Tag Archives: Cannon Valley Trail

Recently the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that 19 new National Recreation Trail (NRT) systems were added, including the Cannon Valley Trail, Minnesota. This will add an additional 370 plus miles  to over a 1,000 trails in the NRT system throughout the U.S. 

Congratulations Cannon Valley Trail on your national distinction

Recently the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that they were adding 19 new National Recreation Trails (NRT), that included the Cannon Valley Trail, in Minnesota. This will add an additional 370 miles to over a 1,000 trails in the NRT system network throughout the U.S.

Confirmation of these trails, Secretary Zinke stated. “By designating these new national trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone. Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature. These trails in both urban and rural areas will boost tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country.”

The National Park Service also acknowledges the added trails

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, I hope everyone will take advantage of a nearby national trail to hike or bike.” said National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith. “The network of national recreation trails offers expansive opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors.” 

Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture have the authority to approve designations in response to an application from the trail’s managing agency or organization. The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Forest Service. This is done in conjunction with a number of other federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.

About the Cannon Valley Trail

The Cannon Valley Trail is a 19.7 mile long trail that runs through diverse and spectacular scenery on a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line. The trail connects the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota.

Paralleling the Cannon River, the Trail offers glimpses and panoramas of the valley. There is a gradually descends 115 feet in elevation from Cannon Falls to Red Wing.  Along the trail, pedal past overhanging cliffs and extensive wetland complexes for viewing. Throughout the year nature’s seasonal changes are vividly displayed along the trail.

The Trail is open year round for bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, similar wheeled recreational devices, hiking, walking and cross country skiing.  Trail users age 18 or older must have a valid Wheel Pass when using the trail from April 1st – November 1st.

Have Fun!

Here these cyclists are enjoying Minnesota's peak riding time on the Red Jacket Trail, near Mankato.

Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time Is Fall: Part Three

Autumn Is Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time: Southern Minnesota

With the summer season officially off the calendar, fall is a great time to extend your bike riding adventures here in Minnesota. As the trees change colors along the miles of paved and mountain bike trails, cyclists will find a kaleidoscope of colors along the way. With the abundant rainfall this year, colors are predicted to be spectacular. If the weather remains mostly sunny during the day and cool at night, conditions will favor a stunning ride while exploring Minnesota. So, it’s no surprise that Minnesota’s peak riding time is fall.

Each year the fall color peak normally arrives in the northern one-third of the state in mid-September to early October.  For the southern-third of Minnesota, colors peak early to mid-October. This year the peak cycle, statewide, is running a week or so later than normal due to ideal summer conditions – so enjoy!

To get a more accurate gauge to the change in colors in areas of Minnesota that you would like to visit, a color report is available online or through a weekly e-newsletter from Explore Minnesota Tourism each Thursday afternoon during the fall season.

This section is the final section, part three of a three part series about Minnesota’s peak riding times. Click here on Part Two for Central Minnesota and Part One for Northern Minnesota Trails and Fall Colors.

Enjoy Southern Minnesota’s Peak Riding Times 

Southeast Minnesota

Cannon Valley: This 19.7 mile trail between Cannon Falls and Red Wing is a popular Rail-to-Trails attraction here in Minnesota. It’s a beautiful, shady ride above the Cannon River with a picnic area in Welch, its midpoint. It is maintained by a trail association and there is a daily fee of $3. See more at Cannon Falls Tourism at the west trailhead and Red Wing Tourism at the east trailhead, near the Mississippi River.

Douglas: This is a 12.5 mile rolling trail ride through rolling farmland between Pine Island’s city park and the north outskirts of Rochester. For more information see Rochester Tourism.

Great River Ridge: This 13 mile paved trail connects the southeast Minnesota towns of Plainview, Elgin, and Eyota and is near Whitewater and Carley state parks. The first half follows a winding creek. Also, the five miles from Elgin to Plainview are slightly uphill and follow the highway. See more at: Plainview/Elgin/Milleville Tourism.

And Still More Trails

Shooting Star: This 22 mile trail follows the Shooting Star Scenic Byway from LeRoy to Austin. LeRoy is on the Upper Iowa River near the Iowa border and continues towards Austin, just south of I-90. Then, at the eastern half, the trail goes through Lake Louise State Park. After passing through Adams and Rose Creek, the trail rolls in to Austin’s bike-friendly atmosphere. See more at: Austin Tourism.

Winona’s Trails: The terrain around Winona is looped by spectacularly beautiful bicycle trails aimed at a variety of riders. Whether you are out for a scenic ride with the family on the 5 mile paved trail around the lake or the bike-friendly street routes in town, there are great backgrounds. The Mississippi River Trail leading in and out of Winona will have colors that can add excitement to your adventures and memories, and this is even true if you decide to sample the mountain bike trails here. For more, see: Winona Tourism.

South and Southwest Minnesota

Root River/Harmony-Preston Valley: Between Fountain and Houston, the 42 mile Root River Trail, in the lovely bluff country, is one of Minnesota’s pride and joys. Add the 18 mile Harmony-Preston trail, from Isinours Junction, just west of Lanesboro on the Root River State Trail, riders on this section will enjoy rolling terrain up to the farm town of Harmony. For more, see Root River Trail Towns Tourism.

Blazing Star: This paved trail currently runs from Albert Lea Lake, in Albert Lea, to Myre-Big Island State Park. The total trail distance is approximately 20 miles. Along the route you can enjoy the natural environment that includes wetlands, oak savanna, big woods, and prairie. Also, the park is a great birding spot, especially during fall migration. See more at: Albert Lea Tourism.

And Still More Trails

Red Jacket: This 19 mile trail system connects Mankato’s South Riverfront Drive to Rapidan. Then, it goes to the South Route Trail and to Minneopa State Park. Interested in connecting from the Red Jacket to the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail? It is about four miles on the Minnesota River Trail. For more, see: Mankato Tourism.

Sakatah Singing Hills: This low-profile, 39 mile trail between Faribault and Mankato has a mixture of scenery. It periodically plunges into cool woods, passing Sakatah Lake State Park (Sakatah is Ojibwe for “singing hills”. This is pronounced Sah-KAH-tah) and Elysian. Then, if you’re lucky, you will get to see flocks of pelicans that hang out on Lake Elysian. For more see: Faribault Tourism at the east trailhead and Mankato Tourism on the west side.

Staying safe:

Even on off-road trails, bicyclists need to wear helmets. It’s important! Why? You are much more likely to fall on your head by locking wheels with another bike or by stopping suddenly than you are to be hit by a vehicle.

Also, don’t forget to stop at stop signs on the trail, even if it’s just a driveway or gravel road.

Have Fun and check back this Thursday for part three of Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time!