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Minnesota State Parks

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USA Parks
Arrowhead Region
Saint Croix State Park
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Saint Croix State Park Drake Wood Duck © Bryan Wagner
Saint Croix State Park © Nancy Bauer
Saint Croix State Park American bittern © Nancy Bauer
Saint Croix State Park St. Croix River © Nancy Bauer
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30065 St. Croix Park Road
Hinckley, Minnesota   55037

Phone: 320-384-6591
Toll Free: 888-646-6367
Reservations: 866-857-2757
Email: park email button icon
Plan an extended visit to St. Croix. With over 34,000 acres and two great rivers: the Saint Croix River, a National Scenic Riverway, and the Kettle River, a State Wild and Scenic River, there's so much to do. Explore the rivers by canoe or with a fishing pole. Swim at Lake Clayton or climb a fire tower. The park has miles of trails for hikers, horseback riders, bicyclists, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. Campers can reserve drive-in, walk-in, backpack, and horseback campsites. Large groups can reserve the modern group centers or the primitive group camps.
Nature of the Area
Twenty-one miles of the St. Croix River, a National Scenic Riverway, form the eastern boundary of the park, while Minnesota's first Wild and Scenic River, the Kettle River, joins the St. Croix to form the western boundary. At least ten other streams flow through the park, creating a watershed of hundreds of square miles. These waterbodies also provide important opportunities for canoeing, fishing, and kayaking. St. Croix State Park, which is on the eastern edge of the Mille Lacs Uplands, is an important site for plants and animals too. Once home to stands of virgin red and white pine, today, St. Croix State Park is a mix of natural communities including a unique plant community called the jackpine barrens. Visitors will see areas where work is being done to reintroduce fire into the jack pine to promote restoration of this ecosystem. An enormous diversity of plants and animals are common, including the stemless lady-slipper or moccasin flower, blazing stars, bald eagles, black bears, and timber wolves.

During the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago, the St. Croix River valley served as a major drainage channel for glacial meltwater from Lake Superior. As these waters carved the way for the river seen today, the waters left behind a variety of soils and sediment that cover the ancient lava bedrock far below, including a glacial outwash plain of sand left by Glacial Lake Grantsburg. Many springs along the river banks occur where the river valley has eroded through the glacial gravel to release water trapped between the sediments. The final wave of glacial meltwater cleaned debris from the Kettle River valley, leaving much of the basalt and sandstone bedrock exposed. A stop at the Kettle River Highbanks is a step back over millions of years.

The habitats consist of both aspen and conifers, which benefits wildlife including black bear, coyotes, beaver, raccoons, gray and red fox, and deer. Eastern timber wolves are also found in the park but are not commonly seen. Many species of birds thrive here: warblers, flycatchers, eagles, owls, and osprey are common along the St. Croix.
History of the Area
The St. Croix River was an important trade route for hundreds of years, first for the Native Americans, and then for the French, English, and American fur traders. Although the fur trade ended during the mid 1800's, logging camps along the St. Croix River sprung up, all taking advantage of the river's force to float logs to lumber mills downstream. By 1915, the logging era had moved on to other parts of the country. The newly cleared land was attractive to farmers and immigrants from all over the world, but these settlers struggled to make a living from the poor soil. In 1934, 18,000 acres of St. Croix area farmland was purchased, and in 1935, became the St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area. Under the direction of the National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), set out to transform these lands into group camps, roads, and campgrounds, with all the necessary buildings and structures. Most of their efforts remain in use today, with many of the buildings and structures listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Interpretive signs throughout the former CCC campsite describe the lives and work of the CCC's in the St. Croix RDA, which in 1943, became St. Croix State Park.
1. Saint Croix State Park offers two designated swimming areas on Lake Clayton and St. Croix River.
2. No lifeguards are present at the park's beaches, so swim with caution.
3. Swimming is allowed from 8 a. m to 10 p. m daily during summer months only.
4. The beach area has picnic tables and grills for visitors' use after their swim sessions.
5. Visitors can also engage in other water activities like canoeing or fishing near the swimming spots.

The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. Canoe rentals are available at the park office, allowing guests to explore both the St. Croix and Kettle rivers that run through it. Motorized boats can be launched from two different boat ramps located within the area: one on Big Slough near Norway Point picnic area, another on Riverside Landing along State Highway 48 bridge over St.Croix River.

For those interested in overnight trips or longer excursions downriver towards Mississippi river confluence, there is an option to use canoe campsites which need reservation beforehand.

In winter months when conditions allow ice fishing becomes popular with locals and tourists alike who have access to several lakes including Lake Clayton & Bear Creek Flowage where they can drill holes into frozen surface using augers provided by Park's rental service.
Enjoy fishing in two rivers and numerous small lakes, home to northern pike, walleye, bass and various panfish. The park also offers ice fishing during winter months. Canoe rentals are available for river angling adventures. Fishing equipment can be borrowed at the park office if needed.

Saint Croix State Park offers picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. There's also a large group camp for gatherings.
Biking enthusiasts can explore over 5 miles of paved bike trails. Be cautious, as some areas are hilly.

Mountain bikers have access to a challenging trail system with varied terrain. It's not recommended for beginners.

The park offers bicycle rentals during summer months but availability is limited so plan accordingly and arrive early.

Winter biking isn't advised due to snowfall and icy conditions making the paths dangerous even for experienced cyclists.

Remember that helmets are mandatory on all trails within this state park; safety should always be your priority!
Birdwatchers can enjoy over 200 species of birds. The park offers birding checklists and occasional guided tours. Bird habitats range from hardwood forests to marshlands, providing diverse viewing opportunities. Species include warblers, eagles, hawks and waterfowl.

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Area Campgrounds
Two Creeks Campground
62399 Duxbury Road
Sandstone, MN
St. Croix Haven Campground
40756 Grace Lake Road
Hinckley, MN
Nearby Hotels

The park is located 15 miles east of Hinckley on State Highway 48, then 5 miles south on County Road 22.

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Minnesota State Parks