Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

National Scenic BywayMinnesota

All Photos (82)

  • Visitor to Louise Park

    A visitor admires the statue entitled "The Mothers" in Louise Park in Le Sueur.

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  • Windmill and Outbuildings at Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House

    An old steel windmill and historic buildings grace the grounds of the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House, home of the Belle Plaine Historical Society.

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  • Two Story Outhouse at Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House

    This two story outhouse is an amusing part of the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House, home of the Belle Plaine Historical Society.

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  • Tacy's House

    Home of Lovelace's best friend, Frances Kenney Kirch, the white trim house is immortalized in the historical fiction Betsy-Tacy series.

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  • Seppman Site and Mill

    This historic stone mill can be found within Minneopa State Park.

  • Canoeing the Minnesota River

    The Minnesota River and tributaries are said to have some of the best canoeing in the Midwest. You can choose from serene slow moving water or whitewater. Canoe rentals can be found throughout the valley.

  • "The Mothers" Statue in Louise Park

    Two mothers, Louise Mayo and Louise Cosgrove, are commemorated in this charming statue in Louise Park in Le Sueur, Minnesota.

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  • "The Mothers" Plaque

    This plaque before the statue in Louise Park next to the Mayo House in Le Sueur tells of two women significant to the home and the area.

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  • Joseph R. Brown Wayside Memorial

    A brown wooden sign marks the Joseph R. Brown wayside and ruins.

  • William W. Mayo House in Le Sueur

    The Mayo House is a simple white frame structure in downtown Le Sueur near the Rush River.

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  • Lac qui Parle Mission

    Explorer and fur trader Joseph Renville who had established a nearby trading post here in 1826, invited missionaries to Lac qui Parle to share Christianity, Euro-American culture and agriculture methods with the Dakota. These missionaries developed a Dakota alphabet and translated the Bible and many hymns into the Dakota language.

  • Lower Sioux Wacipi

    Dancers competing in the Lowers Sioux Community's Traditional Wacipi.

  • Fall on the Minnesota River

    Green, gold and touches of red create a beautiful watercolor on the Minnesota River in autumn. This is a beautiful time of year to visit the byway.

  • Happy Trails

    Several of the state and local parks offer excellent horse trails and campgrounds. These families are riding through the prairie at Upper Sioux Agency State Park.

  • Tracks in the Snow

    The byway offers opportunities to get out-of-doors year round. This lucky person was the first to blaze a show-shoe trail through Flandrau State Park.

  • Ramsey Falls

    This fantastic waterfall is one of many along the byway. Located in Alexander Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls, the park is made up of 217 acres of picnic areas, W.P.A. built timber and granite shelters, playgrounds, a zoo, campground, trails, overlooks and a bordering a beautiful golf course.

  • Big Stone Lake Overlook

    Big Stone Lake is the "Headwaters of the Minnesota River". At the northwest end of the Lake, in Browns Valley, Minnesota, the Continental Divide splits water north to Hudson Bay and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Early Morning in the Minnesota River Valley

    The early morning sun casts a shadow across the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway south of Belle Plaine in the fall.

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  • A Fall Sunrise

    Sunrise lightens the sky in the fall on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • Canoeing along the Minnesota River Valley Byway

    This water adventurer pauses to admire the reflection of autumn leaves in the still water.

  • Visitor to Mayo House

    A visitor approaches the Mayo House in downtown Le Sueur.

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  • Upper Sioux Agency Wacipi

    Every August near Granite Falls, this contest draws participants and on-lookers who take in the beautiful costumes, music and dancers.

  • Stone Bridge in Alexander Ramsey Park

    In Redwood Falls, Alexander Ramsey Park is the largest municipal park in Minnesota. It contains a zoo, golf course, waterfalls, picnic area, camping and hiking.

  • Alexander Ramsey Falls

    This beautiful waterfall is in Alexander Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls.

  • Young and Old Participants at the Wacipi

    The drummers at the wacipi symbolize the heartbeat of the Earth and the circle of dancers represents the circle of life. While dancing,the dancers reaffirm their roles in the circle of life. - Christian Cavender, Ph. D.

  • Farmer Tilling The Rich Soil of the Valley

    Many types of farms exist in the valley - small and large, cornfields and buffalo farms exist side by side. The variety of agriculture has provided the backbone for the economy since the original pioneers claimed land here.

  • Century-Old Barns Still Dot the Valley

    Well tended farmhouses and buildings reflect the pride families have in their history.

  • Location of First Dakota Translation of the Bible

    The Lac qui Parle Mission and nearby Fort Renville were important trading centers for missionaries and Dakota people alike. The mission is also home to the first church bell in Minnesota. A trail, interpretive exhibits overlook Lac qui Parle Lake.

  • Wacipi Along the Byway

    Upper Sioux Agency and Lower Sioux Community both host Wacipis (pow-wows) every summer commemorating their heritage.

  • Sunset at Ney Environmental Learning Center

    Near Henderson, the center offers educational opportunities to learn about the Minnesota River Environment.

  • Snowshoeing in Flandrau State Park

    An excellent way to see the river valley in winter snowshoes let a traveler enjoy the trails years round.

  • Fishing at Lac qui Parle Dam

    This dam near Watson, Mn creates Lac qui Parle Lake and excellent fishing opportunities.

  • Fall on the Cottonwood River

    The tributaries to the Minnesota River are just as alluring.

  • Rush River State Wayside, near Henderson

    Containing a part of the Minnesota River Trail system, this wayside rest area offers picnic areas, camping and fishing.

  • A View From One of the Beautiful Renville County Parks

    Renville County has several parks along the Minnesota River that offer a variety of amenities - horse trails, camping, fishing, hiking are some of the common activities that occur here.

  • Frankin "Catfish Derby Days"Contestant

    Fishing is a big recreational activity on the Minnesota River. In addition to fishing for catfish, Big Stone Lake has recently hosted visitors for international and national walleye contests.

  • Kayaks on Big Stone Lake

    Boats of all kinds utilize the Minnesota River for recreational purposes.

  • Horseback Riding on the Prairie

    Upper Sioux Agency State Park offers great horse campgrounds and trail riding.

  • A Beautiful Winter in the Minnesota River Valley

    Winter scenes like this are common along the byway when travelers slow down and enjoy the valley.

  • Winter on the Minnesota River

    Many areas of the Minnesota River remain open throughout the winter.

  • Natural Architecture along Lac qui Parle Lake

    Walking along the shores of the "lake that speaks" a traveler might be suprised by the beauty provided by nature.

  • Swimming in the Minnesota River

    Kids take advantage of the river to cool off in the summer.

  • Clay Banks of the Yellow Medicine River

    These banks provide an impressive backdrop for a tributary to the Minnesota River near Granite Falls.

  • Woodland, Wetland, and Riverine Environments Meet

    The corridor traverses many ecosystems each with their own charm. Even arid desert climates exist (complete with native cacti) in the ancient rock outcrops near Ortonville.

  • Snowy Silence in the Minnesota River Valley

    Snow provides a striking contrast between the river bottom and the blue midwestern sky.

  • Rich with Dakota History

    The Minnesota River Valley gives travelers a taste of the past and present history of the Native Americans that settled in this region.

  • A Crisp Winter Morning

    Snow and frost turn the river valley into a fairyland at Minneopa State Park. Winter exposes some unexpectedly beautiful qualities of the river valley and offers many opportunities to get out-of-doors.

  • William W. Mayo House in Le Sueur

    The Mayo House is a simple white frame structure in downtown Le Sueur near the Rush River.

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  • Minneopa Falls

    Minnepoa Falls spills over slate-gray cliffs from the rivers edge in Minneopa State Park.

  • Betsy's House

    Maud Hart Lovelace's childhood home is currently undergoing renovations to return it to its early 20th-century architecture.

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  • Sign Before William W. Mayo House

    Learn about this little house's association with the Mayo family, famous for their contributions toward medicine.

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  • Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway Near Nicollet

    Overhanging trees give both character and shade to the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • "Love Pat" Hosta at Gustavus Adolphus Arboretum

    A marker identifies this young hosta as "Love Pat" variety at the Arboretum & Sculpture Garden at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

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  • Wild Rabbit and Birch at Gustavus Adolphus Arboretum

    A timid wild rabbit pauses to check out the surroundings from the safety of a birch tree on the grounds of the Arboretum & Sculpture Garden at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

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  • Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway Near Nicollet

    Overhanging trees give both character and shade to the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • Creeping Juniper at Gustavus Adolphus Arboretum

    The spring green of creeping juniper stands out on the carefully tended grounds of the Arboretum & Sculpture Garden at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

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  • Cemetery Above St. Thomas Church

    Old gravestones and gravesites are scattered on the grassy hillside above St. Thomas Church.

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  • Early Morning Sun South of Belle Plaine

    The early morning sun filters over fields south of Belle Plaine on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

    The byway road runs straight in farming country, past a drying field of corn and farm buildings.

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  • Just When You Thought You'd Seen It All...

    Green fields and leafy trees surround the sixty-foot Jolly Green Giant statue greeting visitors to Blue Earth, Minnesota.

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  • Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway Signage

    The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway is well signed with distinctive pink and blue state byway signs, in this view looking east on Sibley County Route 6 near Belle Plaine.

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  • Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine

    Shadows fall over the front porch of the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine.

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  • A Visitor at the Two Story Outhouse in Belle Plaine

    A visitor imagines what it would be like to use the two story outhouse at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

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  • Windmill at Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House

    A steel windmill reaches for the sky at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine.

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  • Tufto Barn

    A stone marker labels this well-preserved stone barn as the Tufto Barn, circa 1868.

  • Four Goats by the Road

    Four goats stare at the onlooker from a farm somewhere alongside the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

  • Old Farm

    A roofless silo accompanies the weathered wood buildings of this seemingly abandoned farmplace.

  • Old Barn

    Faded red planks peel away from the side of this old, weathered barn.

  • Serene Farms Overlooking the Headwaters of the Minnesota River

    From a roadside pull-off, near Big Stone Lake State Park, travelers can appreciate the farms that make their living in the valley. Many of these farms have been there for over a hundred years and have been passed on to family for generations.

  • Historic Register Plaque on St. Thomas Church

    This plaque on St. Thomas Church building informs us that the church was established in 1855 and built in 1870, and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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  • Truck on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

    A truck pulls a trailer along behind it in the early morning on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • Visitor at St. Thomas Church

    A visitor steps down from the entrance to St. Thomas Church.

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  • Church on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

    The black-roofed steeple complements the golden stone of a church on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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  • St. Thomas Church

    The simple lines of St. Thomas Church near Henderson, Minnesota stand out against a cloud-streaked sky.

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  • Church of St. Thomas Jessenland Sign

    This sign before the St. Thomas Church in Henderson informs visitors that this is one of the oldest parishes in Minnesota, and the nucleus of the oldest Irish settlement as well.

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  • Sign at Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine

    The home of the Belle Plaine Historical Society is indicated by this attractive sign on the front lawn of the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House in Belle Plaine.

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  • Minnesota River Catfish

    This huge Minnesota River catfish is proudly displayed by this youngster along the byway near Franklin, Minnesota in Renville County.

  • The Siege of New Ulm, Minnesota

    "The siege of New Ulm, Minn." is a painting by Henry August Schwabe. It depicts an attack on New Ulm on August 19, during the Dakota War of 1862.

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  • Mass Indian Hanging in Mankato, Minnesota

    Drawn by W. H. Childs in 1862, this work illustrates the largest mass hanging in American history, when 36 Sioux Indians were executed, presumably for deeds committed during the Dakota Wars.

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  • White Pelicans at Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

    Hundreds of peicans gather in a nesting colony on Marsh Lake.

  • Presenting Designation Plaque to Minnesota's Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

    The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway receives their designation plaque at the Designation 2002 event at Union Station in Washington DC.

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  • Canada Goose Gosling by a Creek

    A Canada Goose gosling wades into a creek near the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.

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