Tag Archives: Cannon Valley Trail

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

Fall colors are still prime in southern Minnesota this weekend

As the Fall colors continue to lose their brilliance or drop, throughout the northern half of the state, many southern sections of Minnesota are just peaking or still in their prime. To find a perfect fall colored adventure this weekend check the Minnesota Fall Color Website, brought to you by Explore Minnesota and Minnesota State Parks and Trails.

Trail options with fall colors in their Prime

From the site, it looks like southern and parts of western Minnesota are still offering a kaleidoscope of prime fall colors for your bike touring pleasure this weekend.  Here are a few areas to check out.

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 northern 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 Southern Minnesota Trails

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

Winona’s Trails: The terrain around Winona is looped by spectacularly beautiful bicycle trails and routes 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 trails

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. Then add the 18-mile, Preston to Harmony trail section and you will find more spectacular colors on this rolling terrain. For more, see Root River Trail Towns Tourism.

Blazing Star: This paved trail currently runs from the lake with the same names as Albert Lea to Myre-Big Island State Park. The total trail distance of paved 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 one Western Minnesota trail option

Luce Line State Trail is a 63-mile long rails-to-trail route that starts in the Plymouth and stretches out west 30-miles west, on a limestone surface trail, to Winsted. From Winsted to Hutchinson the trail is paved, See more at Hutchinson Tourism.

Ride safe and enjoy the colors!

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!