By the Staff of MMM
What makes a great motorcycle road? Our opinion is any road you can ride is good, just some are better than others. The best roads most always have a few common traits. First, it must be scenic. Second, a few corners are nice. And third, the less traffic the better. In the interests of motorcycling enjoyment, we called in sick and headed to our favorite riding area, Southeastern Minnesota, and using highly scientific methods compiled this list. So, in no particular order here are our Top Ten Motorcycle Roads of Southeastern Minnesota
The Great River Road, Hwy 61.
I know, I know, everybody knows about it. Sure, it can be busy, but how can you beat a road with “Great” in its name. Stunning scenery, quaint towns, and even a few curves. Be sure to follow it at least as far as the Iowa border. In the words of Bob Dylan, “And head that way down on Highway 61.” experiencemississippiriver.com
Hwy 60, from Zumbrota to Wabasha.
Hwy 60 is unique because it’s to only state highway that runs continuously from one border to another, from Wisconsin to Iowa. The section from we love is that 35 mile stretch on the eastern end. Along the route you’ll pass the Spring Creek MX Park home to the legendary Spring Creek National MX race. For a fun side trip follow Wabasha Co. Rd. 11 along the Zumbro River valley which meets Hwy 60 at the Spring Creek MX Park to Hwy 63 and loop back north to Hwy 60.
MN Hwy 16, “Bluff Country Byway” Preston to La Crescent.
Here’s a veteran riding tip, if the word “byway” is in the name of a road it’s probably pretty good. This historic road was once part of part of network national highways that connected the East Coast to the West Coast. Now a charming byway this road brings you from the prairie to the driftless region of bluffs untouched by ice age glaciers. bluffcountry.com/byway16
US Hwy 52, between I-90 and Preston.
This is part of the Hwy 52 that returns to two-lane. As it heads south you are brought through the heart of Amish country in southern Minnesota. Watch for the black buggies. The charms of 52 lies in the relaxed feel of the countryside it literally rolls through. A fun side trip is to Niagara Cave and the underground waterfalls south of Harmony.
Welch Village Rd (Goodhue Co. Rd. 7), from US Hwy 61 to MN Hwy 19.
This was once one of the semi-secret sportbike haunts of the south metro. A winding stretch of pavement that attracted menagerie of riders on weekend nights. Quieter now, it still is one seriously fun road. A nice route includes heading either direction on Hwy 19 towards Cannon Falls or Red Wing.
MN74, from St Charles to Weaver.
This highway is one on the oldest in area. Some portions date back to earliest public roads in the territory. Passing through Whitewater State Park, MN Highway 74 is a mix of curving pavement in the southern section and winding gravel on the northern end.
US14 from Rochester to Winona.
This US highway runs all the way from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park. Most through traffic sticks to I90, so we’ll let 14 be our little secret. Ssssh!
Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail. For the more adventurous crowd there’s the Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail or TMAT for short. This collection of gravel roads and trails go all the way from Iowa to Canada. Laid out by dedicated dual sport enthusiasts, the TMAT lets you explore some of Minnesota’s dirtier roads. Not that kinda of dirty, I mean gravel and such. Download the GPS tracks and learn more here. https://minneadv.info/tmat/
Houston County Road 249 from Reno to Caledonia then Mn Hwy 76 to I90.
These two roads are in a word bucolic. Yep I had to look it up as well. Bucolic means “of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life”. Pretty much sums it up. 249 is gravel and 76 is paved. Enjoy.
Whatever road you’re riding on.
We know, it’s a cliché that as cheesy as a 70’s era van with a wizard mural, but it true. Get out, ride, and enjoy it. Not every road can be post card scenery and racetrack corners. The best road is ultimately the one you’re riding.