Ways to Play in the Root River Valley
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Explore the Root River Valley
A rare mix of activities comes together in the Root River Valley in the southeast corner of Minnesota (100 miles south of the Twin Cities). Along the 30-mile stretch between Lanesboro and Houston, the river, the paved Root River State Trail and the Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway (State-16) run parallel past storybook towns, bike-rental outlets, canoe outfitters, restaurants, homey cafes, shops and inns.
Trail traffic keeps Lanesboro and other towns along the way busy all year. In summer, bikes line up outside the Aroma Pie Shop in tiny Whalan (population: 64). In autumn, color splashes the bluffs, and hilltop apple trees beckon. In winter, the route becomes a cross-country skier's dream, especially when Whalan lights a nighttime trail with candles.
Click ahead for details on these experiences and other destinations in the Root River Valley. Want to share your favorites? Leave a comment below or on Midwest Living®'s page on Facebook!