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After a tumultuous weekend with rain and thunderstorms, the skies will finally clear for some of the nicest weather of the year so far.
As the system that brought Saturday's storms and Sunday's winds begins to exit the region late Sunday, high pressure will move in and begin to push the clouds away, while also bringing the winds down to below 5mph. The result? Mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid to upper 50s by mid-to-late afternoon for both Monday and Tuesday.
Rain is expected to return on Wednesday for the remainder of the week, so take advantage of the gorgeous weather if you can.
Amid this pandemic of COVID-19, safe outdoor activities include hiking, biking, dog-walking, and even fishing. As long as you maintain social distance and follow CDC guidelines while outside - you will be safe. For more details on what is and is not allowed outside under Minnesota's shelter in place executive order, click here.
With all that said, here our eight locations we picked across the area that are great for hiking and just getting outside. All the respective visitor centers are closed, but the trails remain open to the public.
- Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harpers Ferry, IA - The furthest location we picked. It is recommended that folks relatively stay close to home during this time. Along the bluff of the Mississippi river, this is a great place to go for a hike.
- Lime Creek, Mason City, IA - The Lime Creek Nature Center remains closed, but the many trails remain open to the public.
- Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea, MN - Along the shores of Albert Lea lake, this park is a great place to enjoy nature and go bird watching.
- Oxbow Park, Byron, MN - The zoo and playgrounds remain closed, but the trails along these hills just north of Byron are open to all.
- Pilot Knob State Park, Forest City, IA - This small and quite park just east of Forest City just so happens to be one of the most popular hiking destinations in northern Iowa according to alltrails.com
- Quarry Hill Park, Rochester, MN - While the nature center is closed until further notice, the pars many winding trails are open for business.
- Root River Trail, Fillmore County, MN - Running along the banks of the weaving root river, this paved 60 mile trail connects the communities of Fountain and Houston. A great place for a bike ride.
- Whitewater State Park, Altura, MN - Half an hour east of Rochester, this parks large bluffs and cliffs provide a great workout for those willing to climb some steps while enjoying nature.