The paved Cannon Valley Trail follows the bluffs above the Cannon River for 20 miles from Red Wing  to Cannon Falls along a former railroad bed. A $3 Wheel Pass ($20 for the season), available from local merchants or at trailhead pay stations, is required for adult bike riders.
Wheelhouse Cycles (1932 Old West Main St., 651/388-1082, www.wheelhousecycles.com , 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun.) rents bikes for $25/day, and they also have tandems and recumbents.
Hikers should head inland to the Hay Creek unit of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest (651/345-3401), where 17 miles of rugged trail climb the steep valleys and follow the ridge tops. In winter about a third are groomed for cross-country skiing. The principal trailhead, which also has a quiet picnic area and good trout fishing nearby, is four miles south of town on Highway 58, and then 1.5 miles north on the gravel road by Dressen’s.
Paddlers can run the lovely 25 miles of the Cannon River from the city of Cannon Falls back to Red Wing. With just a few Class I rapids, it’s an easy run suitable for families.
There are no rentals available in Red Wing, though you can arrange this and shuttle service from Cannon Falls Canoe & Bike (615 5th St. N., Cannon Falls, 507/263-4657 or 877/882-2663, www.cannonfallscanoeandbike.com ) at the start of the run or in the village of Welch . Exploring the labyrinth of Mississippi River backwaters surrounding town can also be great fun.