The newly paved 13-mile Great River Ridge Trail became the first section of what will be the 50-mile Whitewater Country Loop that will connect three parks and eight communities including Rochester in southern Minnesota.
“All three trail sections involved in the Whitewater Country Loop
State Trail started around 1995. Initially we were looking at ways to improve our
Communities but it wasn’t until 2005 when we were working with the National Parks Service Trails Specialist Holly Larson, that we started looking at our
trails being combined into a larger regional trail. We have gained from
our individual strengths and we are making progress finally,” says trail organizer Roberta Kurth.
Organizers hope soon to complete the Chesterwoods section of the Loop that will nine miles from Eyota to Rochester through Chesterwoods Regional Park.
“This will be an important part of the Loop because Rochester is a major city with 85 miles of its own trail system and it connects with the 12-mile Douglas Trail to Pine Island and will eventually connect with Red Wing through the Goodhue trail,” said trail organizer Jeff St. Mane.
The eastern portion of the Whitewater Country Loop will connect the City of St. Charles with Whitewater State Park, Carley State Park and finish up in Plainview.
There are also plans to have the loop connect with the Root River State Trail to the south through Chatfield.
The Loop will connect the communities of Rochester, Eyota, Dover,
St.Charles, Elba, Plainview, and Elgin.
The trail system will follow streams, runs through forests and prairies, and cross rivers giving trail enthusiasts a wide variety of landscapes to see as they enjoy the natural surroundings.
The trail has unique representations of oak savanna, geological formations and the boyhood home of Frank B. Kellogg who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929.