Interstate Parks to Osceola Landing

A grey Rock face emerging from the river against a blue cloudy sky.

The St. Croix Dalles are one of the Riverway's most spectacular natural resources.


Gorgeous Gorges
Distance: 6.6 Miles
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Location: Lower St. Croix, between Taylors Fall/St. Croix Falls and Osceola [Map 8][Interactive Map 8]

At the beginning of this section of river, explore the St. Croix Dalles. The Dalles is a deep gorge of basaltic rock formed thousands of years ago. This area has been the site of many historic events from steamboat building to giant log jams of the lumber era. Below the Dalles the river widens into a sandy and mixed gravel substrate with vast mussel beds below the water. About two miles south of the Wisconsin Interstate State Park another set of basaltic cliffs rise from the water and offer a one last chance at a scenic paddle beneath steep rock walls. Note that it is illegal to dive or jump from these or any other cliffs along the St. Croix.

During periods of good precipitation, a paddle through Close's Slough, past Franconia Landing, offers opportunities for solitude in wooded floodplains. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen and hidden lakes to be explored. On the main channel the substrate is sandy with a multitude of sand bars for a relaxing stop. At the end of this stretch, the Osceola Bridge comes into view and picturesque bluffs rise alongside it. Just past the bridge on the Minnesota side of the river is Osceola Landing.

Camping: If camping along this section of river, a camping permit is required.

River-Level Consideration: This section of river can be floated spring through fall wiht east paddling and little dragging. Motorized boats should use caution during periods of low water. Consult River Levels page for information about current conditions.

Along the way:

7 campsites (1 group campsite at Eagle's Nest)

1 River Landing - Franconia

Potable Water at Minnesota and Wisconsin Interstate Park, Eagle's Nest and Osceola Landing.

Wisconsin Interstate Park and Minnesota Interstate Park

Multi-Day Extension: Combining this stretch with the section of river below Osceola Landing make for an easy 2 to 3 day trip, with relatively flat water the entire distance. Special camping regulations exist on the St. Croix between U.S. Highway 8 and the Soo Line High Bridge.

Return to Ranger Recommended Paddles

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