Minnesota’s Bluff Country Destination

OUR MISSION:  “To establish the Historic Bluff Country Region of Southeastern Minnesota as a desirable travel destination, as well as to strengthen and improve the economic base of the area.”

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Hwy 16 Byway Bluff Country’s Green Tour

From Preston, the Fillmore County seat, travel US 52 South to MN Hwy 16 (a National Scenic Byway), turning left (east) at the junction.  Above Lanesboro, stop at the scenic lookout to see the Root River Valley spread out below.  

Prehistoric Lost Lake lies on the left (now a State Game Refuge) and state fish hatchery ponds to the right. Descend into Lanesboro, sample the Root River State Hiking, Biking and Skiing Trail, which continues east along MN 16 to Whalan, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston, with water-carved limestone and sandstone bluffs and hardwood trees.

Rushford offers several attractions between “Pickle Alley” and the Root River State Bike Trail in the downtown area.  Visit a restored train depot (the oldest two-story railroad depot in Minnesota still remaining on its original site), an historic church, a one-room school house and an old jail house. You’ll find many examples of Victorian architecture in the city as you travel along “Silk Stocking Avenue,” more recently known as Stevens Avenue. Immerse yourself in Scandinavian tradition with fresh Norwegian lefse and bakery products from Norsland Lefse. Enjoy the outdoors with a picnic in shady Creekside Park, a unique children's playground built by volunteers in just 5 days after being destroyed in the great flood of 2007. Grab a take-out lunch and head to the top of Magelssen Bluff with its fantastic hiking trails and lookouts to view the majestic Root River Valley.  Dine in at any of several local restaurants, cool off with one of 37 flavors of ice cream at The Creamery, or dine early and late at Stumpy’s Restaurant. Stock up on vacation supplies or gifts in the downtown shops, or groceries and fresh meat for the grill at Rushford Foods.

Next, turn south and take scenic MN 43 toward Mabel.  Bratsburg marks the end of the watershed for the middle branch of the Root River. Soon you will drop down into Choice and the picturesque valley of the Root's South Branch. At the junction     

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of MN 43 and Co. 44 stands the antique steam engine that is Mabel's trademark. Mabel's Steam Engine Museum details the history of this mighty machine. Travel west on Co. 44.   A short side-trip to Lenora (North on Hwy 23) brings you to the historic Lenora United Methodist Church, the first church built in Fillmore County (1856) and re-built in 1865.  The church is on the National Historic Register and is currently used for Christian ministry.  

Return to Hwy 44 and travel West to Canton and Harmony, the heart of Amish Country. Buggies and other horse-drawn equipment are common sights in this area.   Guided tours of the Amish settlement are available.

More Driving Tours…