Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Croix River

The St. Croix River Valley extends from Taylors Falls, MN and St. Croix Falls, WI on the north to Hastings, MN and Prescott, WI on the south. Visitors and residents can enjoy the scenic beauty of the river for over 60 miles.

In 1994, 19 communities in the St. Croix Valley joined together for the purpose of promoting the area as a destination point for vacations. The St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance has demonstrated that communities in both Minnesota and Wisconsin can work together for the good of the whole area. The Alliance has adopted this mission statement: To serve as an educational resource for the history, culture, and natural resources of the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and to increase the economic impact of tourism in our member communities through cooperative promotions of the Scenic St. Croix Valley. Each year the governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin show their support of this cooperation, by joining local business people, and Alliance members, on a boat cruise on the St. Croix River.

The Alliance has developed a comprehensive 120 page book listing tourism-related activities, services, and amenities in the Valley, in a guide book called “Ask Us”. Many local businesses, Chambers and Business Associations have this available for anyone to use.

We invite you to visit as many of the communities as possible in the Scenic St. Croix Valley. Many different experiences, and scenic beauty awaits you in all seasons in the Scenic St. Croix River Valley. Tell your friends, and be sure to come again.

Lower St. Croix Scenic Riverway

The Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway covers a narrow river and shoreline corridor for 52 miles from St. Croix Falls dam to Prescott, WI, where the river joins the Mississippi. The lower St. Croix is wider, deeper and slower than the upper, its flow controlled by the hydroelectric dam at its upstream end. Downstream of the dam are the high cliffs of the Dales, which formed as meltwaters from retreating glaciers cutting deep, vertical-walled gorge through bedrock. For about 2 miles here the St. Croix, in places 70-100 feet deep, flows the fastest.

The Dales mostly lie within two Interstate Parks. Both offer short hiking trails to geologic features and developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, picnic areas, and boat launch ramps. On the Minnesota side, you can rent a canoe or take a boat tour to see the scenic Dales from the best vantage point, right on the water.

As it leaves the Dales, the river becomes wider and shallower and passes between high banks for the next 20 miles. Although development is visible from the water for 15 miles on this stretch, it is popular with canoeists. The shallower water, lack of rapids and absence of large powerboat waves make it suitable for beginning canoeists.

About 22 miles below the dam, the Apple River flows into the St. Croix, creating a large sandbar. Near here, the river becomes deeper and slower-moving. Large powerboating becomes the major use.

Twenty-seven miles downstream the valley widens still more and, for the last 25 miles of riverway, the river is known as Lake St. Croix. Here you enter the state-administered area. From near Stillwater, MN, the riverway’s largest city, south to Afton, MN, shoreline development is more visible and the area is classified recreational. Near Hudson, WI, the river reaches its maximum width of 7,400 feet and sail boating predominates. Further south the river passes two developing state parks, one on either side.

Recreation on the lower St. Croix includes canoeing, fishing, power-boating, water skiing, and sail boating. Tour boat rides are offered at Interstate State Park near Taylor Falls, MN and at Stillwater. The three developed state parks offer campgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, and swimming beaches. You may find limited primitive campsites at shoreline points and on islands.

Special water-use regulations apply on the lower riverway. Information courtesy of National Park Service. For information, write: Superintendent • PO Box 708 • St. Croix Falls, WI 54024.

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Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce, 237 Broad St., Prescott, WI 54021
715.262.3284 .
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