Make the Cannon Valley Trail Fall’s Last Hurrah

You just need two wheels and a picnic

Dunno ’bout y’all, but we want to squeeze in as many last-minute fall rides as we can. The Cannon Valley Trail is a great one, stretching 19.7 miles from Cannon Falls to Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. The well-maintained path follows the route of a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line that once connected Red Wing to Mankato.

There are several notable stops along the Cannon Valley Trail, including a prairie dotted with late-summer wildflowers (mile marker 1.6), a scenic overlook perched 40 feet above the Cannon River (mile 2.6), the Cannon River Turtle Preserve Scientific and Natural Area just downstream from Welch (mile 12.3), and a wetland observation deck (mile 15.8).

The Anderson Memorial Rest at mile 3.8 is a favorite picnicking spot, complete with toilets and a half-mile hiking loop through a forest of sugar maples, black walnut, and ash trees. And the best picnicking provisions, of course, can be found at Artisan Plaza food hall in Cannon Falls.

Note: Wheel passes are required for adults between April 1 and November 1. A day pass is $5 and a season pass is $25; both can be purchased online. Pets are not allowed unfortunately, and that includes in baskets and bike trailers. Need to rent a bike? Reserve one of six foldable 3-speeds from the iBike Port in Welch. Onsite payment is not accepted, so be sure to book in advance.