The effortless beauty and natural features of our region have lent themselves to a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. Hike or bike up Granddad’s Bluff to catch a panoramic view of La Crosse.
Man and nature collaborate on an infrastructure that forms the ultimate authentic playground. The Outdoor Recreation Alliance website invites you to experience our world-class mecca for outdoor recreational opportunities and learn why God’s Country is Nature’s Place to Play. For more info, watch their video .
Exploring God’s country
Scale the mighty Granddad’s Bluff on a hike or bike for panoramic views of La Crosse via the Human Powered Trails and Hixon Trails. Routes geared specifically toward cyclists send you on leisurely rides along the rivers, scenic trips through the valleys and challenging treks through the hills. Popular systems include the La Crosse River State Trail and the Great River State Trail.
Extend your hike or bike through the weekend, or just take a few relaxing days off, by pitching a tent or R/V at an area campground. Goose Island Park south of La Crosse offers access to the Mississippi backwaters for a perfect canoeing spot, while Perrot Park overlooks the intersection of the Trempealeau and Mississippi Rivers. Additional campgrounds include Veterans Memorial Park, Pla-Mor Campground and Marina in Winona, Prairie Island Campground in Winona, and Yellow River Forest is located in Allamakee County in northeast Iowa.
On the water
With quick and easy access from many area communities, you can take in the Mississippi River for all its worth. The historic La Crosse Queen paddlewheeler bustles passengers onto its decks during the summer and fall from Riverside Park. From Lansing, IA, Mississippi Explorer Cruises navigate through the backwaters of the Mississippi River. Envious of the care-free boaters charting their own paths? Several area businesses offer watercraft rentals, from lavish houseboats to quaint pontoons. Try your hand at fishing in an area where the destinations seem endless – explore the area’s numerous rivers, lakes and trout streams.
For the athletically inclined, the region offers numerous quality golf courses, many situated across idyllic landscapes. For the “other” type of golfer, a variety of disc golf courses dot the area, on the Saint Mary’s University campus, on Lake Winona in Lake Park, on the Mississippi River in Pettibone Park and near Sparta at Justin Trails. If you love the excitement of spectator sports, the area is home to the La Crosse Loggers, a Northwoods League (NWL) summer collegiate team, the La Crosse Spartans, an Indoor Football League (IFL) team, and the newly formed Coulee Region Chill, a North American Hockey League (NAHL) team.
Children will enjoy the numerous pools and aquatic centers in the surrounding communities of Onalaska, Holmen and the Bob Welch Aquatic Center in Winona. Make sure to plan a family visit to theMyrick Hixon EcoPark, which includes a zoo, nature displays, trails and bird watching. The Children’s Museum in downtown La Crosse offers interactive exhibits that make an entire afternoon of educational fun possible.
When the Wisconsin winter blows in, our region’s natural features transform into avenues for a new set of activities. The hiking and biking trails, now snow-covered, provide excellent routes for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Mount La Crosse, a privately owned ski hill located in southern La Crosse County, offers some of the finest downhill skiing in the Midwest. The frozen waters of area lakes and rivers keep anglers active through the winter with ice fishing. Take the ice indoors and lace up your skates at Bud King Ice Arena in Winona or Green Island Ice Area in La Crosse.