Wabasha County Highpoint Trip Report

Greenfield Hill and unnamed liner (1,240+ ft)

Date: November 6, 2004
Author: Mark Ness

Wabasha's two candidate high points are as far apart as any two in the state, more even than Carver's high points. One is surprisingly close to the Mississippi River, the other is a liner coming down from the county to the south.

Greenfield Hill

I got onto U.S. 61 from I-494. For much of the route, it closely follows the Mississippi River, a very scenic route, including the lengthy Lake Pepin. In Wabasha, I took Minnesota State Highway 60 southeast for 1.8 miles to an unmarked gravel road for 0.7 miles, which led to the Arrowhead Bluffs Museum, a building about 200 feet from the top of the hill, which was, at that time, still covered in ripe corn.

I parked in front of the museum, which was closed at the time. There was a building next to the museum, which could have been a residence. There was one pickup in front of it but there was no activity around. I found a spot on the edge of the corn field about 160 feet from where I estimated the summit to be. I started in crossing corn rows and soon came to a small valley that had washed away a few stalks in each row. I followed that up to the top area. Then, since I couldn't plainly see where the highest point was, I walked up and down each row in the area until I covered all potential high ground and returned to my truck. I didn't see anyone else except a woman walking along the road for exercise. The total time out of my truck was 19 minutes including the decision time of whether to ask permission or not.

Route Between Candidate Highpoints

I got back on S.H. 60, then back to U.S. 61 south. I stayed on 61 for 6.0 miles, then turned right onto S.H. 42, which I followed for 17.4 miles, where I turned right onto Wabasha County Road 25 for 0.6 miles, then south on C.R.2 to the Olmsted county line. I considered how best to approach the second candidate high point since it was on the county line. At this point I was 0.33 mile from the top. I considered asking at the farm nearest the line but didn't. I kept driving south on C.R. 2, then west on an unnumbered road, then north on S.H. 42, then west on a street in Elgin, then south again on C.R. 2. I noticed a gravel pit just before the county line, and parked there. Although not intended as a parking lot, I used it as one. There was one piece of construction equipment in the pit, but no activity.

I walked around the piles of gravel and railroad ties up a field road to the edge of the wooded area. At the edge of the woods, it was crowded with fallen trees, slow going through those, then followed by thorny plants, then became easier and steeper through the woods to a barbed wire fence. I stepped over that and continued on for about 10 feet, then turned west onto a field road that paralleled the wooded area. I stayed on that road for 3 minutes and turned left at an old piece of equipment on the county line.

This county line road is only there for a part of the mile between north-south roads on each side of it. It ends at the wooded area on the west and near some farms on the east end. For the middle part, though, it is well-maintained, maybe even mowed. I walked along the line for four minutes before coming to the top. It is an almost flat ridge that is slightly higher to the south in Olmsted County. To the north were wild weeds and to the south was at first harvested corn, then unharvested soybeans. From the top, one can look north and see the Elgin water tower, or west and see some nice farmland.

I followed pretty much the same route back. The total time out of my truck was 26 minutes.