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The Root River

The Root River flows through the Driftless Area of southeastern Minnesota and is a tributary of the Upper Mississippi River. It is an excellent river for canoeing. The gentle to moderate flowing river drops an average of 3.4 ft/mile from Chatfield, Minnesota, to its pour point in the Mississippi River into Navigation Pool 7 just south of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The South Branch rises in Mower County as agricultural drainage ditches, which disappear underground, re-emerging as a much cooler stream[1] at Mystery Cave near Preston, Minnesota. The 48°F water creates superb conditions for brook trout.

The river lies within Minnesota's Driftless Area, a region which missed being glaciated during the last ice age, i.e., the Wisconsinian glaciation.

The Root River in Preston, Minnesota.


Fish and Wildlife

Many fish species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish, and crappies inhabit the river. The Root River system provides habitat to a number of bird species. Red-tailed hawks and bald eagles can be found in the area. Blue herons, wild turkeys, and wood ducks are also commonly seen. Numerous mammals can be spotted in the region including deer, gray fox, red fox, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, and badgers.


The Root River State Trail is a 42 mile long trail for bicycling, hiking, skating, skiing, etc. It begins in Fountain and continues through Lanesboro, Whalen, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston.

2007 flood

As a result of the 2007 Midwest flooding, the river rose to 19 feet, about a foot short of the height of the dike protecting the town of Houston.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Minnesota Public Radio article from 1998, Retrieved July 21, 2007
  2. ^ Meryhew, Richard; Terry Collins and Allie Shah (2007-08-20). "6 reported dead in floods in southeastern Minnesota". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2007-08-24.  

External links



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