On the Road: Elba - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

On the Road: Elba

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ELBA, Minn. (KTTC) -- In an area half way between Rochester and Winona is a small town. With its beautiful bluffs, just north of Whitewater State Park, Elba is home to a fire tower that athletes travel near and far to conquer.

In a town of fewer than 300 people, Elba residents take pride in their community and welcome people to explore its beauty.

The Elba fire tower has been standing for more than 70 years above the Whitewater River Valley.

Athletes and those just looking to enjoy the outdoors venture up the bluff, and along the way, you can come across some pretty interesting things!

The inscription on one of the more than 600 steps reads "Wendy will you marry me?" And further up, is one declaring that she said yes.

And just when you think you've reached the top?

"The good news is, we're done with the wooden steps," said Assistant Park Manager Colin Wright" "The not-so-good news is that we've got to get up the fire tower steps!"

After continuing the trek for several more flights of stairs, you have reached your destination.

"If you look around you can see the whole Whitewater River Valley," Wright said. "You can see the town of Elba below. This is one of the few spots in the area that you're able look down at hawks and birds, and you can get up higher than the bluff itself."

Residents take a lot of pride in their fire tower, and make sure to preserve its rich history.

"The tower used to be to sit up here in watch for wildfires in the valley. If there was a fire nearby someone would be up here and see that indication and relay that information to fire crews on the ground," Wright said.

After the long journey, many hikers stop by The Mauer Brother's Tavern and Grill for an ice cold beer.

"A lot of people come in and get a good ole' Mauer's Red on tap or Mich Golden Light on tap," said Robert Mauer, co-owner of Mauer Brothers.

And if you didn't get a chance to see the wildlife you were looking for outside, you're sure to find it inside Mauer's.

"This moose was shot in 2003. They won a Boone and Crockett reward," Mauer said.

Elba is also famous for its good-to-excellent trout fishing waters.

"I've had three or four nice bites, but I can't hook them up!" said one angler.

From hiking, to fishing, even for a cold one, there's something for you to enjoy in Elba.

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