Family Weekender: Minneapolis

Root River Bicycle Trail
By Mike Youngblood
GO GUIDE: Root River Trail
* Activities: Bicycling, in-line skating, strolling through historic villages
* Hours from Minneapolis: 2
* Getting There: The trail parking area at the town of Fountain is 28 miles south of Rochester. From US Highway 52 turn east onto County Road 8 for about 1 mile to find the large parking lot and information kiosk.
* Reference: 25 Bicycle Tours in the Twin Cities and Southeastern Minnesota by Erling Jorstad. Backcountry Publications. Biking in Vikingland by Marlys and Phil Mickelson. Adventure Publications, (800) 678-7006.
* Added Value: Stop at the Fillmore County Historic Center just before the parking lot in Fountain to view the fine collection on the area's history.
* Contact: Root River Trail Office, (507) 467-2552; Lanesboro Visitor Center, (800) 944-2670

The bluff country of southeastern Minnesota has much to offer: rural solitude, winding riverside roads and paths, spectacular limestone cliffs, and village charm. The 42 mile Root River Bicycle Trail may be the ideal way for families of all ages to see it — in part, because the trail is downhill nearly the entire distance! So, mom or dad can even pull a child trailer behind a bike without risking coronary arrest.

The trail follows the river for about 30 of its miles, and crosses 46 bridges as it passes over streams and tributaries along the route. There are a number of campgrounds and five pleasant villages along the way, offering a range of options for meal stops, sightseeing, overnighting at a quaint B&B;'s, or just shortening the ride. The trail is well-paved, so it's ideal for in-line skating, too.

But however you choose to go don't miss a stroll through Lanesboro, about halfway down the trail, which is surely one of the most scenic villages in the state. The whole of  "downtown" Lanesboro is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information on biking in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and around Minnesota, visit GORP's Minnesota Regional Biking Guide.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 6 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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