Revel in Lake Pepin’s stunning fall colors on the Great River Road in bluff country! From Lake City, take Hwy. 61 through Frontenac and Red Wing. Turn left on Hwy. 19 through rolling farmland and the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest to Vasa.
Your last leg upriver on Hwy. 61 back to Lake City offers some of the most panoramic views of Lake Pepin and the bluffs.
Originally called “Mattson’s Settlements” for Hans Mattson a former Minnesota Secretary of State. Founded in 1853, it’s one of Minnesota’s few unchanged Swedish settlements. Continue on Hwy. 19 to Cannon Falls.
This dreamy river town has stately homes, a quaint business district and Riverside Park right at the falls of the Cannon River. From here take Hwy. 52 south to Zumbrota.
Home to the only surviving covered bridge in the state. It was constructed in 1869 and was one of the major travel links between Dubuque, Iowa and St. Paul. Head east on Hwy. 60 to Zumbro Falls.
The drive east toward the river features rugged valleys that rise to bluff tops and farmland, with the occasional view of Lake Pepin. Continue on Hwy. 60 to Wabasha.
Named after the Sioux Indian chief Wah-pah-sha, this historic steamboat port is one of Minnesota’s oldest communities. The business district is included on the National Register of Historic Places. From here, take Hwy. 61 upriver to Reads Landing.
This once-thriving river trading post is a superb place to view bald eagles, especially in winter. Take some time to stop at the Wabasha County Historical Society Museum as well.