The Whitewater Country Loop Trail
As Minnesota’s world-class system of trails continues to grow, more and more communities are being connected to each other and to our state park system. In southern Minnesota, a spectacular new loop trail is rapidly becoming a reality. We recently asked one of the trail’s leading advocates, Jeff St. Mane, to give us a quick update.
Tell us about the Whitewater Country Loop Trail and the volunteer groups that are helping to make it possible.
In 2004 three existing trail advocacygroups working independently on their own trails decided to join forces to build a 50-mile state loop trail known as the Whitewater Country Loop Trail. The loop trail connects the cities of Rochester, Eyota, Dover, St. Charles, Elba, Plainview, Elgin and Viola with Whitewater and Carley state parks and Olmsted County’s Chester Woods Park. The three original trail groups are: Great River Ridge, Chester Woods and Whitewater/St.Charles trail committees. Each had made some progress, but with the larger plan we were able to broaden our outreach and gain valuable experience and knowledge from one another. Since we began working together we have secured the funding to build and pave 13 miles of trail that will be completed later this year.
Tell us about some of the exciting attractions along the trail. Why will people especially enjoy the trail?
The Whitewater Country Loop Trail will circle through the bluffl ands of western Winona County and the fi elds of eastern Olmsted and Wabasha counties to bring you close to the natural landscapes of scenic southern Minnesota.You will see views from railroad bridges over trout streams and lush landscapes. The trail also passes by oak savannas and prairie fi elds. Th e wildlife and native plants are abundant along the trail. The eight cities through which the trail passes are what you would expect of small town southeastern Minnesota. A lot of the architecture dates back to the late 1800s and brings you back to a time where the pace was slower and the people are always friendly. The county park and the two state parks off er places to camp, swim and enjoy nature, making them great places to stop for
a rest or to stay overnight.
How can people get involved with the Whitewater Country Loop Trail?
You can learn more about the Whitewater Country Loop Trail on the Web at
You can also contact us by e-mail at