Barn Bluff is a real Minnesota mountain. If you actually live among mountains--it's not. But if you actually live in the midwest, it's the closest thing we've got.
The bluff was preserved by the town of Red Wing in 1910 or so and is an official park. It overlooks the mighty Mississippi River from two directions at a particularily beautiful and islandy section. From the top you can see the entire city of Red Wing and the state of Wisconsin across the river. There is a trail head from town. It can be a strenuous walk and a few sections are steep. if that's your thing you can make it as steep as you want--there are several rock climbing routes as well with anchors already put in.
I think this is one of my must see tips for the entire state. Mark Twain climbed this bluff and so did Henry David Thoreau. The town honored the site for a reason. There used to be a stairway that led right into the heart of Red Wing. Each step was donated by a citizen of the community. Some of the steps remain but most were destroyed to put in a highway. If that grand staircase remained it would be a really unique legacy to the city. As is, the bluff is anyway. There are bald eagles living along the river and if you took binoculars you'd most likely see one.
walk streets being developed in The Richard J Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. Explore natural sand/clay and rock remnants of the Iron Hill Member of the Cretaceous Period Windrow Formation. Learn distinctions about dolostone, dolomite, and limestone as you collect local bluff specimen material. Collect and preserve wildflower specimens.
I came across this unique little sculpture the other day. It is located right across the street from the St. James Hotel. Not sure what prompted this tribute to the written word, but I like it a lot.