Faribault is the eastern terminus of the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, a 39-mile paved path leading to Mankato along an old railroad bed. The trailhead is along Highway 21, just north of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce (530 Wilson Ave., 507/334-4381 or 800/658-2354, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., www.visitfaribault.com).
You can also depart town along the Cannon River, a state-designated Wild and Scenic River. It’s a generally peaceful 16-mile, six- to eight-hour paddle down the mostly wooded valley to Northfield, and there are several campsites along the way.
For a quiet hike, follow the 10 miles of trails at the River Bend Nature Center (1000 Rustad Rd., 507/332-7151, www.rbnc.org), particularly those along the Straight River. The 743 acres of forest and prairie is a good bird-watching area, and the Interpretive Center is filled with animal mounts. It is located on the southeast edge of town: Take Highway 60 and follow the signs.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition