Catch the Best Views
Grandad Bluff has become not only a destination point for thousands but also a symbol of the beautiful Coulee Region. The 600-ft high bluff overlooks the city of La Crosse. The view of the Mississippi River Valley includes the three states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Wisconsin Trails readers voted this “the most scenic view in the state”. The park features a shelter house, coin-operated binoculars, picnic areas and is the site of the annual Skyrocker`s New Year`s Eve Fireworks Show.
This monumental landmark park in La Crosse, Riverside Park, is the center of an active community located on the banks of the Mississippi River. It rests at the confluence of three rivers and Riverside Park is designed for both active lifestyles and for those that want to just watch the river slowly pass by. Home of the delightful La Crosse Queen paddlewheel boat, visitors can take to the water and a Friday evening Pizza Cruise or a daily sight-seeing cruise on the La Crosse Queen.
At the north end of the park, guests can also enjoy strolling through the captivating Riverside International Friendship Gardens.
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe will forever be a spiritual destination for visitors from all over the world. The Shrine is nestled in on over 100 acres of God’s Country in the Mississippi River Valley. In addition to the many beautiful chapels, statues, gardens, and devotional areas, the Shrine has a full-service café and gift shop open daily.
Great River Landing & Sunny the Sunfish
The Great River Landing in Onalaska, WI plays host to the trailhead of the Great River State Trail with showers and locker rooms for bicyclists enjoying the 101 miles of interconnecting state trails. During the winter months, users can enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing. The landing also offers beautiful views of the surrounding area including Lake Onalaska.
A quick drive north of downtown Onalaska along the Great River Road (Hwy 35) takes you to the Sunny the Sunfish sculpture and a scenic overlook perched above Lake Onalaska. Take a quick picture with Sunny and then soak in the multifaceted hues over Lake Onalaska.
Apple Blossom Scenic Drive
At Apple Blossom Scenic Drive in early to Mid-May is the peak season to experience the natural beauty of rolling hills covered in blossoming apple trees. Get excited for spring! Plan to bike or drive the 17-mile route before the season ends! Ride along the bluff-top roads that overlook the Mississippi River and La Crosse, and descend into the Pine Creek Valley for your return trip back to La Crescent, Minnesota.
Wisconsin State Bike Trails & Hixon Forest Trails
Four rail-bed trails spanning nearly 101 miles from Reedsburg, WI, to Marshland, WI, offer some of the best hiking and biking in the region. The trails take you through marshes and valleys, along the rivers, and offer access to several communities, parks, and recreation areas, including Perrot State Park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, and the La Crosse River Prairies State Natural Area. Snowmobiles occupy the trails in the winter but they are also open to those looking to cross country ski, snowshoe, or hike. All WI State Bike Trails.
Hixon Forest offers nearly ten miles of hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the wooded bluffs on the east side of La Crosse. Each trail within the park is dog friendly, offers different views of the La Crosse Region, and features various levels of difficulty. The epic trails can be accessed via parking lots, Myrick Park, or Riverside Park in Historic Downtown La Crosse. With access to Grandad Bluff, beautiful views across the Driftless Region and over the Mississippi River Valley and 4 designated overlooks. Ready to explore? Find a Hixon Forest Map here.
Great River Road
Up for a road trip? Enjoy beautiful scenery, access to excellent hiking, fishing, scenic overlooks, and of course the picturesque Mississippi River along the Wisconsin Great River Road. U.S. Highway 35 covers 250 miles in the state of Wisconsin, from Prescott in the north to Kieler in the south.
Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge have a Visitor Center on Brice Prairie with many displays and exhibits, a bookstore, and over two miles of trail through a renovated sand prairie. The refuge is 261 miles long, the longest in the nation, and one of the most visited. The Refuge has 96 miles of marked canoe trails. Including the Lake Onalaska Canoe Trail starting at Lytle’s Landing on Brice Praire and traveling through the backwaters to Lake Onalaska.
7 Bridges Road & the Van Loon State Wildlife Area
The historic McGilvray “7 Bridges” Road trail is located in the Van Loon State Wildlife Area in Northwest La Crosse County. The trail is 1.8 miles long, one way. It was formerly a County Road which contains a unique combination of five rare bowstring arch truss bridges and one low truss bridge that was adopted from Pierce County. The Van Loon Wildlife area is a globally significant floodplain forest that is notable for its wide variety of wildlife. It is listed under Wisconsin Important Bird Areas and is a great trail to snowshoe or cross country ski.