Population (2010)

1,242

Visitor Information

Direct your questions to the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (320.616.4961).

History

A small community along the Great River Road but not directly on the Mississippi River, Royalton was probably founded in the 1850s by the Reverend Rudolphus Kinney, a missionary from Royalton, Vermont who came to the area to convert Native Americans to Christianity. Father Pierz (see Belle Prairie) founded Holy Cross Church in 1864 but the village saw little action until the railroad came through in 1877. The village got a sawmill in 1879 and became a major player in the produce trade. The horse track on the south end of town was such a major draw that the sawmill would shut down for a few hours so the workers could enjoy the races. Royalton today is a small community on a busy highway (US 10).

Exploring the Area

The community of Royalton maintains a few exhibits on its history in the City Center building.

McDougall Wildlife Management Area (County Road 258/Hilton Rd.) has a mixture of hardwood forest and restored prairie in an area along the Mississippi River; it’s a good place to hike, hunt, cross-country ski, or snowshoe. From Royalton, drive 1 mile west on County Road 26, then go north on County Road 258 for 1½ miles.

When it comes to over-the-top souvenir shops, you won’t find many that can outdo Treasure City (308 US Highway 10; 320.584.5140). The front looks like a yard sale in progress, while inside you’ll find aisle after aisle of cheap trinkets, fireworks, Minnesota-themed gift items, fake jewelry, and so much more.

**Royalton is covered in the Headwaters Region Guide; other places in northern Minnesota are covered in Road Tripping Along the Great River Road, Vol. 1. Click the link above for more. Disclosure: This website may be compensated for linking to other sites or for sales of products we link to.

Where to Sleep

Camping

Two Rivers Campground (5116 145th St. NW; 320.584.5125) is a large, full-service campground (over 200 sites) about 12 miles south of Little Falls on the Mississippi and Platte Rivers.

Where to Go Next

Next stop downriver: Rice.

Next stop upriver: Little Falls.

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©Dean Klinkenberg, 2015