Make like a tree and ‘leaf’ to see these views

October 12, 2018

The trees are turning, the leaves are changing, but soon enough, it’ll be winter. Make the most of these scant weeks of glorious fall scenery by going on a color walk, bike, or drive. We’ve rounded up our favorite trails and roads in and outside of Rochester – so bundle up, pack a thermos of cider, and go admire some autumn leaves.

1. Bear Creek Trail in Rochester

Leave your car at Bear Creek Park near Mayo High School and walk or bike down nearly seven miles of paved trails along the river. In the summer, this path is hailed as a cool, shady exercise spot, which means that when fall arrives, those overhangs turn red, orange and yellow.

2. Douglas State Trail in Rochester

Technically, this one only starts in our town. The 12.5-mile trail continues outward through the small town of Douglas (its namesake) and ends in Pine Island. The Minnesota DNR notes that it’s level and wheelchair-accessible.

3. Root River State Bike Trail in Lanesboro

This covers 42 miles through towering limestone bluffs, forests, and wildlife (including wild turkeys and deer). What more could you want?

4. Highway 61

It’s one of the most beautiful scenic drives in SE Minnesota – take your car out along the Mississippi and feel free to pause in Red Wing to stretch your legs. You may even want to stop at Frontenac State Park for an afternoon of hiking, while you’re at it.

5. Whitewater State Park in Winona

On the subject of state parks, Whitewater is the real hiking destination for Rochesterites. Keep an eye on the website for Fall Color Walks and plan your own visit in mid-October for maximum fall exposure.

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