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Great River Road Scenic Byway - Prairie Du Chien to Winona, Mn

onalaska wisconsin
Sunset on the Great Mississippi River, Onalaska, Wisconsin

Great River Road Scenic Byway - Links to Sections:

- Galena to Prairie Du Chien
- Prairie to LaCrosse to Winona
- Winona to Red Wing

Scenic Byways Directory

Traveling north of Prairie Du Chien on the Great River Road Scenic Drive, we elect to travel the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River Road: Wisconsin State Highway 35. Along this stretch of the Scenic Byway, the Iowa side is less direct and runs away from the river in many stretches.

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Prairie du Chien to La Crosse

River Bluffs, Mississippi River Road

One of the many bluffs that line the River Road between Prairie Du Chien and LaCrosse. > > >

Lansing, Iowa

A few miles south of the Wisconsin community of Desoto we take a side trip to cross the bridge into Lansing, Iowa to visit some of their antique shops, flea markets, and . . . a guilt shop! We arrived after 5 pm so the Yellow Bird Art Quilt Shop was closed for the day, but Jo plans to stop by the next time through.

River Bluffs, Mississippi River RoadWe then return to Wisconsin Hwy 35 and continue north towards La Crosse. A few miles before Genoa we found this neat scenic lookout and park where we dry camped overnight. The park had three short hiking trails to different scenic lookouts. This photo is from one of them, looking north towards Genoa. > > >

Genoa Locks

The Lock and Dam near Genoa has a viewing platform to watch ships and barges go through the locks. One time we were here when the Mississippi Queen went through the locks and were treated to a 15 minute calliope concert while she waited her turn to go through. The notes reverberated off the river bluffs making it an exceptional concert experience.

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La Crosse, WI

Grand Dads Bluff, La Crosse


Winter time view of La Crosse from Grandad's Bluff.


Originally settled in 1841, the village gained prominence as a steamboat port and lumbering center. Two years after incorporation as a city, the G. Heileman Brewing Company began operations in 1858. The Brewery continues to this day under the name City Brewery and operates tours year round.

Other attractions are steamboat cruises, the historic downtown walking tour, Riverside Park and River Walk, Grandad's Bluff, the annual LaCrosse Oktoberfest Festival, and for quilters - the biennial "Quiltfest of the Waterfront."

red triangleGo Here for more things to do and see in LaCrosse, Wisconsin

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Going North on the River Road, towards Winona and Wabasha

Lock and Dam #6
Once leaving La Crosse, Wisconsin Highway 35 moves away from the river until it arrives at the village of Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Our first stop was at the park and viewing platform of Lock and Dam #6. There's washrooms underneath the viewing platform and a separate parking area for boaters or overnight RV guests.

Trempealeau Hotel

Trempealeau River FrontThe Historic Trempealeau Hotel (left) dates back to 1871 and is a popular spot for dining, parties and festivals. It has a great view of the river from its deck and screened in porch (right).

Mt. Trempealeau

Mt. Trempealeau in Perrot State Park is just a few miles west of town. There are 95 campsites in Perrot, 35 of them with electric hookups. Washrooms and showers. 6 hiking/nature trails, from 1/2 mile to 2 1/2 miles in length.

Adjacent to Perrot is the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, with more hiking/nature trails and scenic overlooks.

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Leaving Trempealeau, Wisconsin 35 moves away from the river for a few miles. When it returns, travelers can take the bridge across the river to visit Winona, Minnesota.

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Winona MinnesotaWinona, MN

Founded in 1851, Winona soon became a hub of commerce linking railroads and river boat traffic to transport grain. Later Winona became a center for timber processing as northern Wisconsin forests were harvested to meet the growing demand for high quality lumber. The city is located on an isthmus between Lake Winona and the Mississippi River and is surrounded by high bluffs offering a panoramic view of the city and of the river.Mississippi Queen docked at Winona

We found the Mississippi Queen Mississippi River Boat in port at Winona. Jo encountered the "Queen" two months before this date about 800 miles south in Paducah, KY.

red triangleGo Here for more things to do and see in Winona, Minnesota

red triangleGo Here for the Milwaukee Road #261 Fall Color Train.

After visiting Winona, we recommend returning to Wisconsin and continue traveling north on the Wisconsin portion of the Great River Road (Hwy 35).

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red triangleGreat River Road: Winona to Red Wing . . .

More information on Wabasha and Red Wing, Minnesota and other points of interest along the Mississippi River/Great River Road between Winona and Red Wing.

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Directory of Scenic Drives & Byways

quiltbulletLake Superior Circle Tour, Part 1. & Circle Tour Part 2. -
invisible Minnesota, Wisconsin, Upper Peninsula, and Ontario

quiltbulletGreat River Road Scenic Byway, Part 1. - Fulton to Galena, Illinois to
invisible Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin

invsibleFulton, IL
invsibleGalena, IL
invsibleDubuque, IA
invsiblePrairie Du Chien, WI
invsibleMcGregor, IA

quiltbulletGreat River Road Scenic Drive, Part 2. - LaCrosse, Wisconsin to
invisible Winona, Minnesota
invsibleLa Crosse, WI
invsibleWinona, MN

invsibleFall Color Train

quiltbulletGreat River Road, Part 3. - Winona, Wabasha to Red Wing, Minnesota
invsibleWabasha, MN
invsibleRed Wing, MN

quiltbulletOzarks Mountains Scenic Drives - Ozarks National Forest Scenic Drives
invisible and Scenic Highway 7
invsibleArkansas Ozarks Scenic 7 Byway
invsibleMountain View, Arkansas
invsibleHot Springs, AR and Hot Springs National Park
invsibleBuffalo National River and Buffalo River National Park

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Great River Road Map
Map of Great River Road
Prairie Du Chien, WI
to Wabasha, MN

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