If you’ve never had an opportunity to visit the charming town of Lanesboro or ride the famed Root River Trail in the area, then this summer is your perfect chance. Not only is it a truly beautiful part of the state, but it’s a great way to get out and explore, all while adhering to proper social distancing guidelines in mitigating the further spread of COVID-19.
Summer is a popular time for Minnesotan’s and others visiting the state to get outside and explore the vast lakes and waterways, hike through the forested hills, and bike along the many bike trails in the state. The Root River Trail is one of the best Minnesota Bike Trails, and certainly worth exploring this summer.
You’ll probably want to spend more than a day in the area, though, as there’s plenty more than a singular trail to enjoy in southeastern Minnesota. For the full Midwest hospitality experience, including a hearty breakfast in the morning, choose to stay at one of our Minnesota Bed and Breakfasts in southern Minnesota.
Bike the Root River Trail This Summer
Lanesboro, and the Root River State Trail, are located in Minnesota’s bluff country in the southeastern corner of the state. The region is known for its scenic natural beauty with rolling hills and dramatic river-carved bluff lands, its picturesque communities, and its quaint and welcoming vibe that is the very epitome of “Minnesota Nice.”
The Root River Trail cuts through a portion of Minnesota known as the Driftless Region, which is so named because as glaciers in the last ice age moved through and flattened the midwest, they left this region largely untouched. What’s left behind is a stunningly beautiful landscape that stands in stark contrast to the generally flat midwest, and this beauty is what makes a trip to the Root River State Trail so special.
The Root River Trail, which runs right through a number of charming small towns, the most notable of which is Lanesboro, has been voted one of the best bike trails in all of Minnesota. That’s saying quite a lot for a state that has plenty to choose from! The trails follows some abandoned railroad tracks as it meanders 42-miles through the countryside.
On one end of the trail is the town of Fountain, and from there it continues on before passing through the communities of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston. It also connects up to other popular bike trails in the area, such as the Harmony-Preston Valley State Bike Trail System.
More to do Near the Root River State Trail
Biking down the Root River Trail certainly isn’t the only reason to visit this unique and beautiful part of Minnesota. In fact, biking isn’t even the only way to explore the Root River Trail! You can also paddle or float down the Root River itself, which is a truly delightful way to keep cool on a hot summer’s day.
Beyond enjoying the river and this multi-use trail, here are a few other things worth doing in the Lanesboro, MN area:
- While you’re here, take the opportunity to tour Amish Country. You can visit working farms, buy beautiful crafted Amish products, and enjoy a glimpse into this unique society.
- Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is home to a restored pioneer town and Minnesota’s longest cave, and is a fun place to spend a summer day.
- Discover Norwegian heritage in the town of Petersen. Stop in at the Peterson Station Museum, which includes the original train depot and many of its original furnishings.
- Speaking of Norwegian heritage, head to the Lefse factory in Rushford, where you can watch Lefse being made from scratch.
- Visit the Niagara Cave, one of the Midwest’s largest limestone caverns. It’s located in Harmony and features a 60-foot waterfall. Inside the cave, it’s a constant 48 degrees – a welcome respite on a hot summer’s day!
- Check out the International Owl Center in Houston.
- View the sinkhole at the start of the trailhead in Fountain, known as the “Sink Hole Capital of the USA.” There are surprisingly more than 10,000 sinkholes in the area.
- Enjoy some trout fishing in Preston, which is actually considered “Minnesota’s Trout Capital.”
- As we get nearer to the fall months, this area will also be a spectacular place to enjoy Minnesota’s fall foliage.
- Browse the shops of each community along the way, taking the time to enjoy some truly delicious eats along the way. Aroma Pie Shoppe is a biker’s favorite!
Stay at a Minnesota Bed and Breakfast
Lanesboro is well-known as the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota,” and accordingly there are several of our wonderful Minnesota Bed and Breakfast members in the area. Great places to stay include Habberstad House Bed and Breakfast, Sacred Clay Country Inn, and Scandinavian Inn. Each of them offers exceptional service and hospitality, delicious breakfasts to start your day, and the opportunity to relax and unwind in the peaceful and scenic areas of southern Minnesota.
Come explore the Root River Trail this summer, and stay for the incredible communities that you’ll find once here. Book a room at one of our Minnesota Bed and Breakfasts today!