Many enjoy the scenery along the Root River Bike Trail. Here is your chance to explore more of the Bluff Country’s wonders on the weekend bike ride this summer. Scheduled over July 7, 8 & 9th, the Bluff & Valley Bike Tour participants will discover many of the “driftless areas” mysteries.
This three-day weekend bike ride allows you to pedal your way up through weathered ravines, on roadways that take you to the top of limestone bluffs. Here you will have a chance to visit a general store from the 1800’s, still in operation. Then take a ride on the Amish Buggy Byway. These are just a few of the highlights of Bluff Country as you dip in and out of the picturesque Root River Valley. You can visit the eight Root River Trail Towns on the way.
The ride covers between 50 to 65 miles each day, (with short-cut options). Beginning in Peterson, the ride features overnight camping or lodging stops in Rushford and Preston. A repeat from the 2016 inaugural tour, the ride offers a whole new set of routes and scenery. Over the weekend participants will pedal on some of the most scenic back county roads and trails that roll through this picturesque region of the state.
The Bluff Weekend Bike Ride Starts in Peterson
On this years tour, the ride leaves from this Norwegian community to explore the many scenic roads that take you along the bluffs. The first stop on this years tour is the historic Fremont General Store. A store built in 1856 that reflects a time long gone by. Plus, meeting Martha is always a treat!
Now running the north faced ridge, discover Vinegar Hill Pass on your way down to Houston for lunch. On the far east side of the Root River Trail, you will find the National Owl Center. After lunch, check out the bike sculptures and head to Rushford for an overnight visit.
Visit the historic Rushford Depot & Village Museum to learn about in the town’s milling culture. Then wander downtown to sample some locally produced lefse and other delicious dinner options. Afterwards, enjoy some of the local entertainment or take in the historic walking tour showcasing the architecture of this once vibrant milling community.
Saturday on the Bluff Weekend Bike Ride
After a hearty Bluff Country breakfast, the tour cruises through the rolling Amish countryside and down “Buggy Lane” on Minnesota’s Amish Byway. On this section of the route, you will see draft horses being used to work the field. Many farmsteads along the way offer fresh baked goods, honey, and crafts.
Today’s lunch stop will be in Harmony, on the south end of the Root River Trail System. Learn more about the Amish culture while watching this busy farm community in action. Departing, the afternoon route circles to the northwest passing a couple ghost towns before coasting into Preston
An Evening of Fun and Games In Preston
Saturday night’s dinner and overnight stay will be in Preston, Minnesota’s Trout Capitol. The evening will be full of fun, music and games. If you’re interested in another historic walking tour, Preston has a very interesting itinerary and map.
Sunday on the Bluff Weekend Bike Ride
Leaving Preston after breakfast, the tour visits Fountain, the “Sinkhole Capitol of the World.” Here visit the Fillmore County History Center Museum. With several buildings full of captivating historical exhibits, you’ll want to plan another trip back here to take it all in. This is also a great place to find out more about the area’s ghost towns that you passed on Saturday. You will also learn more about the interesting facts about the sink holes here. Turns out, they supply the clean water to the areas springs that eventually flow back into the Root River. It’s amazing!
On the road again, take in the charm of Lanesboro, then on to Whalan for pie. Nationally known for their “Stand Still Parade,” the first thing you’ll notice in Whalan is its miniature golf course and a beautiful park area in the center of the small Irish community. Before leaving town, take a quick spin around the neighborhood and see Ernie’s 1917 filling station.
Back on the Root River Trail, it’s roughly nine miles to Peterson. Check out the fun possibilities there, before loading up and heading home. If you missed out on the pie earlier, or you want to do a taste test and compare, check out Burdey’s Cafe. Another well-known stop for sinfully delicious desserts and Sunday dinners along the Root River Trail.
More About the Bluff & Valley Bike Tour
Camping and other lodging options are available on this supported ride by the Root River Trail Towns. Get more information and registration here to guarantee your spot on the Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour. *Please note: the ride closes May 18th to allow time for jersey orders included in your registration .
The following miles each day are an estimate at this time as all routes are being reviewed by both county and state departments for any upcoming road construction that may change the route and mileage. Currently we are looking at:
- 58 miles for Day 1 [48 miles using RR Trail short cut]
- 62 miles for Day 2 [48 miles using RR Trail short cut]
- 56 miles for Day 3 [40 miles using RR Trail short cut]
Peterson, the start of the ride, is located about 2 hours south of the Twin Cities. [Google Maps Location]
The ride benefits the Friends of the Root River Trail. All the the Trail Towns and HaveFunBiking.com look forward to you riding the tour. For a printed version of the Root River Bluff & Valley Bike Tour Package, click here.