There is one Minnesota city that I lived in for a couple of years that I can safely say is the stinkiest place I've ever visited in Minnesota.

As a kid, I remember going on a Boy Scout trip to Canada, and we went through International Falls to cross the border, and I have a memory of that being a very smelly place because of the paper factory, but not nearly as stinky as this Minnesota town, that also happens to be a border town.

This city doesn't share a border with Canada, but with North Dakota, and the cause of the smell is also due to a manufacturing process, any guesses?

Sugar Beet Harvest
Getty Images

 What Town in Minnesota Smells The Worst?

I'm talking about East Grand Forks, Minnesota, a small town on the border of North Dakota that is separated from Grand Forks, ND by the Red River. I haven't been back since I left in the late 90s, but I'm sure it still remains a very small town with a very big odor.

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

The terrible smell is because of what I assume is East Grand Forks' biggest business, Sugar Beets. The Red River Valley is the heart of sugar beet production in North Dakota, which has over 450,000 acres of sugar beet farmland in the state.

Why Do Sugar Beets Smell So Bad?

The problem with sugar beets, is that they give off a very distinct, nasty smell that is caused by deteriorating beets in storage, beet processing, and industrial water ponds according to American Crystal Sugar Company who operates several factories in the region.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The smell is especially strong in the spring and summer months, and despite efforts from manufacturers to help deal with the sometimes unbearable smell, they say that removing the smell completely is impossible, and it's just a fact of life for those that live near one of these facilities.

What Does it Smell Like?

I'm not sure how to describe the smell, I've seen some say that is smells like burnt-sugar, or caramel, but there is a very earthy element to the smell too, it's hard to put in words how awful the smell is. It's a smell I'll never forget, and would be happy if I never smelt again.

What's the smelliest place you've ever been to?

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