Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails

Snapshot virtual tour

Welcome to the virtual tour for the Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley state trails! Experience small towns, museums, and miles of lovely countryside along these trails. We hope the tour prompts you to visit these state trails in person sometime soon.

Root River State Trail main page
Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail main page

Photo of the southernmost point of the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail. A playground, restrooms, and water are located at the trailhead in Harmony.



You have arrived at the southernmost point of the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail. A playground, restrooms, and water can all be found near the trailhead. The city of Harmony welcomes you with a vibrant downtown, a community center, and plenty of things to do. Use caution when biking on the steep, hilly segment that winds south to Harmony.

Captioned video: Harmony to Hutton
(1 minute 34 seconds)

Photo of the the landscape once the site of the old town of Hutton.



You will not see any signs or buildings remaining in this area that was once the town of Hutton. If you are headed south towards Harmony, you will soon be bearing down to make the climb out of the valley and up to the bluff tops for some outstanding panoramic views of the countryside.

Captioned video: Hutton to Preston
(1 minute 49 seconds)

Photo of the the city of Preston, along the trail.



Explore a very active town with shops, restaurants, and the National Trout Center. History enthusiast will enjoy restored railroad cars and a grain elevator dating back to the 1800s. From this trailhead (with water and restrooms), you can travel north to the Root River State Trail or take the Preston-Harmony State Trail 12 miles south to the city of Harmony. A third option is to travel a mile along the banks of the South Branch Root River on the city-owned Trout Run Trail.

Captioned video: Preston to trail junction
(1 minute 23 seconds)

Photo of the the trail head at the city of Fountain, which offers historically minded visitors the Fillmore County Historical Museum (one block west of the trailhead).



Depending on your journey, you have now reached either the beginning or the end of the Root River State Trail. At the nearby trailhead you have access to restrooms, water, a playground, and a shelter. You are only a few blocks from downtown where you will find restaurants and stores. While you are here, stop and see the Fillmore County Historical Museum (one block west of the trailhead).

Captioned video: Fountain to trail junction
(1 minute 40 seconds)

Photo of a the trail junction of the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail and Root River State Trail.


Trail Junction

About halfway between Lanesboro and Fountain, you can choose to remain on the Root River State Trail or head south on the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail. A conveniently located rest area at the trail junction offers a spot to sit as you choose your direction. At this point, you are 5.5 miles from Preston, 6.5 miles from Fountain, and 5 miles from Lanesboro. Adventure awaits you…whichever route you take.

Captioned video: trail junction to Lanesboro
(1 minute 16 seconds)

Photo of the downtown area of historic Lansboro, a place that welcomes trail visitors with many things to do.



You will find no shortage of things to do in the City of Lanesboro. Explore the arts, music, theater, fine foods, antiquing, camping, canoeing, tubing, fishing, golf, and much more. Much of the downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Captioned video: Lanesboro to Whalan.
(1 minute 51 seconds)

Photo of a trail visitors traveling through the city of Whalan.



Welcome to the smallest town on the trail. Once a bustling center of commerce in the railroad days, you will now find a quaint little town nestled along the Root River. A parking lot, water, restrooms, a playground, and shelter await your arrival.

Captioned video: Whalan to Peterson
(1 minute 27 seconds)

Photo of the trail visitors enjoying a picnic along the banks of the Root River.



Just outside the City of Peterson, take a break from your efforts and relax along the banks of the Root River. Escape from the sun and be soothed by the sound of the water flowing past. Enjoy food and an excellent museum in Peterson during your travels.

Captioned video: Peterson to Rushford
(1 minute 21 seconds)

Photo of Rushford's restored 1800s railroad depot located along the trail.



Stop in the City of Rushford and a treasure trove of historic items can be found in the restored 1800s railroad depot owned and operated by the Rushford Historical Society. Free admission gets you into the living quarters of former station masters and thousands of items from bygone days. You can continue your trip into the past by visiting other historic buildings that have been moved onto the site, including: a one-room school house, an old jail, and a chapel.

Captioned video: Rushford to Houston
(2 minutes 13 seconds)

Photo of a biker traveling by the trail head in the town of Houston by the nature center.



Depending on your journey, this is either the beginning or the end of the Root River State Trail. The trailhead in the town of Houston provides ample parking, tent camping, showers, a natural playground, native prairie plantings, bicycle art, and a city owned and operated nature center. Bikers should use caution when traveling on the steep segment between Houston and Vinegar Ridge.

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