Photo by:  Holly Mandarich

Exploring the Hiking Trails in Pepin County

Lacing up your hiking boots, and heading out on a trail to explore nature and the outdoors, truly is one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of a region. Whether you head out with family and friends or opt for a peaceful solo hike, you can travel at your own pace and take in firsthand everything the landscape has to offer. Pepin County is a great region to hike with a variety of landscapes and trail types if you know where to look for trails. We picked out a variety of trails ranging in difficulty and terrain to get you started on your next adventure.

Maiden Rock Bluff
Beautiful scenic views of the Mississippi River, Lake Pepin, and Pepin County are what you’ll find at the top of the one and a half-mile trail to Maiden Rock Bluff, but don’t write off this hike as easy based on the length of the trail. The trail takes you up 400-feet to the top of the bluff over hilly terrain and steep inclines, so be sure you are prepared. At the top, views of blue skies and the lush river valley are beautiful on a sunny summer day or during the fall.

Nine Mile Island State Natural Area
Located on an island in the Chippewa River, the hiking trails at Nine Mile Island are great if you’re willing to paddle a little to get there. The island is accessible only by canoe but is worth the extra effort for adventurous hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. There is only one maintained trail, the Chippewa River Trail, but there are several beaten paths that lead to beautiful secluded beaches on the Chippewa River and Nine Mile Slough. Hikers can explore the typically unoccupied island at their leisure for a peaceful hiking experience. Being an extensive floodplain forest, be sure to bring bug repellent, wear waterproof shoes, and keep an eye out for unique flora and fauna.

Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area
An off-the-beaten-path hiking experience that takes you through a portion of the most extensive river delta in the Midwest. The Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area is a popular area for all types of outdoor recreation. The State Natural Area does not have many designated hiking trails or amenities, but it is rewarding if you enjoy a more adventurous hike with many opportunities for viewing wildlife. You may have to hike through long grass or avoid the occasional natural obstacle, so come prepared with the right gear and supplies for a hard to beat day of hiking.

Five-Mile Bluff Prairie State Natural Area
This State Natural Area is found on top of 300-foot high river bluffs overlooking the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers. Five-Mile Bluff Prairie maintains one hiking trail to the top of the bluff, but it can be a real challenge. The rapid incline and uphill trek can make the hike seem longer than it is, but hikers are awarded scenic views of the river valleys and surrounding areas. The area is quiet and undisturbed, and the top of the bluff is open for hikers to spend as much time as they’d like exploring.