Students cross-country skiing, smiling.

Outdoor Recreation

It’s easy to see why this land of rugged bluffs, quiet valleys, and a rushing trout stream is known as “God’s Country.” Explore today.

Do More Outdoors

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota nestles up into the scenic Mississippi River bluffs just outside of Winona, an area overflowing with outdoor recreation opportunities: hiking, running, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, biking, golfing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. 

Saint Mary's 400+ acre campus provides many outdoors opportunities to our students as well as to the public, including almost 10 miles of trails. We encourage you to take advantage of the recreational activities below.

Take the Challenge

The Challenge Ropes Course—located on the Winona Campus of Saint Mary's—provides a unique and fun environment for experiential and adventure-based education. Diverse populations can participate in activities designed to build self-confidence and teamwork, as well as develop an understanding of the complexities of human nature through the use of a wide variety of elements and initiatives.

The course includes low challenge elements that are two to three feet above the ground and high challenge elements that are 25 to 40 feet above the ground. The low elements course includes a variety of elements, games, and initiatives. The high elements course has nine elements, including a zip line. The tower includes a climbing wall with multiple routes for varying skill levels.

School groups, youth organizations, community groups or clubs, nonprofit organizations, and staff from businesses are invited to use the course. The course can accommodate a group with as few as six participants or as high as 50. (Groups with more than 32 members should call 507-457-1638 or email for pricing.)

Visit the Challenge Ropes Course website for more information.

Competitive Fun

Saint Mary's is pleased to present 18 holes of disc golf through the bluffs surrounding the campus. With narrow fairways and intricate hole placements, the course is challenging for both beginners and experienced disc golfers. The public is invited to use the course any time it is open, seasonally from dawn to dusk, except for during pre-scheduled disc golf events.

Four Seasons of Fun

To the south and east of the beautiful Winona Campus, you’ll find a network of trails that run along the bluffs and into wooded valleys.

In the spring and summer, the trails beckon hikers and explorers. In the fall, students return and the pace of campus quickens, with joggers and the Cardinal cross country team running on one of the most beautiful (and challenging) courses in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. When the snow comes, skiers appear on the white pathways for fun and competition.

For those who love the outdoors, the Saint Mary’s trail system has something for every season. Come and explore them with us.

Check out the Visit Winona website for more information about recreational opportunities offered in Winona.