12 Midwest Backroad Scenic Drives
Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
The drive: This 287-mile route, which roughly parallels US-169 on its east end, starts near Belle Plaine (45 miles southwest of Minneapolis) in a broad valley, then heads south before veering northwest at Mankato.
Worth a stop: Apple stands and an old-fashioned soda fountain await in Henderson, while New Ulm has handsome German brick architecture (including the 1885 August Schell mansion at left) and a working glockenspiel. Morgan Creek Vineyards just east of town, opens for tours and wine tastings on weekends.
For information: Contact Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway/New Ulm Convention & Visitors Bureau. (888) 463-9856; mnrivervalley.com