Once out of the Twin Cities, this loop follows the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers and countless lakes through serene landscapes that define the heartland. The best time to go is mid-May through September. Minnesotans love being outdoors in the summer, so plan accordingly.
Approximately 228 miles
Bob’s Java Hut, 2651 Lyndale Ave South, Minneapolis, MN.
River Rock Coffee, 301 South Minnesota Ave, St. Peter, MN, (507) 931-1540. Great coffee and tea, bakery, and dining with emphasis on sustainability.
Scenery (3 out of 5)
Mostly farmland, vacation spots, and views of water—this is the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Traffic (2 out of 5)
Light traffic except in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Highway 61 is busy on the weekends.
Difficulty (2 out of 5)
This is not a challenging route with only small elevation changes.
Road Conditions (3 out of 5)
Minnesota experiences harsh winters and some roads reflect this fact.
Points of Interest
Historic Fort Snelling
Built in the early 1820s, this national historic landmark is situated on the convergence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in St. Paul, MN. Admission is $ 6-$ 11. Prepare for crowds on the weekends.
Lock and Dam No. 2
Whereas the original lock is no longer used, the new lock built in 1948 includes a small power plant creating 4.4 megawatts of electricity. This dam can be found on Dam Road in Hastings, MN.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
An area in Bloomington, MN, of about 14,000 acres, established to protect migratory waterfowls, fish, and other wildlife that also offers a variety of free recreational experiences.
One of the more notable Minnesotan lakes located west-southwest of Minneapolis and St. Paul, this one offers all kinds of activities ranging from cruises to steamship and trolley rides.
Lake Minnetonka Drive-In
This classic American drive-in opened in 1961 and to this day is still a family business. Gear heads like to come here from March to October. A cheeseburger costs less than $ 4; 4658 Shoreline Dr, Spring Park, MN, (952) 471-9383.