Share a fun-filled camping experience with your family along the beautiful and historic St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Paddle 24-foot Voyageur canoes down the easy-flowing water, viewing ancient petroglyphs on the cliffs along the way. Close to the Twin Cities, the river is a great location for a weekend family getaway. Relax and enjoy games and activities on the banks of the St. Croix, covered with pine, balsam, and birch that offer respite from the warm sun. This is a great vacation for those who want to enjoy a scenic and easygoing getaway with the family. The St. Croix offers something for everyone.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Depart Interstate State Park and begin your paddle down the St. Croix.
Meet at Minnesota's William O'Brien State Park in the morning and travel together with your group to your St. Croix River entry point at Interstate State Park - Minnesota. After a group orientation, unload gear, repack into Duluth packs, and get to know your surroundings as you embark down river amongst large basalt walls, carved into a canyon by ancient glacial meltwaters. Settle into your first campsite among towering white pines and spruce trees.
Day 2: Search for bald eagles and great blue herons as you paddle to Osceola Landing.
Rise to the aroma of coffee and breakfast before breaking camp and traveling downstream. Be on the lookout for bald eagles that grace the trees and sky. Great Blue Herons wade silently near the shoreline and Peregrine Falcons watch as we progress down the river. Take a break from paddling to stop for lunch and go for a swim. Arrive at your campsite near Osceola Landing. Set up camp, enjoy dinner and a fire under the stars, right on the banks of the river.
Day 3: Enjoy one last morning paddle and say farewell to your trip mates.
Take a mid-morning paddle to your take-out point at William O'Brien State park. Look for wintergreen and wildflowers. Eat one last lunch together before packing for the trip home. The trip officially ends in the early afternoon.
Dates & Fees
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The river banks are generally low throughout this section of the river. Sand bars are frequent, and some rocks are scattered along the route. There are no portages. Routes will depend on the water levels at the time of the trip.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: This trip is recommended for families with children age 3 and older. An average day’s travel will consist of 2-5 hours of paddling depending on the weather. The total distance travelled will be 15 – 18 miles.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the summer months range from 35 F to 100 F. Rainfall can vary and you should expect the possibility of rain.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 4 to 15 participants, plus 1 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. If you are looking for a family-friendly vacation this is a great choice. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can. Part of the adventure involves learning about daily camp activities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night, you will sleep in 4-person tents with 3-4 people (although other arrangements can be made). Bathroom facilities consist of a foldable commode chair or an outhouse. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
MEALS: The fun of camping includes cooking in the wilderness, a challenge with great rewards. We pride ourselves on providing healthy ingredients for simple, plentiful dishes everyone will enjoy. Count on hearty breakfasts, trail lunches, plenty of snacks, and wonderful dinners, finished off with campfire s’mores.
FISHING: If you would like to fish on the St. Croix trip, we suggest bringing your own fishing pole and tackle. You must have either a Minnesota or Wisconsin fishing license.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group gear and equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip and it will be sanitized between trips. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: Upon your arrival, we will perform a health screening that will include confirming that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms (for example: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat) or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 related symptoms within the last 2 weeks. We will also take each group member’s temperature daily. If COVID-19 related symptoms develop during your trip, the trip will end immediately and everyone must return home as soon as safely able.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. loading/unloading boats, cooking, etc.) or when requested by a WI staff member. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Boat Launch TBD at 10:00 AM (local time)
End: Boat Launch TBD at 1:00 PM (local time)
This trip will begin at 10:00 AM and end at 1:00 PM at the same location. This trip's starting and ending locations will be determined based on group mix and available permits. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Booking a Flight? We recommend flying in to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport the night before your trip, and flying out no earlier than 5:30 PM on the last day of the trip.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes - we believe the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors should be available to everyone. To keep our programs as financially accessible as possible, each year we raise funds to support need-based scholarships. Certain restrictions apply. Financial aid is available for a select number of trips only and typically not available for international trips. Click here to apply for financial aid. This website also shows a list of trips that are currently eligible for financial aid. Check back often, as this list is updated regularly! Call 612-676-9400 for more information.
Will I see any wildlife on this trip?
The river is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. As you paddle you may see turtles, hawks, bald eagles, beavers, otters, and deer. You can print a checklist of common animals on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway’s website, here: https://www.nps.gov/sacn/learn/nature/upload/common-animal-checklist.pdf.
I’ve never camped or canoed before. Will I be able to do this trip?
Yes! This is the perfect destination for paddlers of all experience levels, abilities, and ages.
Is the St. Croix River a National Park?
The St. Croix River National Scenic Riverway is a unit of the National Park System. It is one of the eight original national Wild and Scenic Rivers, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.