Updated Cannon Valley Bike Rides

Posted by Doug Shidell, October 26th, 2015

The Cannon Valley, 40 miles south of the Twin Cities, offers a wide range of bike riding options. Most first time visitors come for the Cannon Valley Bike Trail, a paved 20 miles trail along the south side of the Cannon River. Views from the trail include panoramic overlooks near Cannon Falls and intimate river bottom near Red Wing. Trail passes cost $4 and all of the money is spent on maintaining and updating the trail. The Cannon Valley Trail also connects to city trails in Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

Road riders will enjoy County Road 1 as it climbs from the Mississippi River Valley in Red Wing to the rural highlands of Goodhue County Once out of the valley, low traffic roads roll up and down along the ridge top then drop through a long and steady descent to Cannon Falls.

Gravel road enthusiasts will find several options for branching off the trail and returning. More ambitious gravel riders will enjoy riding Welch Trail west from Welch Village to Cannon Falls This road twists and rolls from the Cannon Valley to the bluff tops and back down. The last couple of miles follow paved, low traffic Hwy 17 into Cannon Falls. This route will take you through Miesville Ravine Park Reserve, a minimally developed park reserve with picnic shelters and hiking trails.

Finally, you can explore the Mississippi River Bottoms by riding Collischan Road, a gravel road that climbs slightly from US Hwy 61, then drops into the backwaters of the Mississippi River. This road drops to marsh level and is subject to flooding in the spring, but that intimacy with the vast backwaters of the Mississippi River is part of its appeal. Two non-technical National Forest Service trails in the area go deeper into the woods along water ways and high bluffs. You will need a mountain bike and minimal riding skills to navigate the trails.

This is an area that lends itself well to full moon night rides. Time your rides for after the leaves fall so the moonlight can penetrate the woods and light the gravel roads. Riding the gravel roads and Forest Service trails in the autumn moonlight is an experience that you will want to repeat regularly.

All of the routes and trails are available on the mobile Cannon Valley Bike Rides

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News