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The Great River Ridge State Trail runs for 13 miles between County Road 9 just north of Eyota and Third Street Southwest just north of Wabasha Street in the town of Plainview, which serves as the agricultural hub of the area. There are plans to extend the trail another 2 miles south into the town of Eyota at the southern terminus. The entire trail is paved, and there is an additional adjacent trail with a natural surface for horseback riders and snowmobilers between the current southern trailhead at CR 9 and the town of Elgin.
The trail traverses both flat and some hilly terrain through a largely open agriculture-dominated landscape. Wind and sun can be intense at times and few amenities are available along the trail, so it is important to bring plenty of water. In the northern section, the trail parallels MN 42 to Elgin, where it begins to head more westerly. From Elgin, the trail passes largely through agricultural landscapes, where some shade is provided along a partially wooded corridor, especially along a section that parallels the North Fork of the Whitewater River as you approach Viola and then southward toward CR 9.
Future development of the trail also includes extending it to Carley State Park, about 4 miles east of Elgin. Carley State Park serves as an overflow campground for Whitewater State Park, a few miles farther to the southeast.
To reach the Plainview trailhead, from Saint Paul, take US 52 S., and go 62.8 miles south to Exit 68. Turn left onto Ash Road N.W., and go 20.9 miles east, as the road changes to White Bridge N.W./County Road 12 and then MN 247. Turn right onto Third St. S.W.; the trailhead and parking are on the right in 0.4 mile.
To reach the southern trailhead outside of Eyota, from Saint Paul, take US 52 S., and go 72.2 miles south to Exit 58. Turn left onto 37th St. N.W., which becomes E. Circle Drive N.E., and go 5.7 miles. Turn left onto Collegeview Road E., which becomes CR 9, and go 8.2 miles. The trailhead is on the left.
There is also a midpoint trailhead/access in downtown Elgin on the south side of Main St. E., between Center Ave. N. and First Ave. N.E. From Saint Paul, take US 52 S., and go 62.8 miles south to Exit 68. Turn left onto Ash Road N.W., and go 15.6 miles east, as the road changes to White Bridge N.W./CR 12 and then MN 247. Turn right onto CR 2, and in 2.4 miles turn left onto Main St. W.; the trailhead and parking are on the right in 0.3 mile.
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