reserve a climb. During periods of high use, please free up climbs and share the with other climbers. Please use a "clean climbing" philosophy. The placement of hardware is limited to that which can be temporarily place without altering the rock.


Climbers may use chalk. Brush any excess chalk from holds and remove any tick marks before leaving an area.

Safety: Please Heed Posts

Routes with closed signs are closed for a reason, usually due to unsafe conditions or sensitive natural resources. Please report any potential safety hazard to the City of Red Wing and the MCA. Use established trails when accessing climbs or the areas around the climb. Vegetation plays a vital role in preventing erosion and is part of the vertical ecosystem.

Trash and Graffiti

Keep the park clean and pack out trash. Inform the City of Red Wing and the MCA of any graffiti in the climbing area so that it can be removed.

Warning: Rock Climbing is a Dangerous Activity

Please seek competent instruction and develop good skills before climbing on your own. The City of Red Wing does not rate climbing locations or determine their safety. Individuals choosing to climb do so at their own risk. Climbers assume all risk of injury. Climb in designated areas only. Check park kiosks or online for current closures.

Information About The Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA)

The MCA is a nonprofit organization that maintains the climbing infrastructure here and at other MCA climbing locations. The MCA also advocated for climbing access by building relationships with land managers and supports the climbing community with events, stewardship opportunities, and education resources. The MCA is a volunteer organization support by donations. Get involved, find valuable Minnesota resources, and donate at

  • Safety: Please heed postings.
  • Rock climbing on the kiln structure is strictly prohibited.
  • Ethics promote safety and advancement of the sport.
  • Report any problems with the climbs to