River tubing near the Twin CitiesI have been told there is a water tubing river and bike trails in Cannon Falls, Minn. I am looking for a family-oriented tubing river instead of Somerset and the Apple River, or any other river tubing near the Twin Cities. Thanks. - Renee, Cottage Grove, Minn.
Yes, the Cannon River is a much more family-oriented tubing river, though it, too, can have a bit of a party atmosphere on weekends. If you want a more serene float, go in the morning, when you'll also see more wildlife, or on a weekday.
You can rent tubes and get a shuttle from Welch Mill Canoeing & Tubing. It's only 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities. It opens at 10 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. weekends; floaters are taken toward Cannon Falls and left to float 3½ to 4½ hours back to Welch. There's also a one-hour trip. Tubes are $10 with shuttle, 800-657-6760.
Welch is at the midpoint of the paved, 19½-mile Cannon Valley Trail between Cannon Falls and Red Wing. It's a beautiful, shady ride above the Cannon River with a picnic area in Welch. The trail can be crowded on weekends. In Red Wing, catch the trail off Bench Street, near Pottery Place, or 1½ miles north, off U.S. 61. It's maintained by a trail association; daily fee is $3.
Other tubing rivers within an hour and a half of the Twin Cities include the Rum, Zumbro and Chippewa. For more, see Tubing a lazy river.