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River Route Spotlight

St. Charles, Minnesota

Population: 3,699

Nickname: Gateway to Whitewater Valley


The gladiolus flower made the city of St. Charles world famous thanks to resident Carl Fischer who was the world’s leading hybridizer of new and different types of gladiolus.

Gladiolus Days is the annual festival in honor of the late Carl Fischer. The festival is celebrated with a grand parade and several other great activities for the family. St. Charles also hosts Whitewater Winterfest in February featuring tons of winter activities like sledding and an Ice Bar.

Founded in 1854 along the Whitewater River, St. Charles became a city in 1858, named for St. Charles of Italy. Settlers were drawn to the area because of the fertile valley, the Whitewater River and the beauty of the surrounding bluffs.

St. Charles is home to a variety of activities including an aquatic center and several parks including the beautiful Whitewater State Park that is a great spot for fishing, hiking and biking trails, and camping. Winter activities are also very popular in the area including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more.


Famous Residents of St. Charles include:




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City Spotlights

View a spotlight of some of the great destinations along the proposed River Route.

Cottage Grove



Lake City

Red Wing

St. Charles

Saint Paul

Saint Paul Park



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