Explore Outdoors

St. Croix Valley Parks and Trails

Willow River State Park
When the snow melts in the spring, the water is guaranteed to rush down the Willow River Valley and cascade toward the bottom of the falls. Travel northeast of Hudson to enjoy this beautiful waterfall, fresh green growth, miles of hiking trails, and spring air.

William O’Brien State Park
In the summer, playing on or near the river is a favorite pastime in the St. Croix Valley. Whether you’re into hiking, camping, fishing or swimming, William O’Brien State Park has it all. Be sure to check out their kayak and canoe rentals too!

Taylor’s Falls State Park
In the fall, the autumn colors are best viewed from a rock outcropping next to the St. Croix River. Taylor’s Falls State Park has ample opportunity for you to enjoy the dark river backdrop against the red, orange, and yellow leaves.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve
What’s so amazing about Lake Elmo Park Reserve is the cross-country ski trails are lit up in the winter! Having light while you ski helps you stay active even when the 5 pm sunset lures you to hibernate the rest of the night.

Local Trails
Now that you’re a local, you can go where the locals go! These trails are hidden gems that are not as well known. Whether you’re looking for a quick trail run or a chance to hike with your dog, these trails are fun to explore.

St. Croix River Crossing Trail
This 4.7-mile loop will lead you over both the iconic Stillwater Lift Bridge and the new St. Croix River Crossing Bridge. Open to both pedestrians and bikers, many different starting points on the loop will take you through downtown Stillwater and Houlton, WI. Stop at a local coffee shop along the way for a mid-trail treat! 

Arcola Bluffs Day Use Area
Like many trails within the St. Croix Valley, this trail is downhill to the river and uphill the rest of the way back! You’ll have no regrets though since you’ll get a view of the majestic Arcola Bridge.

Wind in The Pines Reserve
The highlight of this trail is hiking down the ravine and navigating some log crossings with the windy creek!

St. Croix Boom Site River Trail
This short hiking trail will lead you on a path with sandstone bluffs on one side and the St. Croix river on the other, which ends at an adorable waterfall.

Square Lake 
Lake Elmo Park Reserve 
Afton State Park 
William O’Brien State Park 
St. Croix Boom Site

Mountain Biking
Sunfish Lake Park 
Valley View Park 
Carver Lake Park 
Kinnickinnic State Park

Afton State Park 
William O’Brien State Park 
Carpenter Nature Center

Cross-country Skiing
Lake Elmo Park Reserve 
William O’Brien State Park 
Willow River State Park

Fun Fact:
Hundreds of blue herons gather on St. Croix Island to nest and raise their chicks during the springtime. The best way to experience this rookery - south of St. Croix Boom Site - is by kayak!

Local Tip:
"Our family takes day trips to Sals in Withrow and Brookside in Marine. It's the perfect time!" - Greg and Lanie B

Fun Fact:
Willow Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Willow River State Park. This waterfall leads to Little Falls Lake, a shallow body of water directly on the river.