The Cannon Valley Trail is a 19.7 mile long trail that runs through diverse and spectacular scenery on a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line connecting the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing in beautiful southeastern Minnesota.
Paralleling the Cannon River, the Trail offers glimpses and panoramas of the valley and gradually descends 115 feet in elevation from Cannon Falls to Red Wing. From overhanging cliffs to views of extensive wetland complexes, nature’s seasonal changes are vividly displayed.
The Trail is open year round for bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, similar wheeled recreational devices, hiking, walking and cross country skiing. Trail users age 18 or older must have a valid Wheel Pass when using the trail from April 1st – November 1st. The Great Minnesota Ski Pass is required to cross-country ski on the Cannon Valley Trail.
2017 Cannon Valley Trail Comprehensive Plan Update
The Cannon Valley Trail 2017 Comprehensive Plan Update was adopted by the Cannon Valley Trail Joint Powers Board on May 23rd, 2017. The Comprehensive Plan, also known as a General Plan or a Master Plan, is a document designed to guide the future actions of the Cannon Valley Trail. It presents a vision for the future, with long-range goals and objectives for all activities that affect the Cannon Valley Trail. You can view the plan here:
Trail manager, Scott Roepke, attend a SMART (Southeastern Minnesota Association of Regional Trails) meeting on May 11th at Silver Lake Park in Rochester. SMART is a group of trail advocates working together to connect trails locally, regionally and to neighboring states. SMART is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and includes representatives from 11 counties in southeastern Minnesota (Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Winona and Mower. SMART’s primary objectives are:
- To provide a forum for trail related discussions and recommendations.
- To enhance the southeastern Minnesota trails system through educational materials, such as brochures, websites, and maps.
- To assure connectivity locally, regionally, and to neighboring states.
- To explore existing and seek new trail funding sources and partnerships from:
- Private and corporate entitiesFederal, state, regional, and local units of government
- City park and recreation departments
- State highway and county road right-of-way partnerships
- To develop cooperative relationships and work in concert with private and corporate organizations and with federal, state, regional, and local units of government.
Roepke spoke to the group about the Cannon Valley Trail Comprehensive Plan Update. Discussion included aging bridges and bituminous, widening the bituminous from 8 feet to 10 feet, flooding/erosion issues, trail connections, new modern restrooms, education and interpretation, natural and cultural resource improvements, and community partnerships.
The Cannon Valley Trail has been accepted as part of National Geographic’s Geotourism – Mississippi River project. Geotourism is a growing trend across the world and encompasses Places To Go, Where To Stay, and Things To Do along the entire length of the Mississippi River.