Located in southeast Minnesota, Rochester is the state’s third largest city. It lies on the south fork of the Zumbro River and is surrounded by gentle hills and farmland. For a city of only 250,000, there’s wonderful running in Rochester, anchored by the downtown trail system of 85+ miles.
From downtown, there’s access to three different waterfront trails. Head south on the Bear Creek River, north along Silver Lake, or west along the South Fork River toward Mayo Lake. Cascade Lake is also nearby, and features an attractive 2.2 mile loop and other nearby trails. Also near downtown is Quarry Hill Nature Center, with 8 miles of rolling hill trails. We’ve also mapped out a 5-miler combining historic neighborhoods and paths around Soldiers Field and Kutzky Park. For some longer distance running, the Douglas State Trail and Great River Ridge State Trail ‘rails-to-trails’ paths pass through pretty agricultural landscape.
Runners should note that Rochester’s winters are the real deal — very cold and snowy. Rochester is the second windiest city in the United States.