Bike Bluff Country roads that cross the Root River Trail

In Southeast Minnesota, want to explore the bike friendly roads that meander around the Root River trail system while enjoying the local foods, history and ‘Driftless’ scenery along the way?

The towns of the Root River Trail will host a three day bike ride that does just that, the Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour. With a route that runs on quite county roads and byways that intertwine the popular trail system, the tour starts and ends in Whalan, MN., July 7 through the 10th. Beginning with a Thursday evening packet pickup party, full of music and fun, ride participants are guaranteed a bicycling adventure to remember. Limited to the first 150 cyclist who registered, here is an overview of this three day bike route and adventure you can register for, to ride with old and new friends.

One of the many spectacular scenes while touring though the Bluff Country.

One of the many spectacular scenes while touring though the Bluff Country.

Starting out Friday morning in Whalan, with a hearty Bluff Country breakfast the tour leaves on the root River Trail visits Lanesboro, then up to Fountain for some refreshments. Now up, out of the valley the tour circles through some of this areas contoured farmlands making a stop at an historic village, then on to Preston for lunch. After visiting the National Trout Center the tour heads south to Harmony, your overnight hosts. Here before the evening fun begins take an afternoon tour of the cool Niagara Caves and the Amish culture in and around town.

Here cyclists are enjoying the many delicious delicacies available near many of the Root River trail towns.

Here cyclists are enjoying the many delicious area delicacies available near the Root River trail towns.

Saturday morning, after breakfast the ride heads east, passing through Canton, on the Amish Buggy Byway. On this stretch of the tour riders will pass though farmlands still cultivated by horses and roadside signs, near farmsteads, offering honey and other Amish produce and merchandise. At the halfway point, for lunch the tour will enter Minnesota’s first Norwegian settlement where many Selfie opportunities await you. Then it’s back on the route riding through another scenic valley before arriving in Houston your host town for evening. After checking out the National Owl Center and bike art there, tour riders will take part in a dinner party and fun evening.

Here signs explain why Fountain is the Sinkhole Capitol and the benefits these holes have on rest of Bluff Country.

Here signs explain why Fountain is the Sinkhole Capitol of the World and the benefits these holes have.

Sunday, after enjoying Houston’s hospitality the meandering Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour route visits a town, of the past, named because a settler lost is money in a creek while bathing. Now the route turns west, up Vinegar Hill making its way back west, skirting the bluffs along the Root River and then coasting into Rushford for lunch and photo opportunities while there. Then, it’s one more climb (gradual) and your coasting back down to the Root River Trail, in Peterson. Here, explore the Norwegian Museum and enjoy some desert before returning back to Whalan on the trail.

Here at the National Owl Center, in Houston, MN see all the bicycle art exhibits.

Here at the National Owl Center, in Houston, MN see all the bicycle art exhibits.

This Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour, in Southeast Minnesota, is best suited for cyclists of intermediate ability and above. Mileage will range from 50 – 68 miles/day (century options are available upon request) on paved roads, with some riding on paved trails. The terrain in this area is rolling with some long, 8+ grade climbs. For more information and registration forms click here.

A bike fence along the Root River, at the edge of Lanesboro, MN

A bike fence along the Root River, at the edge of Lanesboro, MN

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