St. Croix River National Scenic Waterway – Taylors Falls, MN/St. Croix, WI
The St. Croix River National Scenic Waterway is just an hour’s ride from the rally site and is a beautiful area. In addition to great places for lunch in the small town of Taylors Falls, there are scenic overlooks, walking and hiking trails in the area as well. Be sure to also visit Stillwater, MN, along the way; this quaint town on the St. Croix River offers great dining, scenery and many small unique shops.
Directions: Exit the rally site and proceed south on Snelling Avenue/MN-51 to I-94. At Snelling Avenue and I-94, turn left and go I-94 eastbound. Follow I-94 east thru St. Paul toward Wisconsin. Exit at #258/St. Croix Trail North/Hwy. 95 – northbound through Bayport, MN. Stay on Hwy 95 north through Stillwater, Marine On St. Croix and on to Taylors Falls. For further orientation, Minnesota Hwy 95 and Wisconsin Hwy 35 parallel the lower stretches of the river; Wisconsin Hwy 63 parallels the upper stretches of the river. There are river crossings at I-94, Hwy 8, Hwy 70 and Hwy 77/48. For more details, visit the website: http://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/maps.htm
Upper Mississippi River Ride – Wisconsin side, WI Hwy 35 route
The upper Mississippi River constitutes a large part of the Minnesota–Wisconsin border. Among the many scenic overlooks, you will ride past Lake Pepin – the birthplace of waterskiing. Lake Pepin is actually part of the Mississippi River. This area is also great for viewing American Bald Eagles in flight over the river valley looking for their next dinner. Several routes are available to access Prescott, WI, and WI Hwy 35 from the rally site. Below is one of them.
Directions: This is an 89-mile ride (one way) to Nelson, WI. Exit the fairgrounds rally site entrance, turn right (south) onto Snelling Avenue/MN-51. Drive southbound to I-94, turn left onto eastbound I-94 toward St. Paul. Continue through St. Paul on eastbound I-94 toward Wisconsin. Exit at #258/St. Croix Trail South and go south to US Hwy 10. Turn left onto US 10 eastbound toward Prescott, WI. When you arrive in Prescott, follow WI-35 south along the Mississippi River valley. You can ride as far south as you wish – the scenery and views are outstanding. Look for American Bald Eagles; this is a prime viewing and nesting area for our national symbol. The small towns along the route have places to stop for gas, refreshments and/or lunch. Also, there is a great ice cream shop/restaurant in Nelson, WI – Nelson Creamery or BBQ at J & J if you’re hungry. These are favorite stops for many visiting the area.
You can cross over into Minnesota at the following bridges: US Hwy 63 at Red Wing, MN; MN 60 – Nelson, WI/Wabasha, MN or MN 43/Winona, MN. Once across the Mississippi River, take US Hwy 61 north back to the Twin Cities area. However, my suggestion is to reverse the ride back to the rally site and see the Mississippi River from the opposite direction, staying on the Wisconsin side of the river. I think it is more scenic than the Minnesota side.
Mall of America – Bloomington, MN
This is a 17.3-mile, 25-minute ride from our rally site. If you have never visited the Twin Cities, the Mall of America is a popular visitor site. It is the largest shopping mall in the United States. This is a fully enclosed complex with an amusement park in the center and an enormous walk-through aquarium. When visiting, be sure to stop at the Guest Service Desk and get a map for a self-guided tour. Numerous restaurants are located within the mall and there is something for everyone’s tastes and budgets. Also, there is no sales tax for clothing in Minnesota!
Directions: Exit the main entrance at the rally site, turn right (southbound) onto Snelling Avenue/MN-51. Proceed south on Snelling Ave to I-94. Go west on I-94 to 35W south; proceed southbound, then take MN 62 east to MN 77 south. Continue southbound on MN 77 and exit onto Killebrew Drive. Free parking ramps are connected to both sides of the mall complex. See the website www.mallofamerica.com for additional information.