National Scenic Byway of the Mississippi River
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Minnesota Mississippi

Mississippi River Trail Ride - Headwaters to Hills, August 26 - September 2

Bike the MRT. Registration is open for the new Headwaters to Hills tour, which celebrates the completion of Minnesota's Mississippi River Trail. The ride starts with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the headwaters in Itasca State Park, then crisscrosses the river, bicycling through a variety of river communities to the MN/Iowa border. On this nearly 500 mile ride, you will see the river begin as a stream in Northern MN...and change to a mighty river in SE Minnesota's hills and bluff lands. Dates: Aug. 26-Sept. 2.


Established in 1938, the Great River Road travels nearly 3,000 miles through 10 states. In Minnesota, it runs for 575 miles along the Missisippi River, through 11 state parks, state historic sites, Chippewa National Forest, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 21 counties and 60 communities.  Join us - celebrate the Mississippi River and its National Scenic Byway! 


Step 1 - Check out maps & travel information

MN Great River Road Driving Directions  

MN Great River Road Map/Travel Planner

Great River Road Regional Maps with Travel Ideas 

Minnesota Great River Road Explorer's Guide

Step 2 - Don't miss local events along the way...

A few ideas are listed below. For many more, visit Explore Minnesota Tourism's Calendar of Events, where you can search by town or by event type.  Just go to and click on "events."

Step 3 - Get out there and have fun! 

The byway meanders through a wide variety of landscapes — the humble headwaters, countryside dappled with lakes, the northwoods, ribbons of lush resort and farm country, rolling bluffs, big cities and charming river communities. Worthy of a week's vacation in its entirety, the Mississippi flows naturally through six distinct regions whose unique river experiences can be explored on excursions of any length. Follow the lure of the river and the freedom of the road to see what lies around the next bend. Pull out a map, tune in some good driving music and load up the car, a van, motorcycle or bike. Your Mississippi River adventure is just waiting to begin. See you on the Great River Road!

News & Events

Tall Timber Days - Grand Rapids, July 31 - August 2 (7/27/15)
River City Days - Red Wing, July 31 - August 2 (7/27/15)
Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival - Bemidji, July 29 - August 1 (7/27/15)
Take a Day OFF on the Mississippi River - St. Cloud Area, Aug 1 (7/22/15)
Minneapolis Aquatennial, July 22 - 25 (7/13/15)
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Mississippi River Fun Facts

In July 1922, Ralph Samuelson, 18, of Lake City, became the first person to water ski. Samuelson cruised around Lake Pepin with 9-foot pine boards on his feet. - Sesquicentenntial Commission

Opening Music: "Take A Look" by Charlie McGuire. Used, gratefully, with permission by the National Park Service National Mississippi River & Recreation Area. Click here to listen to "Take a Look" in its entirety and to hear other great river tunes.
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