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Water Trails > Root River Water Trail

Root River Water Trail (MN)

Location: SE Minnesota
      Mower, Fillmore, and Houston Counties
Length: approx. 72 miles long
Waterways: South, North, Middle Root River

The Root River maintains timelessness as it represents the fine scenic and historic qualities which is characteristic of southeastern Minnesota. The Root River has gentle to moderate flow with a few riffles. The water level varies substantially with rainfall. The river offers wonderful opportunities for family day trips, and towns along the river offer historical sights, services, and hospitality.

Formed of two branches in the west, the North and Middle, the Root River winds past towering bluffs topped with oak and hickory. Joined above the town of Whalen by the South Branch, a tributary which flows from Mystery Cave, the river continues its way past bluffs and outcrops until Rushford. There the river straightens as the valley broadens considerably. The scenery then settles into a gentle plain of pastureland and mixed cottonwood and maple with wooded rolling hills visible in the distance.

The Root River supports over 40 species of birds. It is quite common to see blue herons, egrets, and wood ducks moving about the river's edge. Raptors in the area include red-tailed hawks, osprey, turkey vultures, and bald eagles. Wooded shores harbor mammals such as deer, gray fox, red fox, coyotes, raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels, weasels, and badgers. River otters and beaver can be found in the water. Lizards such as the skink, racerunner, and many species of snakes, including the timber rattlesnake, can be found along the banks and outcrops.

View map of Trail marked with Access points, parks, campgrounds and points of interest.

Contact Info:

DNR Trails & Waterways
1200 Warner Road
St. Paul, MN 55106
phone: 651-259-5841
website: Watertrail Index

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