Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway links together some of the most scenic, historic, cultural, natural, and recreational resources in the area. Traveling through the small towns and quaint communities along the byway, visitors find attractions that include restaurants, art galleries, theaters, antique shops, historic homes and sites, state parks, and lodging opportunities from B&B’s to motels to camping. Visitors also encounter a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including canoeing, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and trout fishing. The Root River offers water-related recreation while the Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails offer miles of trail for a variety of users.
Great River Road is a designated National Scenic Byway that follows the route of the Mississippi River. Beginning at the headwaters, the Byway winds through the small towns of northern Minnesota and through the Twin Cities, and continues south along Highway 61 to La Crescent, then south to Iowa on Highway 26. The Great River Road offers travelers an opportunity to experience the Mississippi River Valley, Minnesota’s lakes and forests, dramatic bluff lands, a variety of outdoor recreation and wildlife, and the enchantment of small town and metropolitan life found along the Mississippi.
Apple Blossom Drive looks down upon the beautiful Mississippi River Valley while winding its way through bountiful apple orchards that blanket hillsides. Located in the northeast section of Historic Bluff Country, this Minnesota State Scenic Byway is 17 miles long and follows Highway 29 from La Crescent, Dakota, and Nodine. In the Spring, the apple blossoms fill the air with flowery fragrance and picturesque views. Autumn offers unique opportunities for viewing the scenic fall colors, as well as roadside apple stands, apple picking, cider, Indian corn, and pumpkins.
MnDOT and the DNR collaborate to manage wildflowers and native grasses along the route of the Shooting Star Wildflower and Historic Route Scenic Byway, one of the first designated wildflower routes in the state. In the southwestern part of Historic Bluff Country, the route follows TH 56, passing through rich agricultural land and small rural towns that offer historical, recreational, and scenic experiences of their own. Additionally, Lake Louise State Park is located along the Byway where visitors and area residents can enjoy the Minnesota Prairie.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway allows travelers to follow the route of Laura across the northern states, linking sites where she and her family lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. Within Historic Bluff Country, this historic route takes visitors to Spring Valley where Laura lived with her husband, Almanzo, and daughter, Rose from 1890 to 1891.
A portion of TH 52 in Fillmore County has been designated by the State of Minnesota as the Amish Buggy Byway. This Byway stretches from TH 16 near Preston to TH 44 near the city of Prosper. The Amish community of approximately 700 residents is concentrated in the area around Canton and Harmony and are frequent users of this route. Most of the Amish farmsteads are located off the highway on country roads; however, the Byway offers an opportunity to witness the old-time lifestyle of the Amish. The 55 mile-per-hour speed limit and special signs marking the Byway are intended to help accommodate the safety of Amish travelers along TH 52.