wild river state park

Wild River State Park: Explore Minnesota

Wild River State Park, located in Minnesota, is a stunning destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated along the St. Croix River, one of the original National Wild and Scenic Rivers, this park offers a diverse range of wildlife and an array of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Key Takeaways

  • Wild River State Park in Minnesota is a must-visit for nature lovers.
  • The park is home to various wildlife species, including eagles and otters.
  • Visitors can explore the park’s 35-mile trail system and participate in naturalist programs.
  • Wild River State Park offers opportunities for canoeing and paddling on the St. Croix River.
  • Camping options range from semi-modern to rustic campsites, with additional accommodations available.

Essential Information

park permits

When planning a visit to Wild River State Park, there are a few important details to keep in mind. First and foremost, park permits are required for all visitors. These permits can be purchased either annually or on a daily basis, depending on the length of your stay. Park permits are separate from camping fees, which must also be paid if you plan to stay overnight.

For those interested in camping at Wild River State Park, reservations can be made online or by phone. The online reservation system is available 24 hours a day, offering a convenient way to secure your campsite. If you prefer to make a reservation by phone, there are designated hours when you can call to book your spot. Whether you choose to reserve online or by phone, it is recommended to plan ahead, as campsites can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.

It’s important to note that Highway 67, which used to run through the park, is permanently closed. This means that visitors will need to use alternate routes to access different areas of the park. The closure of Highway 67 has actually improved the park experience, as it has reduced traffic and made the park quieter and more peaceful.

Park Permits Camping Fees Reservation Options Highway Closure
Purchased annually or daily Separate from park permits Online 24/7 or by phone during specified hours Highway 67 permanently closed

By keeping these essential information in mind, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to Wild River State Park. Remember to obtain the necessary park permits, make reservations for camping, and plan your route accordingly due to the highway closure. With these logistics taken care of, you can focus on immersing yourself in the natural beauty and outdoor activities that the park has to offer.

Park Highlights

canoe camping

Wild River State Park offers several highlights for visitors to enjoy. From the visitor center to the trail center, there are plenty of options for exploration and entertainment. The park also offers a range of naturalist programs and unique camping experiences.

Visitor Center

The visitor center at Wild River State Park is a hub of information about the park’s natural resources and cultural history. Visitors can learn about the diverse wildlife that inhabits the park and gain insight into the rich history of the St. Croix River Valley. The visitor center is open year-round and provides educational exhibits and displays that are both informative and engaging. It is a great starting point for any visit to the park, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the area’s natural and cultural significance.

Trail Center

The trail center at Wild River State Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of hiking or cross-country skiing on the park’s 35-mile trail system. It offers restrooms, rental equipment, and a snack bar where visitors can refuel and recharge. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced outdoor enthusiast, the trail center provides everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the trails.

Naturalist Programs

Wild River State Park offers a variety of naturalist programs throughout the year. These programs are designed to educate and entertain visitors of all ages, providing them with the opportunity to learn about the park’s natural resources and participate in hands-on activities. From guided nature hikes to bird watching workshops, there is something for everyone to enjoy. These programs are a great way to further explore and appreciate the unique natural beauty of the park.

Canoe Camping and Guest House

If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, Wild River State Park has you covered. The park offers options for both canoe camping and backpack camping, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the St. Croix River. Canoe camping provides the opportunity to paddle down the river and camp at designated sites along the way, while backpack camping allows you to explore more remote areas of the park. Additionally, the park has a guest house available for reservation, offering modern amenities and comforts for those who prefer a more luxurious stay.

With its visitor center, trail center, naturalist programs, canoe camping, and guest house, Wild River State Park offers a wide range of highlights for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking information about the park’s natural resources or looking for unique outdoor experiences, the park has something for everyone. So plan your visit today and discover all that Wild River State Park has to offer!

Hiking Trails, Wildlife Viewing, Canoeing, and Fishing

Hiking Trails

Wild River State Park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. One of the main highlights of the park is its extensive network of hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for an easy nature walk or a more challenging trek, there’s a trail for every skill level. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the park as you explore winding paths through forests, grasslands, and along the scenic St. Croix River. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as you might encounter deer, foxes, and a variety of birds along the way. Keep an eye out for the park’s resident bald eagles soaring above.

Table: Park Hiking Trails Overview

Trail Name Distance Difficulty Scenic Views
Birch Creek Loop 2 miles Easy Forest and river views
River Bluff Trail 5 miles Moderate Cliffside views of the St. Croix River
Hidden Ponds Trail 3.5 miles Easy Ponds and wetland scenery
Prairie Loop Trail 6 miles Difficult Open grasslands and wildflower displays

Aside from hiking, wildlife viewing is another popular activity in Wild River State Park. As you explore the trails or relax at designated viewing areas, you’ll have the chance to spot a variety of animals in their natural habitat. Keep your binoculars handy for glimpses of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and even the elusive black bear. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the park’s diverse avian population, including red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, and warblers.

For those who love to be on the water, canoeing is a fantastic way to experience the park. Launch your canoe from one of the designated access points and paddle along the scenic St. Croix River. Take in the stunning landscapes, observe the wildlife along the riverbanks, and experience the tranquility of the water. If fishing is more your style, cast your line into the river or one of the park’s designated fishing areas. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Wild River State Park offers ample opportunities to reel in a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, northern pike, and catfish.


camping cabins

When visiting Wild River State Park, there are various accommodation options available to suit different preferences and camping styles. Whether you prefer a cozy camping cabin, drive-up campsites, a horse camp, or a more rugged backpacking experience, the park has something to offer for everyone.

Camping Cabins

If you’re seeking a comfortable and rustic camping experience, the six camping cabins at Wild River State Park are a fantastic option. These cabins provide a cozy retreat while still allowing you to connect with nature. Each cabin features basic amenities such as bunk beds, a table, and chairs, and access to nearby restrooms and water sources. They offer an ideal balance between convenience and a genuine camping experience.

Drive-Up Campsites

For those looking for a traditional camping experience with the convenience of easy access, the park offers drive-up campsites. These campsites are available as both electric and non-electric sites, allowing you to choose the level of comfort that suits your needs. They provide ample space for tents or RVs and feature picnic tables, fire rings, and nearby restroom facilities. Whether you’re a camping enthusiast or a first-time camper, these campsites offer a great option for a memorable outdoor experience.

Horse Camp

Wild River State Park also provides a semi-modern horse camp for visitors who wish to explore the park’s trails on horseback. The horse camp offers designated campsites with hitching rails, water, and access to nearby trails. It provides equestrian enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to enjoy the park’s natural beauty while exploring the trails with their horses. Please note that advanced reservations are required for the horse camp, and horse owners must provide proof of a negative Coggins test.

Backpack Sites

If you’re an adventure seeker looking for a more primitive camping experience, Wild River State Park offers backpack sites. These secluded and scenic sites are accessible only by hiking, offering a true sense of solitude and immersion in nature. Backpack sites are ideal for backpackers and hikers who want to explore the park’s trails and spend the night under the stars. These sites do not have vehicular access or amenities, so be sure to come prepared with all necessary camping gear and supplies.

Accommodation Type Description
Camping Cabins Cozy and rustic cabins with basic amenities
Drive-Up Campsites Convenient campsites with picnic tables and fire rings
Horse Camp Semi-modern campground with hitching rails for horse owners
Backpack Sites Secluded sites accessible only by hiking

Exploring the Area

scenic overlooks

Wild River State Park not only offers a breathtaking natural landscape within its boundaries but also provides opportunities for visitors to explore the surrounding area. From scenic overlooks to picnic spots, there are plenty of options to immerse yourself in the beauty of the St. Croix River Valley.

Scenic Overlooks

One of the highlights of the park is the presence of scenic overlooks scattered throughout its vast expanse. These overlooks offer panoramic views of the stunning St. Croix River Valley, allowing visitors to take in the beauty of the surrounding wilderness. Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply looking to enjoy the scenery, these spots are a must-visit.

Picnic Spots

If you’re in the mood for a leisurely outdoor meal, Wild River State Park has designated picnic spots where you can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. These areas provide a picturesque setting for picnics with family and friends, complete with picnic tables and scenic vistas. So pack a delicious lunch, grab a blanket, and savor your meal amidst the beauty of the park.

Boat Launch and Nevers Dam

For those looking to explore the St. Croix River further, the park offers a boat launch where you can easily access the water. Whether you prefer paddling in a canoe or cruising in a motorboat, the river provides endless possibilities for water-based adventures.

In addition to the boat launch, the park is also home to the historic Nevers Dam. This site offers interpretive displays that provide insight into the history and significance of the dam, as well as a great view of the river itself. It’s a fascinating spot to learn about the area’s past and marvel at the engineering feat of the dam.

Activity Location Description
Picnic spots Designated areas throughout the park Scenic locations with picnic tables for outdoor meals
Boat launch St. Croix River Provides easy access to the river for boating and paddling
Nevers Dam Within the park Historic site with interpretive displays and a view of the river

Exploring the area surrounding Wild River State Park adds another dimension to your visit, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural wonders of the St. Croix River Valley. Whether you’re capturing breathtaking views from the scenic overlooks, enjoying a picnic amidst the beauty of the park, or learning about the history of Nevers Dam, these experiences will enhance your connection with the remarkable landscape.

Services and Facilities

When visiting Wild River State Park, you will find a range of services and facilities designed to enhance your experience. The visitor center is open year-round, providing a wealth of information through exhibits and educational programs. Here, you can learn about the park’s natural resources and cultural history, gaining a deeper understanding of the area you are exploring.

If you are planning a gathering or picnic, there is a picnic shelter available for rental from May to October. This covered space offers a comfortable and convenient spot for enjoying a meal amidst the picturesque surroundings of the park.

For those in need of restrooms, rental equipment, or a quick snack, the trail center is your go-to spot. Restrooms are available for your convenience, and you can rent equipment to make the most of your hiking or cross-country skiing adventures. The trail center also features a snack bar, where you can grab a bite to refuel and energize for your next outdoor endeavor.

If you wish to explore the majestic St. Croix River, the park provides a boat landing for easy access. Whether you want to go boating, canoeing, or simply enjoy the scenic views from the water, this boat landing offers a convenient launching point for your river exploration.


What wildlife can I expect to see at Wild River State Park?

Wild River State Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including eagles, woodcock, ruffed grouse, bluebirds, beaver, and otter.

How can I purchase park permits for Wild River State Park?

Park permits for Wild River State Park can be purchased annually or on a daily basis.

How can I make camping reservations at Wild River State Park?

Camping reservations at Wild River State Park can be made online 24 hours a day or by phone during specified hours.

What highlights does Wild River State Park offer?

Wild River State Park offers a visitor center, trail center, and naturalist programs. There are also options for canoe camping and a guest house available for reservation.

What activities can I enjoy at Wild River State Park?

Visitors to Wild River State Park can enjoy hiking on the park’s 35-mile trail system, canoeing on the St. Croix River, and fishing in designated areas.

What types of accommodations are available at Wild River State Park?

Wild River State Park offers camping cabins, drive-up campsites, a semi-modern horse camp, and backpack sites for a range of camping experiences.

What can I explore in the surrounding area of Wild River State Park?

The surrounding area of Wild River State Park offers scenic overlooks, picnic spots, a boat launch, and the historic Nevers Dam.

What services and facilities does Wild River State Park provide?

Wild River State Park provides a visitor center, picnic shelter for rental, trail center with restrooms and rental equipment, and a boat landing for easy access to the St. Croix River.

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