Saint Croix State Park Must Do’s

St. Croix State Parks holds miles and miles of adventure on the trail, on the water, and even in the air. Get you hiking shoes on, your paddles ready, and be prepared for an amazing state park experience at St. Croix.

Fire Tower

The Fire Tower climb is a must! If it’s open that is, Minnesota fire/observation towers are usually open from April to October depending on the park. Taking in the park from above is breathtaking. Not to mention making multiple visits in different seasons to observe the change over the landscape. Our first visit was in summer, the next was autumn. Beautiful change in scenery.

Check out Overlooks and Observations Towers for more Minnesota height.


St. Croix has a whopping 127 miles of hiking trails. That’s a lot of trails to choose from. Some of these trails are horse friendly, all are dog friendly and many have river front views. There are a few trails that I highly recommend for river views. Check out 5 Hikes at St. Croix State Park.

Canoe St. Croix

Paddle down the St. Croix National Wild and Scenic River. Canoe is one of my all time favorite ways to explore the outdoors. There are so many things to be discovered along the calm banks of a river. In our case, it was otter and beaver sign. A cluster of shells left from a meal and tracks in the mud.

St. Croix State Park offers rentals of both canoe and kayaks seasonally. As a bonus, a shuttle service is also provided. If you bring your own canoe, there are 5 locations to launch a canoe on the St. Croix and one on the Kettle River.

Little Yellow Banks: We chose the Little Yellow Banks, the northern most canoe launch, as our entry. This was mostly due to the lack on crowds in the northern part of the park. Here we were the only explorers. It’s a near perfect launch for a canoe. Paddlers can drive the canoe right down to the waters edge to load gear and park a short distance away near the vault toilet (bonus).

Kettle River High Banks

This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque locations in the park. The Kettle River offers views of the gentle rapids coursing along a swift current. The pines shrouding the rivers banks are gorgeous accents to the high cliffs. Bring your camera and hold onto your kids.

There is a picnic table at this overlook, a perfect spot in the park for a picnic. Bring along a cooler or classic picnic basket for a lunch at the most beautiful spot in the park.


Cabins, guesthouses, RV campgrounds, backpack sites, canoe sites, group camps, equestrian camps… No matter how you camp, this park can accomidate it. Tent it is the summer, come back to a cabin for the winter. This park is so diverse to experience. We happened upon a river front cabin while canoeing, it looked so cozy!

Wildlife Viewing

This is the park to be in if you’re wanting to catch a glimpse of wildlife. This park is home to so many critters, from black bears and wolves to muskrats and beavers. Remember to follow the leave no trace policy and keep your distance from these animals. This is their home, we are just visiting. Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Black Bears
  • Wolves
  • Beavers
  • Otters
  • Racoons
  • Squirrels
  • Eagle, Osprey, other birds
  • Fox
  • Deer
  • Muskrats

It’s unlikely that you’ll encounter a wolf, they are quite stealthy and avoid people. Bears on the other hand… They do meander about the park. This is the first state park that I encountered a bear. No worries, only excitement. We watched her mosey on about her day, crossing the road that goes to the observation tower.

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