Rock Climbing in Minnesota: 3 Top Spots to Try
Mounds State Park the climbing options are endless.
100 routes and overlooks the Mississippi River Valley.
Minnesota may not have mountains, but we do have great rock climbing spots throughout the state. If you’re looking for a vertical adventure, try one of these three climbing hot spots:
- Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne: Blue Mounds not only offers one of the most beautiful prairie hikes in the state, but it’s also a prime destination for climbers. More than 1.5 miles of quartzite cliff line overlooks a seemingly endless prairie.
- Barn Bluff, Red Wing: Rising 350 feet, Barn Bluff overlooks the Mississippi River Valley and historic downtown Red Wing. The 43-acre park with limestone cliffs offers more than 100 climbing routes.
- Palisade Head & Shovel Point, Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay: One of the most challenging climbs in the state, Palisade Head is also one of the best overlooks on the North Shore. Only take on this climb if you’re an experienced climber or climbing with an experience guide. For a less challenging climb, try nearby Shovel Point, a popular climbing spot for guided groups.
Remember, rock climbing in Minnesota State Parks can be done only in designated areas and requires a special permit (in addition to the park entrance permit). Be sure to check in at the park office before heading out.
If you’re new to climbing, be sure to take lessons and pick up the proper gear. Courses are available through organizations including Apex Adventure Alliance, which offers two and four-day courses in Taylors Falls and Interstate State Park. Apex also offers weekday private or group day trips.
Minnesota State Parks offers hands on “I Can Climb!” courses for first time climbers during summer months. No experience is necessary and all gear and helmets are provided.
To pick up your own gear, local outdoor stores and outfitters like REI and Midwest Mountaineering can provide instruction in selecting the right equipment that will have you out on a ledge – literally – in no time!
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