The "Gorge of the Midwest" Lake Pepin is one of our state's finest. When the winds line up with the river and flow in the opposite direction, Lake Pepin lives up to it's nickname. The venturi effect of the bluffs magnify the wind and the size of the swell increases with the flow of the current. The 1 3/4 hour drive from Minneapolis is beautiful and well worth it if the winds cooperate. Best directions are SE, SSE and E. If the wind could shift south don't risk it because south winds are extremely gusty and full of downdrafts from the bluffs. West and Northwest winds can be sailed from the town of Pepin on the Wisconsin side. Because of the venturi effect slalom sails are usually a meter smaller than in the cities if the direction is right. Pepin is sailable before most of the lakes thaw, but look out for floating debris in early spring.

Kiting: Most launches are pretty difficult. Any problems and you could end up way down river. Fly with caution.


  • Roadside Park: Coming from the north the first sight of the lake is near a road side park. This launch works better if the wind has more of a southerly component. The facilities are brand new and the park is well maintained.
  • The point in Lake City: Pepin at its best. At the end of the point that juts out from the marina is a small parking lot 15 feet above the water. On the outside the swells can be awesome, on the inside the glassy water on the leaward side of the point make for smooth drawnout jibes. There are no facilities on the point but the town is only a few blocks away. Upwind of the point and the marina the swells grow another notch and make for big airtime. Works with S, E and NW winds
  • The Marina in the Town of Pepin, WI. Cross the river at Red Wing and work your way down the east side of the lake. There is a nice rigging area and launch. Works with W and NW winds.
How to Get There
Lake City-Take 52 south of the cities to 61. Take 61 east through the Red Wing to Lake City. If going to the east side cross the river at Red Wing and at the first main intersection head south.
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