Harmony-Preston Valley segment

Root River/Harmony-Preston Valley Trail Location
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check boxRest area
check boxCamping

Hiking Hiking
Biking Biking
In-line Skating In-line skating
Cross-country Skiing Skiing
Wheelchair access Wheelchair access
(electric wheelchairs allowed)


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Come and enjoy Minnesota hospitality, southeastern style. The paved Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail is a beautiful 18 mile long multiple use trail that connects the communities of Harmony and Preston with the existing Root River State Trail. Main summer uses are hiking, biking and in-line skating. The trail is groomed for cross country skiing in the winter.

The northern two-thirds of the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail follows or crosses Watson Creek, the South Branch of the Root River, and Camp Creek, passing through a variety of wooded areas and farmland on an abandoned railroad grade. this section is wheelchair accessible. Three fishing platforms provide access to trout fishing in Camp Creek just outside of Preston.

Unlike the northern segment of this trail, the southern segment was not constructed upon an abandoned railroad grade. The southern segment of the trail between County 16 and Harmony climbs out of the river valley, and angles cross country into Harmony. The trail rises up and down over a number of little hills and is punctuated with a rather strenuous incline that may not be suitable for all users.

Although Harmony and Preston were both settled in the 1850's, the cities are quite different in appearance. Harmony was developed upon the agricultural uplands above the Root River valley while Preston is located within the valley. Both communities speak to a very different time in Minnesota's history with several preserved buildings and interpretive opportunities.


  • Preston: Hwy 52 to Fillmore Street (same as Co. 12), approximately ½ mile to the parking lot.
  • Harmony: Hwy 52, to 4th Street NW, approximately ½ mile west to the parking lot.
  • Fountain: From Hwy 52 take County Road 8 about one mile to parking lot by city park/softball field.
  • Lanesboro: Parking is available in the lot next to the Bass Pond off of County 8. Additional parking is available along the streets and at the parking lot by the Community Center/Sylvan Park.
  • Whalan: Parking on streets.
  • Peterson: From Hwy 16, turn into Peterson on Mill Street, go ½ mile to Fillmore Street, turn left to the city campground/softball field. Parking is also available along the streets.
  • Rushford: From Hwy 16, turn north on Elm Street, go one block. Parking lot is a restored railroad depot.
  • Houston: Turn west on Plum Street off of Hwy 76, go one block. Gravel parking lot will be paved during the summer of 2000.

Do not leave valuables in your car.

Nearby DNR recreational areas
-Forestville State Park, -Beaver Creek Valley State Park, -Root River Water Trail, -R.J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest, -Rushford Sand Barrens S.N.A., -Root River State Trail.

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