Root River Valley

The Root River Valley combines rustic peacefulness with visual beauty along a scenic expanse down the river gorge in southeast Minnesota. The Root River Valley system winds through small towns full of history, dairy pastures and sprawling cornfields. Take a scenic drive and experience the beauty of the area through wooded bluffs, expansive farmland, historic limestone buildings and the snaking and picturesque river itself. The many things to do in the area is unsurpassed. Bird watching, trout fishing and canoeing are just a few of the outdoor activities to partake in when visiting the Root River Valley.

The Root River Trail system is complete with breathtaking views of towering limestone cliffs high above the valley. It comprises a combination of gravel, asphalt and natural pathways. The abundance of wildlife to be seen includes turkey vultures, wild turkeys and many deer. Forty-three miles of multiple-use state trails are perfect for mountain biking where rural communities and historic buildings can be seen in the passing backdrop.

Along the River Root trail there are plenty of bed and breakfasts, inns, museums, restaurants, outfitters and grounds for camping. The Root River trail system is great for skiing in the winter months and kayaking can be enjoyed along the river in the warmer weather. The most difficult part of the trail is found between the small town of Houston and Money Creek Woods. Throughout the trail visitors will be able to explore three different state parks each with its own special features. Near Whalan visitors will find the Mystery Cave, an underground network encompassing an intricate network of caves.

A Root River campground is an excellent place to stay and play while visiting. Along the Root River trail the towns of Preston, Harmony, Lanesboro, Rushford, Houston and Peterson, described as Bluff Country, all have accessible campgrounds. When traveling along the trail a Root River campground makes it easy to hunker down for the night and continue on your journey in the morning. In Preston you'll find three campgrounds to choose from. Houston and Lanesboro each have two while the rest offer one Root River campground each. Transportation from the trail into the small towns is easy and doesn't take long.

The Root River golf course at the Root River Country Club is a public course in Spring Valley with nine holes. A Root River golf game can be the perfect way to end the day after exploring many of the area trails and small, charming towns. Founded in 1961, and encompassing nine challenging holes, the Root River Golf Club sits on 80 acres with a par 36 and has a snack bar, restaurant, bar and putting green on the site. Green fees are very affordable.

Root River Valley is a resplendent area great for visiting in every season. The main artery has so many different landscapes to explore making it fun for the whole family. No matter what your outdoor sport of choice happens to be, you'll find many ways to enjoy the region. The many scenic byways, such as the 88-mile Bluff Country Scenic Byway and wildflower route of the Shooting State Scenic Byway, offer a chance to see more of the Root River System without any arduous activity. A short drive from Rochester, and easily reached from Minneapolis and St Paul, The Root River Valley is a great place to take a day trip. Spend a night or two at a Root River Campground or simply enjoy a few rounds of golf during a relaxing day out.

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