Family Weekender: Minneapolis

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and St. Croix State Park
By Mike Youngblood
  |  Gorp.com
GO GUIDE: St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and St. Croix State Park
* Activities: Canoeing, day hiking, biking
* Hours from Minneapolis: 1.45
* Getting There: St. Croix State Park is 15 miles east of Hinckley, Minnesota, on State Highway 48, then 5 miles south on County Road 22. For middle St. Croix canoe route, the Highway 35 wayside put-in is 9 miles northeast of Danbury, Wisconsin, on Wisconsin Highway 35.
* Reference: Paddling Minnesota by Greg Breining. Falcon Publishing, (800) 582-2665. Hiking Minnesota by Mike Link and Kate Crowley. Human Kinetics Publishers, (800) 747-4457.
* Added Value: Canoeists doing the full route shouldn't miss the 60-foot high Sandrock Cliffs, which aren't visible from the river's main channel. To see them head east behind the prominent island about 3 miles after passing the mouth of the Snake River.
* Contact: St. Croix Wild and National Scenic Rivers Visitor Center, (320) 629-2148
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The canoe can be the ideal family craft-especially on the gently flowing waters of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The middle reach of the St. Croix, from the put-in point at Wisconsin Highway 35 wayside to the take-out at Minnesota Highway 70, is a 42-mile run through some of the wildest and most beautiful country in central Minnesota. Along the way, there are fantastic camping and picnic spots.

The ideal weekend trip includes an overnight stop at the campgrounds of St. Croix State Park, about halfway through the run. The park's forested hiking and biking trails are a great place to stretch out the family legs and explore the natural world along the riverbank. You can even rent bicycles for the whole crew right there at the park.

The best part for families is that paddling this stretch of the river doesn't require much work, so it's ideal for children (supervised, of course) and beginners. There's one long stretch of Class I and II rapids to thrill the kids (near the confluence with the Kettle River) but otherwise the water leaves plenty of time for gentle paddling and soaking up the scenery. When it's all over, a shuttle can take you back to the car.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 11 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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