The beautiful Midwest of America is full of hidden secrets. The Cannon Bike Valley Trail is just one example of the many gems found along this paradise stretch of America. I recently biked down this trail and was in awe of how truly wonderful it is!
The Cannon Valley Bike trail is a hard surfaced trail that continues for almost 20 miles. The trail was built on the old train tracks of the Chicago Great Western Railroad line. This trail connects the towns of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing. Each city has its own beauty and history that leads to a great atmosphere on the trail. The community loves having the trail nearby and welcomes the many people who visit it each day.
The Cannon Valley Trail was dedicated to the use of the community for biking and other active forms of travel in May of 1986. In 1992 the asphalt surface was completed for the enjoyment of the community. The trail is managed by a team of 9 who function as a government that operates the trail. This group of citizens and officials meet monthly to manage the trail. The trains had abandoned the track in 1983 and the rails were removed in 1984.
The trail is used by bikers as well as many other types of sports fanatics. You can find many roller bladders, walkers, hikers and even skateboarders on the trail. The surface is smooth enough for small wheels and makes the ride very enjoyable.
The trail is open year round and is used for cross-country skiing during the winter months. The trial is groomed for ease of movement of the skis.
The trail does belong to the state and therefore has a fee to use it. Anyone over 18 years of age must have a Wheel Pass to enter the trail. You can buy a day Wheel Pass, or an annual pass. The fee for the day pass is $3.00 for the 2007 season and an annual pass is currently $15 for the 2007 season. There are many local places to buy the Wheel Pass.
In Cannon Falls, you will find the passes available at: the City Hall, Chamber of Commerce, Econo Foods grocery store, Cannon Falls Campground, Hjermstad Hardware, and a variety of other local businesses.
In Red Wing you can purchase a Wheel Pass at the Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau, the St. James Hotel and The Route.
You can also find self-serve Wheel Pass stations along the trail. Just west of Welch there is a small picnic area with bathroom facilities that has a station to purchase a Wheel Pass.
If you are walking the trail you do not need a pass. Certain groups may call and request the fee to be waived if certain conditions are met. Group tickets can also be purchased at a discount. You can apply for the group rates on line at: http://www.cannonvalleytrail.com/groupeventapplication2005.pdf . The sales from the Wheel Passes are used to maintain the trail and keep it in top condition. Donations are also accepted as well.
There are two local bike sale and rental shops along the trail. The Route, Inc. is a bike retailer located in Red Wing. Cannon Falls Bike, Canoe and Kayak Rentals and Shuttles is in Cannon Falls and will even offer to shuttle you or your car to the other end of the trail! Both these shops have all you need for biking and quality bike rentals complete with helmets. If your bike needs service for any reason while using the trail, you can take it to these dealers and know you will be well served.
The scenery along the Cannon Valley Trail is breathtaking with views of the river and rugged outcroppings. There are multiple bridges along the trail as well. Be sure to bring your camera for some incredible shots to help you remember your trip to the Cannon Valley Bike Trail!