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 Purple Tour

Drive east from Caledonia on Hwy 249 (part of this route is gravel) past the Houston County Historical Pioneer Village and Museum on the Houston County Fairgrounds, winding along beautiful Crooked Creek Valley with its old building foundations and logging trails on the bluffs. Watch for wild turkeys.

At Freeburg visit the fossil stone cross in the graveyard.  A few miles along, note the Evangelical Country Church, built in 1895, and old log buildings.

Turn left and follow through Hokah on MN 26, driving along the Mississippi River bottom and the National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Eagles are spotted frequently on this route. Thousands of Tundra Swans gather in this area each November.  Brownsville is one of Minnesota's oldest towns on the main channel of the Mississippi. The little church in town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Caves in the bluffs were once used as refrigeration for apples and other perishables. Turn left on County Rd 18 along the Root River to see the Krazy K Stables horse ranch. Continue on County Rd 18 until the junction with MN Hwy 16 Scenic Byway at Hokah.  Follow Hwy 16 West to Houston past Valley High Golf Course and through the Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest and goat prairie.

From Houston you can turn left and follow MN Hwy 76. Turn left. Note the old Stone Church built in 1863 from stones quarried in the area. At the junction with Co. 4, you can turn right to the Yucatan Valley, which abounds in native American relics. Three miles past Yucatan on a wood-clad hillside are the Winnebago Indian Catacombs of Yucatan. Then two miles past the 125 year old Lutheran Church at Black Hammer is the "Black Hammer Stone Lady" on top of a tree-covered mound shaped like a hammer.

Venture back in time with a visit to Schech's Mill, off of Hwy 76 between Houston and Caledonia on County Rd 10. This is a National Historic Site mill that is still operating with water power.

From Hwy 76, drive east on Hwy 44 to Spring Grove, where you will find unique shops and a variety of lunch stops. Year ‘round enjoy a stroll along Main Street, the art gallery and City Park.  Summer visitors can cool off at the new SWIM Center. Just outside of Spring Grove and south on County Rd 4 you can enjoy the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails Park, newly repaired and launched in 2013.  Wilmington Church is located on County Rd 17 south of Hwy 44 east of Spring Grove.

Beaver Creek State Park located on County Rd 1 north of Caledonia off of Hwy 76, is great for camping, hiking, picnicking and birdwatching.  

More Driving Tours…

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