What to do in Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park is one of Wisconsin's loveliest and oldest state parks, established in 1900. The linear park is located in the region known as the Dalles of the St. Croix. Two hundred foot basalt sheer cliffs with huge rock resembling human profiles are the hallmark. The glacier carved Dalles includes Devil's Chair, Lion's Head and Turk's Head.

The rugged area has been a tourist attraction for two centuries. Legislative protection of the land began as early as 1878 with efforts waning when public land protection was deemed unessential. The foresight of two men, Harry D. Baker and George H. Hazzard gave rebirth to the public parkland idea thus creating a scenic river corridor shared by the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Today, Wisconsin's 1,377-acre park of river frontage along the St. Croix River, Lake O' the Dalles is mirrored by the smaller 293-acre Minnesota Interstate State Park. Both parks are thriving wild areas where black bear, wolves, white-tailed deer, fox, otter, mink, eagles, osprey, 200 bird species and a host of other wildlife make residence. Terrain at the Wisconsin Interstate State Park ranges in elevation from 685 feet to 1,050 feet above sea level.

Whatever outdoor activities you enjoy, you'll find that a variety of recreational opportunities await at Interstate State Park. The park has two campgrounds with a total of 85 family campsites and a primitive group camp that accommodates 60 people. Firewood is available for sale. Camping reservations are available online or by calling a toll-free reservation number. Contact information is listed below.

Visitors may picnic in several different areas of the park. Picnic tables and grills are available as well as shelters that can be reserved for group picnics. There is an excellent swimming beach and CCC-built changing facility at scenic Lake O' the Dalles. Sunbathing is enjoyed along the rocky shoreline across from Folsom Island.

The best way to discover all that Interstate State Park has to offer is by hiking some of the nine miles of trails found throughout the park including loops within the designated natural areas. Scenic overlooks provide views of the spectacular scenery created by 10,000 year-old glaciers. Cold weather enthusiasts will find over 10 miles of groomed cross-country trails ranging from novice to advance.

Summer naturalist programs are offered from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Explore the trails, ponder the potholes, or hear the colorful history of the St. Croix River valley during a guided hike or riverboat tour aboard the seasonal Taylors Falls Princess. The Junior Ranger and Wisconsin Explorer program offers another opportunity for adults and children (grades kindergarten and up) to learn about nature together. At the Ice Age Interpretive Center, open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, visitors can view exhibits, watch a 20-minute film entitled "Night of the Sun," or shop Glacier's Gifts where guide books and a host of souvenirs are for purchase. The film is shown daily at 11 AM and 1 and 3 PM. Each February the Center holds an annual candlelight ski and snowshoe trek.

Boaters can find water access at both the Lake O' the Dalles (non-motorized watercraft only) and the St. Croix River. ADA fishing piers give access to trout, walleye, muskie, bass and pike water. The St. Croix Falls State Fish Hatchery lies due north of the park. Whitewater thrill seekers are encouraged to try the stretch of river below Highway 8 bridge.

The park is open from 6 AM to 11 PM all year. A vehicle entrance sticker is required.

Visitors to this remarkable public site enjoy cross-country skiing, fishing from boat or pier (ADA), nature study, picnicking, hiking, sightseeing, paddling, limited boating, nature photography, riverboat tours, swimming, sunbathing, and camping.

The park is in St. Croix Falls, on Wisconsin Highway 35 just half mile south of U.S. Highway 8.

Northwest Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. January's average temperature is in the single digits F (-teens C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F for several days (32 degrees C). Nighttime summer temperatures occasionally dip below freezing. The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Northwest Region have a wide range; the southern areas may receive 20" while the northern areas may receive in excess of 200". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.

P.O. Box 703
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

Phone: 715-483-3747

  • Interstate State Park Travel Q&A