Southern Minnesota 2021 Travel Guide

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Southern

MINNESOTA 2021 Travel Guide | ExploreSouthernMinnesota.com

Scenic Byways Parks & Trails Historic Towns Outdoor Adventures


The Places

In

appreciate

this charming community, discover acres of natural beauty; experience the rich history of the past; enjoy sophisticated eateries or hometown cooking; revel in world-class art and entertainment; meet challenges of outdoor adventure; celebrate with scores of special events; and find delight in the always charming shops on Main.

and...

• Experience 4,500 nutcrackers at the History Center…it’s jaw-dropping • Explore more than 2,500 acres of Northern Tallgrass Prairie Refuge at Blue Mounds State Park and Touch the Sky Prairie • Uncover the stories of heroes and heroines at the Herreid Military Museum, History Center and Hinkly House • Enjoy great entertainment at the Historic Palace Theatre or Verne Drive In Theater • Experience art like never before at the Brandenburg Gallery, Lord Grizzly Gallery and Deuschle Studios • Step out of your comfort zone – climb the Blue Mounds Cliffline, paddle down the Rock River Water Trail or sky-dive at Quentin Aanenson Airfield

reflect

dine

So find a path on over to Luverne, your adventure is waiting.

• Pedal the Luverne LOOP and Blue Mounds Trail • Quench your thirst at Take 16 and savor the flavors at Sterling’s Café & Grille and other fine restaurants • Experience moments you’ll never forget and places to gather with friends…enjoy all Luverne has to offer

LuverneChamber.com 507.283.4061 • 888.283.4061


Experience Southern Minnesota

Take a Road Trip

What’s the Best Way to Travel? When visiting the Southern Minnesota region, the answer will always be a road trip! Whether you’re traveling with family, friends or your sweetheart, the southern regions of Minnesota offer lifelong memories. Drive along the scenic byways that lead you to and through historic, unique and beautiful landmarks and towns. There’s always an interesting find off the beaten path on the way to your destination. No matter the season or place, there’s something for everyone on land and water. exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021 | 3 Ramsey Park, Redwood Falls


Contents

Table of 3 Welcome

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA TRAVEL GUIDE In cooperation with

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA TOURISM ASSOCIATION PO Box 173 Fairmont, MN 56031-0173 ExploreSouthernMinnesota.com

5

Seasonal Activities

6

Minnesota River Valley Region

13

Fun and Free!

14

Prairie Land Region

22

Regional Map

24

State and National Parks Regional Guide

Karen Pehrson

26 28

Regional Byways

Angela Rathman

34

Bluff Country Region

SOMN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Jessica Becker Anne Johnson Gabby Kinneberg

Nancy Schnable

Southern Lakes Region

Erica Volkir Cassi Weiss Jeanne Zwart

PUBLISHED BY EVANS-STARK DESIGN EsdGraphics.com vicki@esdgraphics.com 612-309-3995 Camden Park, Marshall

Creative/Art Director Vicki Stark Production Devin Stark Editor Rhiana Stark Sales Representatives Evy Nerbonne Lamar Stark

Lower Sioux Wacipi, Morton

Winterfest, Faribault

Cover photo credits Top cover photo: Cannon River, Faribault by Mollie Verdick Bottom left cover photo: Sisseton Lake, Fairmont Middle cover photo: Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne Bottom right cover photo: Winona

Find us on ExploreSouthernMinnesota.com Facebook.com/SouthernMN 4 | exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021


A Sample of What’s Going on in SOMN For a Complete Listing of Events, Please Visit www.ExploreMinnesota.com

WINONA

Trestor Trolly Light Tours FAIRMONT

Southern Minnesota Pond Hockey Championship

ODIN

Craft Mill LE SUEUR

Pioneer Power Show and Swap Meet ST. JAMES

MARSHALL

Railroad Days

MANKATO

REDWOOD FALLS

LUVERNE

NEW ULM

Light Up the Night Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Night Falls

Buffalo Days

Oktoberfest

PIPESTONE

LA CRESCENT

RED WING

ROOT RIVER TRAIL TOWNS

OWATONNA

AUSTIN

Water Tower Festival River City Days Steele County Free Fair

Apple Fest

Taste of the Trail Harvest Fest

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Minnesota River Valley

REGION

Through Forests and River Roads. . . Find Your Adventure

Minnesota River Valley

REGION

Linnaeus Arboretum, St. Peter, by Brian Knutson

The Minnesota River Valley is known for great parks and trails. Enjoy rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas for breathtaking landscapes while you explore this historic region of Minnesota. TRAVEL THROUGH HISTORY

Visit Lac qui Parle State Park, known in its Dakota name as “Lake That Speaks”. This is the site, that is now Montevideo, that Joseph Renville worked alongside missionaries to create the first written Dakota alphabet. Walk along the trails that

are open from dawn until dusk. See Fort Ridgley State Park, just 30 minutes outside of New Ulm. Explore the ruins of a once-thriving outpost and learn about its role in the U.S.-Dakota War at Fort Ridgley Historic Site. This was a major event in Minnesota’s early history. In the summer check out the hiking, biking and horse trails. Fish in the pond or trout stream and camp in the renovated farmhouse with access to the Fair Ridge Trail. The Lower Sioux Agency in Morton is where the U.S.-Dakota War broke out.

This historic site is managed by the Lower Sioux Indian Community. You’ll find a Dakota history exhibit, restored 1861 US government building, scenic Minnesota river trails and weekend programs on Dakota life and nature. Traverse des Sioux was a crossroads and meeting place for thousands of years. In 1851, it witnessed the signing of the treaty between the Dakota and the U.S. government, leading to the U.S.-Dakota War a decade later. Take a self-guided tour of the Traverse des Sioux historic site in St. Peter to learn more.

Stop in the Sacred Heart Area Museum to see artifacts from early pioneer days. Take a group tour at the Arv Hus Museum in Milan to see the work of world famous Norwegian rosemålers, a mural by Augsburg artist Phillip Thompson, and other local culture and history displays. Sacred Heart Area Museum By Sonja Thune, Sacred Heart

6 | exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021

Arv Hus Museum, Milan


IN TOWN VISITS

Following a visit to Birch Coulee Battlefield, where U.S. and Dakota tensions came to a head in one of the hardest-fought battles of the U.S.-Dakota War, stop at the Renville County Historical Society and Museum in Morton and view rotating exhibits and historical buildings on the property. Then make your way to the Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site, outside of Morton, where you will learn about Dakota culture and history and examine the causes of the U.S.-Dakota War.

> BIG STONE COUNTY MUSEUM | ORTONVILLE A walking trail allows visitors to see outdoor historic displays, including fossils and a display of models of a farmhouse. > MINNESOTA MACHINERY MUSEUM | HANLEY FALLS Featuring 26,000 sq ft of implements, tools, tractors, and gas engines in mint condition on a beautiful six-acre site, its mission is to recapture a century of stories about farm life. > FAGEN FIGHTERS MUSEUM | GRANITE FALLS See the pristine collection of fully operational, active aircraft and vehicles from World War II. > BIRCH COULEE BATTLEFIELD | MORTON This historic site is where U.S. and Dakota tensions came to a head in one of the hardest-fought battles of the U.S.-Dakota War.

REGION

The Montevideo Arts Project has installed three pieces of public art in Montevideo: a painted train car, a mural in the center of downtown, and a stained glass tractor.

Top Minnesota River Valley Attractions

Minnesota River Valley

The award-winning Meander Art Crawl is a free self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 40 local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley. This event has more than 30 individual studios in and near the Western Minnesota Communities of Ortonville, Appleton, Madison, Milan, Dawson, Montevideo, and Granite Falls. Mark your calendar for the next Meander Art Crawl.

> AUGUST SCHELL BREWERY | NEW ULM Established in 1860, this stands as the oldest brewery in Minnesota. Enjoy a brewery tour and sample some of America’s finest beers. > CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA | MANKATO Spark natural curiosity of your children through the power of play in a learning environment. > TREATY SITE HISTORY CENTER | ST. PETER Explore striking exhibits about Dakota culture, prairie life, and the many facets of the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux.

Learn why New Ulm is the State Capitol of Fun when you visit the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the Hermann Monument, or dance with the Narren at one of the town’s many festivals. While visiting Mankato, immerse yourself in fine arts, dining, sporting events, and historical attractions in the City Center Mankato, including Silo Art, a new artwork installation on city silos that echoes the surrounding landscape and architecture while displaying a comprehensive community focus. Visit the Arts Center of Saint Peter to experience the active hub of arts in Saint Peter.

Fagen Fighters Museum, Granite Falls

Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, Mankato

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REGION

Minnesota River Valley

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

FAMILY FUN

PARKS & TRAILS

Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson offers more than a mile of zip-lining routes and 14 lines varying in height and speed.

Bring your kids to the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato to spark natural curiosity of your children through the power of play in a learning environment.

Whether you hike, bike, fish, or enjoy a good game of disc golf, Land of Memories Park in Mankato has something for everyone.

Snowmobile in Fort Ridgely State Park on 8 miles of trail connect to grant-in-aid trails on either side of the park. Downhill ski at Mount Kato Ski Area. With a vertical drop of 240 ft, and longest run of 2,800 ft, this is the perfect place to ski, snowboard, or tube in the Mankato area.

Seven Mile Creek Park, St. Peter

The Ney Nature Center, a Le Sueur County Park in Henderson is home to 446 acres of all the natural world has to offer, including forests, prairie, meadows, bluffs, creeks, and a variety of wildlife.

Ney Nature Center, Henderson

Enjoy the abundance of nature in Big Stone Lake State Park in Ortonville. Located at the border of Minnesota and South Dakota, the lake is best known to be the mouth of the Minnesota River.

Fort Ridgely Historic Site, Fairfax

CAMPING

HOPS AND GRAPES

ARTS & CULTURE

Enjoy weekend camping in Lac qui Parle State Park in Montevideo in the warm months. Enjoy electric sites with showers and horse camping.

Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. in Sleepy Eye is a Coffee shop by day and brewery by night in the historic PIX Theater.

The Meander Art Crawl in Appleton is a free self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 40 local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley, including Ortonville, Appleton, Madison, Milan, Dawson, Montevideo and Granite Falls.

Camp in Upper Sioux Agency State Park, a 1,280 acre park in Granite Falls. Spend your weekend in Walnut Grove at Plum Creek Park and enjoy one of their six new Camper Cabins, complete with electricity, sleeping for six, charcoal grill, fire pit, and access to restrooms and showers.

Ramsey Park, Redwood Falls

At Grandview Valley Winery in Belview, all of the wine is made from 100% MInnesota grown grapes. Sip authentic beers that reflect the heritage of the region and its people at the Mankato Brewery in North Mankato.

The Grand Center for Arts & Culture in New Ulm has a gallery, museum and gift shop with a fantastic atmosphere.

Morgan Creek Vineyards in New Ulm is Minnesota’s only underground winery.

Mankato Brewery, North Mankato

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Grand Center for Arts & Culture, New Ulm


Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway

Road Trip

New Ulm

the road to travel through the unique and historic > Hit Minnesota River Valley with friends or family. The first stop on the road trip in the Minnesota River Valley Region is in Ortonville at Big Stone Lake State Park, the mouth of the Minnesota River. Enjoy a day out on the lake and catch some walleye, northern pike, or yellow perch and bluegills. Hike through the park, relax with a picnic in the Meadowbrook Area and take a dip in the swimming beach. Be sure to stop at the Big Stone County Museum and see the historic farmhouse and log cabins.

shelter houses, four miles of paved hiking trails, a DNR trout stream, scenic overlooks of Ramsey Falls, and a zoo.

Continue your road trip in the Minnesota River Valley Region with a stop just outside of Granite Falls at the Fagan Fighter Museum, home to a pristine collection of fully operational, active aircraft and vehicles from World War II. This self-guided experience gives a rare look into the lives and legacy of the Greatest Generation. Also, take in the Andrew Volstead House Museum and visit the Volstead Act’s namesake house, known as the National Prohibition Act of 1920.

Head outdoors and follow the Red Jacket Trail to stretch your legs and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Mankato. The 6.3-mile mostly paved trail follows the route of an old railroad and runs to nearby Rapidan. While in Rapidan take in the views atop the Rapidan Dam and grab a mouthwatering piece of pie at the Rapidan Dam Store.

Next is a stop in Redwood Falls, at Ramsey Park, the largest municipal park in the State. At 256 acres, Ramsey Park is known as the “Little Yellowstone of Minnesota” and features campground facilities,

s

od Fall

Redwo

Travel next to New Ulm to hear the 45-foot tall Glockenspiel chime throughout the day and playing programmed pieces at noon, 1, 3, 5, and 6 pm. The Glockenspiel houses 37 bells with a total weight of more than two tons and depicts characters from the city’s German heritage. Don’t miss a stop at Schell’s Brewery!

rk Zoo

a Ramsey P

Odessa

Big Stone Natio

nal Wildlife Resc

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And last stop on the Minnesota River Valley Region for this road trip is to catch the Henderson Classic Car Roll-in. This popular free event features over 250 vehicles and 100 bikes every Tuesday night in the summer. This and so much more awaits you on your next road trip in the Minnesota River Valley. Red Jacket Trail, Mankato

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REGION

Minnesota River Valley 10 | exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021


Minnesota River Valley REGION

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Minnesota River Valley REGION

www.sleepyeyechamber.com Fishing Piers & Public Landing-Bike Trail & Public Beach-Campsites & CabinsAquatic Center-Historic Downtown Shops-Coffee Company & Brewery

Fourth of July Fireworks-Holiday Lights-Ice Fishing Derby

Mahkato Wacipi, Mankato

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Fun and forFree

For

Heritage Village, Mountain Lake

Explore the regions this season without breaking the bank. Hike, bike, swim, explore and learn in Southern Minnesota. There’s affordable fun for everyone in every town.

Minnesota River Valley Region MANKATO Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibley Park is a celebration of the Greater Mankato Area that builds on past traditions and promotes the local communities. NORTH MANKATO

MOUNTAIN LAKE See what life was like in the 1870’s with displays of schools, homes, churches and more at Heritage Village. PIPESTONE Take a self-guided walking tour of historic downtown to see pink Sioux Quartzite architectural gems listed on the national register of historic places.

Bluff Country Region MANTORVILLE Check out a schoolhouse and a 1902 Rambler with kerosene headlights at the Dodge County Historical Society. HARMONY Have fun in the Musical Notes Playground where you can make music with life-sized instruments.

Fallenstein Playground is an allinclusive playground that allows kids of all abilities to be liberated to play alongside others. It features an accessible surface for wheelchair use and other mobility aids.

ST. JAMES

Southern Lakes Region

Visit the Pottery Museum with 6,000 vintage pieces, special exhibits, handson classes, and a gift shop.

NEW ULM

NORTHFIELD

MINNEISKA

Spend a day at Flandrau State Park where the big Cottonwood River travels through this park with a sand-bottom swimming pond, picnic area and campgrounds.

See farm animals at the Fossum Family Alpaca Farm and stop in the shop to buy everything from hats to rugs.

Visit Gray’s Crazy Castle. It was built in 1877 and was three stories high and decorated with towers, steeples, verandas, and pagodas. It was also in Architectural Digest. Legend has it that when steamboat lights flashed across the castle at night, Gray’s daughters would dance with white sheets over themselves on one of the balconies.

BERNADOTTE The Mooseum is home to the Guinness World Record Collection of cow-related items.

Prairie Land Region HENDRICKS Experience pioneer life with a school, train depot, Sears and Roebuck house, and an Icelandic church at the Lincoln County Pioneer Museum.

Embark on a self-guided Art Walk tour of downtown St. James.

LE SUEUR Visit the Elysian Area Library and Heritage Center with its one of a kind display of “Dresden style” lace draped dolls.

RED WING

FAIRMONT Cedar Creek Park is home to paved trails, nature trails and three 18 hole Disc Golf Courses.

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Prairie Land REGION

Prairie Land

REGION

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne

Visit the land with thousands of years of history. Find artwork carved in and from stone by Indigenous peoples. See bison roam the blooming prairies. Enjoy time hiking, biking, and exploring the region’s beautiful state parks, national monument, and historic sites. TRAVEL THROUGH HISTORY

Visit Fort Belmont in Jackson to travel back in time. See a replica

Revel in the open skies and rolling prairies

of the 1862 civilian fort, built to protect settlers. The site includes the Delafield Church from 1902, a log cabin and stockade, blacksmith shop, the 1873 Lysgard farmhouse, grist mill, and a museum. Visit during the Mountain Man Rendezvous the weekend after Labor Day to experience history with a modern twist. Experience the 1880’s prairie at McCone Sod House in Sanborn. See the prairie as Laura Ingalls Wilder knew it with sod houses mounted

on top of the open land. Explore the Sod House that has acres of restored prairie with flowers and tall grass under big skies. Take a tour of the Mountain Lake Heritage Village in Mountain Lake. The Heritage Village was founded in 1972 to preserve the life of people in Mountain Lake dating back to the 1800’s. Explore the village with homes, churches, schools and various other businesses that tell the story of what historic life was like in the prairie land region.

The historic Palace Theatre is located in downtown Luverne and offers live events, movies and performances by the Green Earth Players. Enjoy excellent food, wine and views at Round Lake Vineyard with your family or sweetheart.

Palace Theatre, Luverne

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Round Lake Vineyard, Round Lake by Anita Perrizo


IN TOWN VISITS

Spend your day on the Rock River near Luverne kayaking and canoing. This area is great for viewing wildlife, camping and beautiful views. Travel to Marshall and visit the downtown area with more than 30 shops that have everything from bath to clothing to home decor. The downtown area also has a 9/11 memorial and a history walk. Then stop for lunch at one of the many tasty restaurants in town and stop by the Brau Brothers Brewery for happy hour. Unwind in Slayton, the Hub of Southwest Minnesota while playing nine holes of golf at the beautiful Slayton Country Club. Then head to Broadway Avenue to shop, grab a coffee, and snap a selfie in front of the new downtown mural.

> PIPESTONE NATIONAL MONUMENT | PIPESTONE Explore the visitors center, museum, exhibits and pipestone carving demonstration. > CASEY JONES STATE TRAIL | PIPESTONE The trail connects points of natural interest, such as wooded ravines and remnants of tallgrass prairie. Named after the famed railroad engineer Casey Jones who was immortalized in a well-known ballad. > SPOMER CLASSICS | WORTHINGTON This museum of automobile memorabilia has restored neon signs, peddle cars and classic cars.

REGION

Enjoy Worthington while biking around Lake Okabena. Visit one of the 23 city parks and the disc golf course. Visit a vineyard or brewery for a taste of the local wines and beers.

Top Prairie Land Attractions

Prairie Land

Visit Plum Creek near Walnut Grove. Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in this area during the 1870’s. Spend a night or weekend at the Plum Creek County Park Campground with friends and family.

> JEFFERS PETROGLYPHS | COMFREY Images of humans, turtles, buffalo and thunderbirds tell the stories of Native American ancestors spanning more than 7,000 years. > PLUM CREEK PARK | WALNUT GROVE Recognized by On The Banks Of Plum Creek, the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder talks about her life on Plum Creek. Visit the area where she lived for a few years of her childhood in the 1870’s. > END-O-LINE RAILROAD PARK AND MUSEUM | CURRIE This fun and educational destination features over 13 historic buildings and structures that preserve the railroad history of the Currie and Shetek area in the 20th century. > FORT PIPESTONE & TRADING POST | PIPESTONE See a replica of an 1860s fort that you can climb up and look out all of the towers. Be sure to check out their gift shop with a variety of items including pipestone handcrafted pipes.

End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum, Currie

Visit Rock County Veterans Memorial Building for a place of community, history, and art. View the two floors that feature the award-winning photographs of National Geographic nature photographer and Luverne native, Jim Brandenburg Learn about the history of Native Americans spanning more than 7,000 years from their sacred rock carvings of humans, turtles, buffalo, and thunderbirds. Rock County Veterans Memorial, Luverne

Jeffers Petroglyphs, Comfrey

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REGION

Prairie Land

WINTER ADVENTURES

TRAILS

PARKS

There are so many great ways to celebrate winter in the Prairie Land Region.

Jump on the Blue Mounds Trail & Luverne Loop to enjoy the six mile trail that walks you along agricultural fields and provides views of the Blue Mound Cliff Line.

Lake Shetek State Park is popular for its camping and recreation. The park sits on Lake Shetek which serves as the headwaters for the Des Moines River.

Visit Camden State Park to take your horse on the designated 10 miles of trails, mountain bike, bicycle on the paved paths, and experience the 15.8 miles of hiking trails.

Enjoy camping, canoeing, and more in Kilen Woods State Park. Explore the small creeks, prairie grasslands and oak savannas as you meander through the park.

Hike through Kilen Woods State Park and Lake Shetek State Park.

Experience the natural wonder of Blue Mounds State Park. Start with the Sioux Quartzite cliff that rises 100 feet from the plains.

Travel to Kilen Woods State Park to snowmobile on three and a half miles of ungroomed trails and snowshoe through any area of the park. Visit Pipestone National Monument to snowshoe throughout the park during winter months to take in the natural beauty of the area.

Pipestone National Monument, Pipestone

Currie Segment of Casey Jones State Trail

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne

CAMPING

WILDLIFE & BIRDING

FISHING

Take your horses camping at Camden State Park for a weekend. The park also has semi-modern campsites. Or rent out the historic Redwood Lodge, built in 1935.

Hop over to US Hwy 75 King Of Trails Scenic Byway to visit The Hole-in-theMountain Prairie, a 1,157-acre prairie and oak savanna wildlife preserve located south of Lake Benton. See the wildflowers during the blooming season in spring and fall. The preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and provides a good habitat for rare prairiedependent insects including 25 species of butterflies, rushes, trees, shrubs and 200 species of wildflowers.

Catch Green Sunfish, Northern Pike, Walleye and more in Heron Lake.

Kilen Woods State Park and Lake Shetek State Park have the option of walk-in or drivein sites. Stay in Split Rock Creek State Park and enjoy hiking the four and a half mile trail, swimming, kayaking, fishing, geocaching, and more. See all State Park camping information on page 24.

Camden State Park, Lynd

Kilen Woods State Park, Lakefield

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When fishing in Lake Shetek, located by Currie, anglers can expect to catch White Crappie, Johnny Darter, Walleye and many more. Take your boat out on to Lake Sarah to spend a day catching Bluegill, White Sucker, Carp and more. If you want to go fishing try Lake Benton, on US Hwy 75, is 2,700 acres and is known for it’s Walleye.

Marsh’s Landing On Lake Shetek, Murray County


Prairie Land REGION Highway 75 King of Trails Scenic Byway

Road Trip Ashley Park, Jackson

Travel to the region of big blue skies that blanket the open > prairies that hold history, wildlife, parks and wonderful experiences for all. Start your trip in Marshall with a morning shopping spree in the bustling downtown area. Spend your afternoon at Camden State Park; fishing, birdwatching, and hiking and enjoy the woodlands, oaks, maples and basswoods while you explore. The next stop is Pipestone to visit southern Minnesota’s only national park site, Pipestone National Monument. Watch Native American artisans handcarve pipestone before walking Circle Trail to view Winnewissa Falls and Sioux quartzite rock formations amongst the prairie. Then head towards downtown to snap a selfie with the World’s Largest Ceremonial Pipe. On Main Street, enjoy patio dining and a plethora of unique boutiques and 16 gargoyles.

by Lin d

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a

gan Re Travel south on the King of Trails to Winnewis dwood Falls, MN sa Pipestone Luverne to kayak or canoe on the NationaFl aMlls at onument Rock River. Enjoy the wildlife in this area while you’re on the water and check out places to camp for Hendricks the night nearby. If you’d rather spend your time in town, there’s plenty to do. Luverne offers a great shopping experience, arts and entertainment and the Herreid Lake Benton Military Museum. Grab a burger at a 50’s-era diner or cross the street to enjoy an ice cream from vintage Jj’s Tasty.

Marshall

Head west on Interstate 90 to the last stop on this trip, Worthington. Try the local wine at the Round Lake Vineyards and Winery for a pleasant afternoon. Then check out the attractions in town such as Spomer Classics with a display of over 300 advertising items for automobiles, oil, gas and more.

Pipestone

on

cs, Worthingt

Spomer Classi

75 Luverne Worthington

Independence Park, Marshall

International Festival, Worthington

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Prairie Land REGION

ONE OF AMERICA’S TOP 10 COOLEST SMALL TOWNS

Discover what's

#OnlyinPIPESTONE! #Onlyin PIPESTONE! 507.825.3316

Brau Brothers Brewing Co, Marshall

PipestoneMinnesota.com

PIPESTONE NATIONAL MONUMENT • WORLD’S LARGEST PEACE PIPE HISTORIC DOWNTOWN DISTRICT • GARGOYLES • FESTIVALS • ARTS SUMMER CAR CRUIZIN’ NIGHTS • UNIQUE SHOPPING & DINING • GOLF CASEY JONES STATE TRAIL • SPLIT ROCK CREEK STATE PARK exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021 |

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REGION

Prairie Land

Old Stone Face, Pipestone National Monument

Night Sky Over Luverne

Bank Brewing Co, Hendricks

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Instagrammable

Spots

Visit these spots to take photos and surprise your followers with the breathtaking views, natural wonders, and unique cultural elements that make SOMN a perfect region.

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Minnesota River Valley REGION

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75

59 10 St.Cloud

52

1 i Ortonville Appleton

Odessa

12

7

Benson

Milan

75

Watson

4

212

59

i Willmar

71

Montevideo i Granite Falls

8 i

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212

Hanely Falls

10

14

14

75

Morton

Redwood Falls i

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Lake Benton

i 13 Pipestone

Olivia Belview

Marshall

Hendricks

12

Tracy

12 Slayton

Walnut Grove

Sanborn

Sleepy Eye

Springfield

i

14 2

Comfrey

Currie

59

Madelia

Windom Luverne i i Worthington

Round Lake

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i

St. Peter

Mankato 5 Amboy

169

11 90

Le Sueur

Nicollet

Mountain Lake St. James

9

Henderson

i New Ulm

3

17

Belle Plaine

Fairfax

Jackson

Sherburn

Fairmont

Blue Earth


SCENIC BYWAYS

MAP KEY

Apple Blossom Drive. . .

State and National Parks

Historic Bluff Country. .

Read more on corresponding pages 24 & 25 and locate state parks on map. For more information on state parks, visit dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks.

King of Trails . . . . . . . . . .

BLUFF COUNTRY REGION

MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY REGION

15 Beaver Creek Valley 16 Carley 17 Forestville Mystery Cave 18 Frontenac 19 Great River Bluffs 20 John A. Latsch 21 Lake Louise 22 Whitewater

01 Big Stone Lake 02 Flandrau 03 Fort Ridgley 04 Lac qui Parle 05 Minneopa 06 MN Valley State Rec. Area 07 Monson Lake 08 Upper Sioux Agency

Minnesota River Valley. Shooting Star . . . . . . . . . To request a statewide map, Visitwww.ExploreMinnesota.com or call 1-888-VISITMN.

SOUTHERN LAKES REGION

PRAIRIE LAND REGION

94

23 Big Island Myre 24 Nerstrand Big Woods 25 Rice Lake 26 Sakahtah Lake

09 Blue Mounds 10 Camden 11 Kilen Woods 12 Lake Shetek 13 Pipestone National Monument 14 Split Rock Creek

10 Minneapolis

i

St. Paul

Stop by one of the Explore MN Affiliate Welcome Centers

61 6

52

169

Cannon Falls

35 Montgomery Kasota Madison Lake Janesville

26 Waterville Elysian

Dundas

Faribault

16

Nerstrand

Owatonna i

Albert Lea

i

Mantorville

Wabasha Kellogg

Plainview

Oronoco

16 22

61 20

14

Rochester Chatfield Spring Valley

Austin

21 LeRoy

63

19

Rushford

52 17

Winona i

90

i

Blooming Prairie

i 23

Lake City

52

218 New Richland

18

63

Zumbrota

25

Mapleton Minnesota Lake

Northfield

24

Waseca

Red Wing i

Welch

i

Preston

Houston Lanesboro

i

Dresbach i i La Crescent

15 Caledonia

Harmony Spring Grove i Canton

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MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY REGION

PARKS

Big Stone Lake is 26 miles long and is located on the South Dakota-Minnesota border. The lake is the source of the Minnesota River. The Bonanza Area Has a picnic area, boat launch, and Education Center. The Meadowbrook Area contains a campground, swimming beach and hiking trails.

986

4m

FLANDRAU

The Cottonwood River meanders through this park that offers a sand-bottom swimming pond, picnic area, campgrounds and a group center. Visit historic stone buildings crafted by Works Progress Administration crews.

1,000

8m

FORT RIDGELY

Enjoy year-round activities at this once thriving military outpost. Visit the historic site before enjoying the trails or spending the afternoon fishing. Camp or stay overnight in the renovated farmhouse.

220

8m

The “lake which speaks” Explore one of the trails by foot or horseback. Visit the historic Fort Renville and Lac qui Parle mission sites.

5,600

7m

Minneopa State Park is a state park in Minnesota. It was established in 1905 to preserve Minneopa Falls, a large waterfall for southern Minnesota, and was expanded in the 1960s to include the lower reaches of Minneopa Creek and a large tract of prairie.

1,216

4.5

5,490

47

Monson Lake State Park is a state park of Minnesota originally established as a memorial to 13 Swedish American pioneers who were killed there in the Dakota War of 1862. A district of 1930s New Deal structures is on the National Register of Historic Places.

346

1.2

Upper Sioux Agency State Park is a Minnesota state park on the Minnesota River, south of Granite Falls. It preserves the site of the historic Upper Sioux Agency, which was destroyed in the Dakota War of 1862.

1,280

18

Blue Mounds State Park is full of natural surprises. Start with the Sioux Quartzite cliff, rising 100 feet from the plains. A bison herd grazes on the prairie. Prickly pear cactus blooms in June and July. A sea of prairie grasses and flowers sway in the wind. The park is also a favorite for birdwatchers who want to see nesting blue grosbeaks and other birds. Enjoy camping and hiking.

1,153

13

Camden State Park is a state park on the Redwood River in southwestern Minnesota near Marshall. It is used for picnics, camping, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.

2,245

15.

KILEN WOODS

For a quiet, relaxing reprieve, hike the 5 mi of cool woodland trails along the Des Moines River. You'll find pleasant surprises as you explore small creeks, prairie grasslands and oak savannas. Winter sliding hill available. Excellent variety of birds.

202

5m

LAKE SHETEK

Lake Shetek State Park is a state park of Minnesota on Lake Shetek, which is the largest lake in southwestern Minnesota and the headwaters of the Des Moines River. It is most popular for water recreation and camping.

1,109

14

PIPESTONE NAT’L MONUMENT

A National Park site. Pipestone National Monument offers an opportunity to explore American Indian culture and the natural resources of the tallgrass prairie. Established by Congress in 1937 to protect the historic pipestone quarries, the site is considered sacred by many American Indians. Spanning centuries of use, American Indians continue to handquarry and carve pipestone into ceremonial pipes and other crafts.

301

1m

SPLIT ROCK CREEK

Split Rock Creek State Park is a Minnesota state park located in Ihlen. The Works Progress Administration built a dam in 1938 to create a lake, which provided an opportunity for water recreation. One of the most striking features of the park is MN’s largest single-span, stone arch bridge. While camping, enjoy hiking the four and a half mile trail, swimming, kayaking, fishing, geocaching, and more.

1,303 acres

4.5

BEAVER CREEK VALLEY

Beaver Creek Valley State Park is a state park of Minnesota featuring a steep, narrow valley carved by East Beaver Creek. This spring-fed stream is a fishing destination for its native brook trout, and introduced brown trout.

1,187 acres

8m

Explore a springtime woodland filled with the colors of bluebells, or stroll softly on carpeted pine forest trails along the North Branch of the Whitewater River.

200 acres

5m

FORESTVILLE/ MYSTERY CAVES

Forestville Mystery Cave State Park is a state park in Minnesota. It contains the village of Forestville, which has been restored to a 19th-century appearance. The Minnesota Historical Society operates it as a historic site

3,170

20

FRONTENAC

Enjoy views of Lake Pepin as you hike along the wooded slopes of this park. Be sure to bring your binoculars. This is one of the best places in the US to view birds, including bald eagles, migrating every spring and fall along the Mississippi Flyway.

2,270

13

GREAT RIVER BLUFFS

High on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, scenic overlooks are easily reached by walking trails and offer a chance to get away in the quiet bluff country. Oak-hickory woods, pine plantations and goat prairies provide excellent birding, scenery, hiking on over 6 miles of trails and 9 miles of mostly intermediate level cross-country ski trails. A quiet park ideal for bird watching, hiking, and camping.

2,835

6.5

JOHN A LATSCH

This 450 acre day use park offers a picnic area, vault toilet, hand pump water and a scenic overlook 500 feet above the Mississippi River. Adjacent to Whitman Dam, John A. Latsch State Park features a half-mile trail of 592 steps leading to the top of Mt. Charity.

1,654

0.5

LAKE LOUIS

Lake Louise State Park is a mix of woodlands, savanna, and meadows on the eastern edge of the tallgrass prairie biome. The lake is a historic mill pond located at the confluence of 1,168 the Upper Iowa and Little Iowa Rivers. The park is home to a variety of wildlife and some beautiful wildflowers. The lake is ideal for canoeing and fishing. Camping, picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding are popular. The park is ideal for those seeking a quiet and relaxed park experience.

11.6

WHITEWATER

Whitewater State Park has picturesque limestone bluffs and deep ravines to explore. There are nearly 50 kinds of mammals and 250 kinds of birds that use the Whitewater River Valley during the course of a year.

2,700

10

MYRE-BIG ISLAND

Visit during spring and fall to view the many species of migrating birds that use the wetlands, prairies and woodlands. The Esker Trail is spectacular any time of the year, and the Big Island Trail is another visitor favorite. 16 miles of hiking and 7 miles of snowmobile trails. A 6 mile paved trail connects to Blazing Star State Trail.

1,578 acres

16

NERSTRAND BIG WOODS

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park is a state park of Minnesota northeast of Faribault just outside the small town of Nerstrand. The park derives its name from the Big Woods, a large, contiguous forested area covering much of southeast Minnesota prior to the arrival of European settlers.

2,882

11 m

Rice Lake State Park is a state park of Minnesota just east of Owatonna. Park lands entirely surround Rice Lake, an important stopping point for migrating waterfowl.

750

5m

Sakatah Lake State Park is on a natural widening of the Cannon River near the town of Waterville. The Dakota native to the area called it "Sakatah" which means "singing hills". To honor this native heritage, some of the trails in the park have been given Dakota names.

842

5m

LAC QUI PARLE MINNEOPA

MN RIVER VALLEY 5,490 acres of diverse plant and wildlife communities. It also offers equally diverse recreation like hiking, biking, bird watching, horseback riding, snowmobiling and more. STATE REC AREA MONSON LAKE

PRAIRIE LAND REGION

BLUE MOUNDS

CAMDEN

CARLEY BLUFF COUNTRY REGION

H ACRES W T

BIG STONE LAKE

UPPER SIOUX AGENCY

SOUTHERN LAKES REGION

DESCRIPTION

RICE LAKE

SAKATAH LAKE

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GROOMED HIKING/ PAVED EQUESTRIAN CROSS ACRES WALKING BICYCLE TRAILS COUNTRY SKI TRAILS TRAILS TRAILS

CAMPING SITES RUSTIC/ ELECTRIC

CAMPER CABINS

BOAT/ CANOE LAUNCH

HISTORIC SWIMMING FISHING INFORMATION BEACH SITE

VISITOR CENTER

HANDICAP ACCESS

a, boat

986

4 miles

ngs crafted

1,000

8 miles

ght in the

220

8 miles

5,600

7 miles

the 1960s to

1,216

4.5 miles

0.2 miles

ore.

5,490

47 miles

9.5 miles

862. A district

346

1.2 miles

was destroyed

1,280

18 miles

tus blooms rds. Enjoy

1,153

13 miles

.

2,245

15.8 miles

nds and oak

202

5 miles

t is most

1,109

14 miles

hed by nue to hand-

301

1 mile

tunity for

1,303 acres

4.5 miles

for its native

1,187 acres

8 miles

42 sites (16 electric)

200 acres

5 miles

20 sites

ota Historical

3,170

20 miles

ding bald

2,270

13 miles

hickory ails. A quiet

2,835

6.5 miles

hn A. Latsch

1,654

0.5 miles

onfluence of 1,168 icking, hiking,

11.6 miles

ater River

2,700

10 miles

r, and the Big

1,578 acres

16 miles

oods, a large,

2,882

11 miles

51 sites (27 electric)

2 wheelchair accessible sites

750

5 miles

40 sites (18 electric)

.1 mile wheelchair accessible trail. 1 non-electric, 2 electric campsites

842

5 miles

ng hills". To

37 campsites (ten electric)

.05 miles

yes

6 miles

84 sites (34 electric)

yes

12 miles

4 miles

34 campsites (15 electric)

yes

5 miles

5 miles

66 campsites (58 electric)

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

61 campsites (6 electric) 30 miles

6 equestrian sites 20 sites (6 electric)

16 miles

34 sites (14 electric)

2.2 miles

73 sites (40 eleectric)

73 sites (40 electric)

1.1 miles

10 miles

80 sites (47 electric) 33 sites (11 electric)

6 miles

66 sites (64 electric)

yes

yes

yes

yes

6 wheelchair Accessible sites yes

4.5 mile

34 sites (21 electric)

17 miles 1 mile

14.2 miles

6 miles

3 miles

9.7 miles

73 sites (23 electric)

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

1 mile wheelchair accessible trail .5 mile wheelchair accessible trail, 1 wheelchair accessible campsite

yes

1 wheelchair accessible campsite

yes yes

yes

7.2 miles

58 sites (19 electric)

1 mile wheelchair accessible trail,

3 miles

31 sites

2 wheelchair accessible campsites

20 sites (11 electric)

yes

110 sites (85 electric)

yes

93 sites (32 electric)

yes

62 sites(14 electric)

yes

yes

yes

8 wheelchair accessible sites .5 mile wheelchair accessible trail

yes

.25 mile wheelchair accessible trail

exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021 | 25


Scenic Byways Morning on Circle Trail at Pipestone National Monument by Julie Carrow

Highway 75 King Of Trails

The Highway 75 King of Trails is a 414-mile long highway that runs from Canada to Dallas, TX. The historic highway runs through the Minnesota River Valley and Prairie Land regions. Stop at Coffey Contemporary Arts in Luverne if you’re an art lover. Spend a weekend at Split Rock Creek State Park in Ihlen for camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Split Rock Creek State Park, Ihlen

by Richard Gergen

Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway

Historic Forestville

26 | exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021

Experience extraordinary views from the bluffs looking over the small towns of the region on the Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway. Stop along this 17-mile long byway at Historic Forestville to watch costumed interpreters portray life in the 1800’s.


Shooting Star Scenic Byway

The Shooting Star Scenic Byway is one of the first designated wildflower routes in the state. The 29-mile route passes through rich farm land, scenic views, and four quaint communities. The Byway connects to Austin, where you can travel back in time and visit the Hormel Historic Home. Hormel Historic House, Austin

Apple Blossom Drive Scenic Byway

Enjoy the Apple Blossom Drive Scenic Byway in any season to experience the region. See and visit apple orchards in the fall and in the spring enjoy the smell of apple blossoms that fills the air on this 17-mile byway.

Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona

Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway

Travel along the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway starting in Browns Valley and ending in Belle Plaine. This 287-mile byway runs through many state parks including Big Stone Lake State Park, Lac Qui Parle State Park and Fort Ridgley State Park. The byway also hits historic cities and sites like Historic Chippewa City and Renville County Historical Museum.

Minneopa State Park, Mankato

Drives

Noteworthy

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway Drive through history on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway. Take the road that connects sites in Minnesota where Laura and her family lived and traveled. Visit the Spring Valley Methodist Church Museum in Spring Valley where Laura and her husband attended services.

Great River Road Frontenac State Park, Frontenac

Follow the Mississippi River on the 565-mile long Great River Road. Drive through dramatic bluff land, lakes and forests, enchanting towns and a variety of outdoor activities.

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>

Southern Lakes REGION

Southern Lakes REGION

Fairmont

Visit some of the 10,000+ lakes of Minnesota in the Southern Lakes Region. Enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and experience the well preserved history and local towns. TRAVEL THROUGH HISTORY

Dive into the infamous history of Jesse James, an American outlaw, bank and train robber in the 1800’s. The First National Bank in Northfield is the site of the James-Younger Gang Bank Raid in 1876. This is where the outlaws were stopped by the townspeople in their plan to rob the

Play on land and on water across the region bank. Some of the gang, including Jesse James escaped. To celebrate this victory Northfield has the Defeat of Jesse James Day every year, the weekend after Labor Day. Also experience the Outlaw Trail that includes 13 stops along the gang’s escape route. Visit Le Sueur to see the W.W. Mayo House. In 1859, Dr. William Worrall Mayo built this home and would later go on to open his first medical practice in the upstairs portion of the home. Take a tour of the home to learn about the Mayo Family and the history of the home.

This 360-acre site includes a visitor center, a pond and prairie, many external historical buildings such as a one room schoolhouse and a 1930’s farmstead. View the history of bicycles displayed on the 16-foot walls inside the Rydjor Bike Museum in Austin. Each of the 80+ bicycles on display has its own story, beginning with the 1868 “Boneshaker” and includes one of the late Robin Williams’ bikes. View the evolution of bicycles up to the most current styles.

Travel to Farmamerica in Waseca.

Learn about the different kinds of reptiles that are at the RAD Zoo in Medford. The Steele County Historical Society, established in 1949, has the Village of Yesteryear and 19 structures for visitors to enjoy.

RAD Zoo, Medford

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Dunnell House, Steele County Historical Society, Owatonna


IN TOWN VISITS

Check out unique gifts at the Austin ArtWorks Center, appreciate a book at Sweet Reads and enjoy many delightful dining options. Stop in Blue Earth to visit the famous Green Giant Statue Park to see the 55-foot statue. Then visit the Giant Museum with the largest collection of Jolly Green Giant memorabilia in the world and learn about the history of the canning factory.

> SAKATAH LAKE STATE PARK | WATERVILLE Explore the 842 acre state park on a natural widening of the Cannon River. > MN STATE PUBLIC SCHOOL ORPHANAGE MUSEUM | OWATONNA Where 10,635 neglected children were sent between 1886 and 1945. It was once the third largest institution of its kind in the nation. > BAYSIDE WATER SKI SHOW | ALBERT LEA Bring the family and a picnic to take in the show at Edgewater Bay. > MARTIN COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL | FAIRMONT View the Internationally famous ‘Snake’ Bell Cobra-Rotary Wing Attack Helicopter 327 at the Martin County Veterans Memorial. The memorial honors the men and women of Martin County whose faithful loyalty and service in our armed forces, during times of war and peace, has helped preserve our nation’s freedom. > FLAME THEATRE | WELLS Catch your favorite movies at the historic theatre that was built in 1912. > HEATHER CURLING CLUB | MAPLETON Visit this Olympic training facility that has been in Mapleton since 1950.

See, touch and explore the experience of living rural at Heritage Acres in Fairmont. This agricultural interpretive center was created and designed to tell the ongoing story of farming. Experience the thrill of skydiving at Skydive Northstar, Waseca. Climb in the aircraft to 10,000 feet and parachute down to see breathtaking views. Take a jump course to train for a solo skydive.

Heather Curling Club, Mapleton

Spend a weekend at Traxler’s Hunting Preserve from August through April during pheasant hunting season. Stay a night in one of their furnished lodges and grab dinner at the on site restaurant. The Fairmont Opera House was built in 1901 and still houses live performances that adds to life of the arts in this bustling area.

Traxler’s Hunting Preserve, Le Center

Fairmont Opera House, Fairmont

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REGION

Taste delightful, small-town food in Faribault. The restaurants range in flavor from Asian to Italian to American. Stay in the Historic Hutchinson House B&B for a wonderful experience. Then enjoy a day of shopping in local boutiques for interesting finds and small town shopping adventures.

Top Southern Lakes Attractions

Southern Lakes

Discover blocks of unique buildings full of local shops offering apparel, antiques, furniture, oils and vinegars in the historic downtown area of Northfield. Stop to eat and drink at one of the many restaurants, cafes and breweries in the area. Enjoy a wonderful view of Cannon River while exploring.


REGION

Southern Lakes

WINTER ADVENTURES

TRAILS

PARKS

Cross country ski in one of the many state parks in the region, including Rice Lake State Park and Sakatah Lake State Park.

Spend the day exploring Cedar Creek Park, Fairmont. This 260 acre park is home to miles of paved trails, unpaved trails, and three 18 hole DiscGolf Courses. Picnic tables and grills are available, so pack a lunch and enjoy the adventure.

Big fun comes at the splash pad, Heritage Park in Mapleton.

Explore the 500 plus acres on snowshoes at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Snowmobile through the 180 miles of countryside trails in Le Sueur County. Go ice fishing on Fairmont’s Chain of Lakes for Walleye, Northern Pike and Yellow Bass.

Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, Austin

Walk through nature at the Schimek Park Conservation Area in Good Thunder. The park offers a calm serene area for a picnic. Take in the sights on the 11 miles of trails in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Faribault.

Cedar Creek Park, Fairmont

Splash through summer at the Fairmont Aquatic Park while trying out your climbing skills at the Aquaclimb or racing down our 125′ speed slide. Float through summer at River Springs Water Park in Owatonna. Enjoy the lazy river, water slide and the lily pad walk. Horace Austin State Park is home to an outdoor Olympic size pool, water slides, and splash pad.

Ramsey Falls,Waterpark, RedwoodOwatonna Falls, MN River Springs

CAMPING

WILD LIFE & BIRDING

FISHING

Visit Kiesler’s Campground & RV Resort in Waseca for a 18-hole miniature golf course, basketball, volleyball and more.

Steinberg Nature Park in Blue Earth has 33 acres of prairie plants, river views, woodlands, birding and natural habitat.

Go fishing for a variety of species in Fountain Lake, a 521 acre lake near Albert Lea. Find Black Bullhead, Flathead Catfish, Carp, White Crappie, and many more.

Travel to Kamp Dels, Waterville, for camping, cabins, water park and other planned activities. Spend a night or weekend at Daly Park Campground in Mapleton to enjoy their tent camp sites and nature trail. Experience top-notch campsites, events and services at Brookside Campground in Blooming Prairie.

Kiesler’s Campground, Waseca

Myre Island State Park, Albert Lea hosts a variety of habitats which contributes to incredible possibilities of bird sightings in the park. View waterfowl in the Great Marsh area and sparrows in the Woodlands.

Myre Island State Park, Albert Lea

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Travel to Elysian Lake, Waseca County to explore the 2,215 acre lake for a day of fishing for Bullheads, Bluegill and Bass. Spend a day fishing on Lake Francis in Le Sueur County on the 927 acre lake with a depth of 60 ft. Fish for Bullheads, Bluegill and Bass.

Lake Francis, Le Sueur County by Jess Meek


Southern Lakes

REGION

Caron Park, Rice County

by Jessica-Bohlken

Road Trip

a trip to the Southern Lakes region of Minnesota to > Take explore in and between some of Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes. Northfield is the home of the Cowling Arboretum of Carleton College. The Arboretum holds 150 acres of prairie restoration that provides excellent bird and wildlife watching opportunities.

theaters remaining in the state of Minnesota. Then learn about some history at the Hormel Historic Home and rejuvenate at The Elam House, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home.

Visit Faribault next to experience the beauty of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Known for its wildflowers, large hardwood trees and fall colors, this state park is open year round for hiking and camping.

Northfield

Cowling Arboretum

Dundas

Northfield

St. Peter Waterville

Albert Lea is next on the trip with the Summer Pelican Breeze and Fall show at Marion Ross Performing Arts Center and the Three Oaks Vineyard and Winery.

Faribault Owatonna

Janesville

35

Last on the road trip is Austin to see the well known SPAM® Museum, explore nature at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, experience the Paramount Theatre; only 1 of 4 atmospheric

Austin

useum Spam® M

Albert Lea 23

Art Fair, Northfield

Austin

Goat Yoga at Farmamerica, Waseca

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31


REGION

Southern Lakes

Park Here

A variety of safe, outdoor activities for all ages make Fairmont the perfect place for your day trip or weekend outing. You’ll find over 550 acres of green space in our city parks. Enjoy Lakeside Dining, 18 Holes of Mini Golf, Fishing, Kayak Launch and 54 Holes of Disc Golf, all within city limits.

VisitFairmontMN.com @VisitFairmontMN

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Southern Lakes REGION

Austin Artworks Center, Austin

Sisseton Lake, Fairmont

Village of Yesteryear, Owatonna

Defeat of Jesse James Days, Northfield

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>

Bluff Country REGION

Bluff Country

REGION

Lake Pepin Overlook

MAKE MEMORIES, TAKE IN ROLLING HILLS AND VALLEY VIEWS, MARVEL AT THE VISTAS WHILE EXPLORING THIS QUAINT YET MAJESTIC REGION. Long ago glacial meltwater shaped deep valleys and limestone bluffs, underground caverns and high rolling hills, creating what is now called the “driftless area”. TRAVEL THROUGH HISTORY Drive along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway that links sites where Laura and her family lived. Visit places Laura and her family

Over Hills and Valleys . . . Find Your Path >

traveled, including the Spring Valley Methodist Church Museum, built in 1876, attended by Laura and her husband Almanzo.

running hotel dating back to 1879. Charles Lindbergh stayed here in 1923 during one of the aviator’s barnstorming tours.

Travel back in time to Historic Forestville, located within Forestville/ Mystery Cave State Park. Get a taste of what life was like in the late 1800’s with a guided tour exploring the choices that changed the path of a once-thriving community’s history. Costumed interpreters in period clothing perform daily tasks.

Minnesota’s oldest county historical society, the Goodhue County Historical Society, Red Wing, was chartered in 1869. Watkins Museum & Store, Winona is a great place to see the company’s 149-year history with displays of old products, photographs and advertising. Visit the History Center of Olmsted County, Rochester, which spreads across 54-acres and includes two historic farmsteads, historic buildings and the History Center museum.

Mabel House Hotel, Mabel, a once bustling town, declares itself the Minnesota’s oldest continuously

At Red Wing Shoe Co. Museum see the company that changed work boots forever and pose with the iconic 16-foot tall boot. Stay in the Iron Horse Outfitters Inn with modern accommodations with an 1890’s feel In Lanesboro. Stop by the Yah Sure You Betcha Shoppe in Spring Grove which features a fun blend of gifts, apparel and more. Red Wing Shoe Museum, Red Wing

34 | exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide 2021

Historic Downtown, Lanesboro


IN TOWN VISITS

Top Bluff Country Attractions > INTERNATIONAL OWL CENTER | HOUSTON There are lots of static and interactive displays where people can learn more about owls and how you can help them. > PEARL OF THE LAKE PADDLEBOAT | LAKE CITY Modern-day replica of the grand riverboats that traveled on the Mississippi River in the 1800s. > NIAGARA CAVE | HARMONY See natural canyon-like passageways sculpted by water from an underground stream.

Salem Glen Winery in Rochester features their own wine and cider made from local orchards and their own cold hardy grapes! Experience Minnesota’s largest winery at Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery, Spring Valley. Enjoy the 6-acre vineyard’s winery, cidery and restaurant. Visit Garvin Heights Vineyards, Winona, for wine tasting and events on the bluffs. Take in a professional live play at the famous Commonweal Theatre in beautiful Lanesboro.

> MAYOWOOD MANSION | ROCHESTER Take a tour of this 38-room mansion, completed in 1911.

Stop in Amish Experience, Lanesboro for home decor, gifts and more. Experience an Amish tour while you’re there! Find solid hardwood furniture and Amish craftsmanship at Countryside Furniture, Harmony.

> LARK TOYS + SVJ CREATIVE DESIGNS | KELLOGG Lark Toys was voted the Best Toy Store in Minnesota by WCCO. Ride the hand-carved carousel. Just up the road is SVJ Creative’s 3,000+ concrete statues from garden gnomes to life-size hero statues.

> WHITEWATER STATE PARK This 2,700 acre park offers cross-country skiing, fishing, wildlife, and plenty of history. > HISTORIC FORESTVILLE | PRESTON Tour guides wearing period costumes will perform daily tasks and tell you about late 1800’s life. > MARINE ART MUSEUM | WINONA From Audubon to Monet, there is something for everyone at this diamond in the bluffs. > POTTERY MUSEUM OF RED WING | RED WING 6,000+ vintage pieces of artisan-crafted stoneware, art pottery, dinnerware & folk art dozens of exhibits covering 13,000 sq. ft.. > NATIONAL EAGLE CENTER | WABASHA Home to non-releasable bald and golden eagles, offering guided and behind the scene tours and special events.

Go antiquing at Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co., Lake City for great finds on Lake Pepin. Multiple stores at The Pottery Place, Red Wing offer treasures to antique and gift shops and eateries. Check out Bee Balm, Harmony for clothing, shoes and accessories, vintage and antique pieces. Eyota Antiques, Eyota offers antiques, collectibles and toys . National Eagle Center, Wabasha

Hok-Si-La Municipal Park and Campground is open year round for fishing, hiking, camping, biking, picnics and more on the bluff shores of Lake Pepin. This 22-mile long lake is the birthplace of water skiing. See Minnesota’s only remaining original functioning covered bridge in Zumbrota built in 1869. Bring your horse camping with you at Zumbro Bottoms Horse Campgrounds in Kellogg. Hok-Si-La Municipal Park, Lake City

Covered Bridge, Zumbrota

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REGION

Grab a beer while traveling alongside the Mississippi River at Hoppy Girl Brewing LLC., Wabasha, Red Wing Brewery, Red Wing or Readings Landing Brewery, Reads Landing. Enjoy the unique and unforgettable flavors of craft beer brewed on site.

Bluff Country

Stop for delicious baked goods, apples and more at Blossom Hill Orchard and Farm, Preston. Choose from over 30 varieties of apples. You can take a bite there or bring apples home for some tasty baking. Stop in at Pepin Heights, Lake City for SweetTango apples.


REGION

Bluff Country

WINTER ADVENTURES

SHOPPING

PARKS

Cross country ski along the majestic Root River Trail. There are 30 miles of set track from Isinours Forest Recreation Area in Preston to the bridge outside of Houston.

The Front Porch Market in Plainview; an occasional Market held typically the third weekend of each month featuring hand made along with vintage and market finds.

Hike the Wildflower Trail in May at Carley State Park, just NE of Rochester, for beautiful views of bluebell flowers.

Snowshoe in the Great River Bluffs State Park or one of the many state parks in the region. Check out the Minnesota DNR Interactive Map online for miles of snowmobile trails in Fillmore and Houston Counties. Ice fish on Lake Pepin. Catch Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass.

The Boutique Station in Peterson has women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry and more. The Country Side Antique Mall is a 12,000 sq. ft destination in Cannon Falls that features a 60-dealer variety of antiques, vintage wears and collectibles.

Country Side Antique Mall, Cannon Falls

Lake City

Hike through Frontenac State Park any season of the year for beautiful views of the bluffs and Lake Pepin. Experience views of the bluffs and goat prairies in Great River Bluffs State Park. Spend a weekend in Beaver Creek Valley State Park for Trout fishing, camping and spring woodland flowers. See park info on pg 24 & 25.

Frontenac State Park, Frontenac

BOATING

WILDLIFE & BIRDING

FISHING AND HUNTING

Canoe, kayak, sail, paddle board, and motor boat in Bluff Country this summer.

Visit Hvoslef WMA, a wildlife management in Amherst. See wildflowers, hardwood forests and numerous birds in the area.

Go hunting on the thousands of acres of Wildlife Management Area across Southeastern Minnesota.

Experience the wonder of wildlife in Beaver Creek Valley State Park. Watch warblers and songbirds perching throughout the park.

Go fishing in various streams throughout Fillmore County to catch Trout, White Sucker, Blacknose Dace, Slimy Sculpin, Brook Stickleback, and Longnose Dace.

Take a sailboat out onto scenic Lake Pepin. Check out a boat at Lake City Boat Club and Rentals Travel to Lake Zumbro in Mazeppa for summer fun. Get a canoe at Zumbro Valley Canoe Rental. Visit Lake Winona to rent a canoe, kayak, paddle board, and liberty boat from Lake Lodge Recreation Center.

Lake Winona

See Waterfowl, Least Bittern and Commmon Moorhen in La Crescent. Go birding along MN26 south of Reno that consists of many observation pullouts.

Lake Pepin

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Fish in Lake Zumbro in Mazeppa for black and white Crappie, Bluegill and Channel Catfish.

Root River, Preston


Historic Bluff Country

Scenic Byway & Root River Trail

Road Trip Amish near Harmony

your trip to Historic Bluff Country and get ready for the > Start incredible views the area has to offer. As you approach Bluff Country the hills grow taller and longer, unveiling stunning views of the land and unique cities as you drive along HWY 16.

Jump on the Root River Trail in Fountain. Hike, bike, skate, run or walk the trail for three seasons and in the winter you can cross country ski! Enjoy all 10 Root River trail towns all year long. Experience the wonders of the Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park with a tour of the cave formations along with pools and dramatic linear passageways. On your way to Lanesboro enjoy the overlook views of the valley from HWY 16.

Spring Valley

16

Enjoy your day in Lanesboro. Grab a dish of ice cream at Another Time Ice Cream Parlor & Chocolates. Shop in downtown Lanesboro for a casual afternoon with the family and stop for a bite at one of the local restaurants.

ve

a Mystery C

The smallest town on the trail is Whalan. Take a break from the Root River Trail at the Aroma Pie Shop just off the bike path. Revel in Minnesota’s history in Peterson at the Peterson Museum and Visitor Center. Shop for Scandinavian gifts at Norsland Lefse in Rushford. Learn more about owls at the International Owl Center in Houston.

International Ow

l Center Housto

Peterson Rushford Preston

Forestville Mystery Caves State Park

Root River Trail

Forestville

Whalan Lanesboro Harmony

16

n

Houston

Peterson exploresouthernminnesota.com • SOMN Travel Guide |

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Bluff Country REGION

Rose Gardens at Lake Park, Winona

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REGION

Bluff Country La Crescent, MN Scheduled Events

EVENTS

BLOCK PARTY ON MAIN Saturday, June 26

ANNUAL GOLF SCRAMBLE Friday, July 16

LIZFEST AND APPLE BLOSSOM BIKE TOUR Saturday, August 14 lacrescentmn.com

Visit La Crescent for Apple Blossoms and Fresh Picked Apples

Your Southern Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Destination! Fountain | Harmony | Houston | Lanesboro Peterson | Preston | Rushford Rushford Village | Whalan

COMMUNITY RUMMAGE SALE

Saturday, September 4

73RD ANNUAL APPLE FESTIVAL

60+ Miles of Paved Trail in Beautiful Bluff Country!

September 16-19

ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW, CAR SHOW & FLEA MARKET Saturday, September 18

FLEA MARKET & KING APPLE PARADE Sunday, September 19

Visit www.rootrivertrail.org for trip ideas, a directory of businesses along the trail and more!

Niagara Cave, Harmony

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Bluff Country REGION

Root River Trail

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Instagrammable

Spots

Southern Lakes

REGION

Visit these spots to take photos and surprise your followers with the breathtaking views, natural wonders, and unique cultural elements that make SOMN a perfect region.

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Red Wing Boot,

Red Wing

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Memor


SOMN

Guide Supporters

Reach out to these supporters for travel tips and more information about their attractions.

MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY

PIPESTONE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND VISITORS BUREAU, PG. 19

LA CRESCENT AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & TOURISM, PG. 40

GRANITE FALLS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, PG. 10

www.pipestoneminnesota.com

www.lacrescentmn.com

PLUM CREEK PARK, PG.19

LAKE CITY TOURISM, PG. 39

www.plumcreekpark.com

www.visitlakecity.org

ST. JAMES CVB, PG. 20

LAKE PEPIN CAMPGROUND | LAKE CITY, PG. 39

www.visitgranitefalls..com www.granitefallseda.com NEW ULM CHAMBER/CVB, PG. 11

www.newulm.com/chamber-ofcommerce NICOLLET COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND ST. PETER AREA CVB, PG. 11

www.nchsmn.org REDWOOD AREA CHAMBER AND TOURISM, PG. 10

www.redwoodfalls.org SCHELL’S BREWERY | NEW ULM, PG. 11

www.discoverstjamesmn.com WORTHINGTON AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU, BACK COVER

www.lakepepincampground.com LARK TOYS, PG. 38

www.larktoys.com

www.worthingtonmnchamber. com

NATIONAL EAGLE CENTER, PG. 38

SOUTHERN LAKES

PRIDE OF NATIONS, PG. 38

www.nationaleaglecenter.org

www.explorealbertlea.com

www.facebook.com/ wabashamnprideofthenations

AUSTIN CVB, PG. 33

PRESTON TOURISM, PG. 40

ALBERT LEA CVB, PG. 32

www.austinmn.com

www.gethookedonpreston.com RED WING CVB, PG. 41

www.sleepyeyechamber.com

BLUE EARTH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU, PG. 32

VISIT MANKATO, PG. 12

www.blueearthchamber.com

www.visitgreatermankato.com

VISIT FAIRMONT, PG. 32

WESTERN PRAIRIE WATERS, PG. 10

www.visitfairmontmn.com

www.rootrivertrail.org SVJ CREATIVE DESIGNS, PG. 38

www.prairiewaters.com

VISIT WASECA, PG. 33

www.discoverwaseca.com

www.svjcreativedesigns.com

PRAIRIE LAND

BLUFF COUNTRY

THE CHOCOLATE ESCAPE, PG. 38

JACKSON CVB, PG. 20

www.jacksonmn.com

ANDERSON HOUSE HOTEL, PG. 38

LUVERNE AREA CVB, PG. 2

www.eaglesontheriver.com

www.luvernechamber.com

COFFEE MILL-THE BLUFFS, PG. 38

www.turningwatersbrewery.com

www.coffeemillgolf.com

www.wabashamn.org

www.schellsbrewery.com SLEEPY EYE CVB, PG. 12

MARSHALL CVB, PG. 18 www.visitmarshallmn.com MURRAY COUNTY, PG. 19

www.murraycountymn.com

HARMONY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, PG.41

www.exploreharmony.com

www.redwing.org ROOT RIVER TRAILS INBETWEEN PRESTON AND LANESBORO, PG. 40

www.thechocolateescape.com TURNING WATERS B&B AND BREWERY, PG. 38 WABASHA CVB, PG. 38 WILLOWS ON THE RIVER | LAKE CITY, PG. 39

www.willowsontheriver.com

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