Planning for the Future of Fairy Falls Day Use Area

The National Park Service is exploring opportunities for improving safety, protecting the natural environment, and enhancing visitor experiences at the Fairy Falls Day Use Area, located near Stillwater, Minnesota. The Fairy Falls Day Use Area is a 54-acre natural area located in Stillwater Township. Deep ravines and steep bluffs surround Silver Creek as it passes through a marsh on its way the St. Croix River. The area has a long history of human use, and its ecological diversity provides habitat for a variety of plants and animals.

Fairy Falls Day Use Area Regulations:

  • Open daily from sunrise to sunset. 

  • Camping and fires are prohibited.

  • Open to deer archery hunting only during the established Minnesota hunting season. 

  • Closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed.

  • Park only in designated areas.

  • If there is an emergency, please call 911. To report issues or concerns within the NPS property, please call 1-800-PARK-TIP.

  • Please contact the park at 715-483-2274 with any questions or concerns.

Fairy Falls Day Use Area was closed to the public from summer 2020 to winter 2022 due to lack of safe visitor access and deteriorating social trails along steep slopes.

Planning Process:

The following outlines the planning process, with project updates starting with the most recent. Any project updates throughout the process can be found on this web page, linked from "Planning for Fairy Falls" at, or by calling the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Headquarters at 715-483-2274.

Public Input 2024:

With input from public and partner comments, the NPS has developed a site management plan to minimize resource damage and provide for visitor safety. The draft plan Environmental Assessment will be available for review from June 17 – July 16, 2024. Visitors and neighbors are encouraged to:

  • Submit comments online at
  • Send comments to Allissa Reynolds, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, 401 N. Hamilton St., St. Croix Falls, WI 54024
  • Attend and participate in the public meeting on June 25, 2024, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, at the Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater, MN 55082. The meeting will have an open house format with a short presentation delivered at 6:30 pm.

Planning Updates: 2021 - 2023

Public Input 2023: (updated Tuesday, 2/21/2023)

In February and March 2023, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway will be seeking public input about future management of the Fairy Falls Day Use Area. Public comments will be accepted February 13 through March 29, 2023 (extended from March 15). All interested individuals are invited to share their thoughts at:, or by sending comments to Lisa Yager, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, 401 N. Hamilton Street, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024.

For those interested in learning more about Fairy Falls Day Use Area and the planning process, the National Park Service will host an in-person open house in Stillwater, Minnesota on Tuesday, March 7 (rescheduled from February 23 due to weather). At the open house, the National Park Service will share information about possible management options and solicit public feedback. NPS staff will present a short overview about the project at 5:30 pm. Information shared at the open house will also be available at

Open House Information: Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm with a short presentation at 5:30 pm Water Street Inn at 101 Water St. S, Stillwater, MN, 55082.

Aerial view of Fairy Falls Day Use Area with overlay of dotted line for trail and overlay of blue line for Silver Creek
Fairy Falls Day Use Area Map


Fairy Falls Day Use Area Closure Rescinded – Effective December 19, 2022

Fairy Falls Day Use Area closed to the public in the summer of 2020 due to unsafe trail and site conditions and lack of access. The NPS has been working to secure parking and make minor site adjustments while the longer-term site planning process has been ongoing. The NPS aims to rescind the site closure while the larger planning process continues.

As part of the closure rescission:

  • Primary public access will be at the intersection of County Highway 11 and Orwell Avenue. The large “closed” sign at the intersection of County Highway 11 and Orwell Ave was replaced with a site information sign. Other site closed signs were replaced with site information signs.

  • Safe parking is critical to Fairy Falls Day Use Area closure rescission. Stillwater Township removed a limited number of “no parking” signs and “Fairy Falls Day Use Area Parking Only” signs were installed on Orwell Avenue. Stillwater Township can re-install “no parking” signs on Orwell Avenue at any time if parking issues arise. If this occurs, then Fairy Falls Day Use Area may close again due to lack of unsafe parking/access.

  • The current trails are not maintained or developed, and the NPS recommends caution and being prepared for difficult and possibly impassable conditions if accessing the site. Signage has been installed and piled brush to discourage use on trails with the most unsafe conditions.  No infrastructure changes will be made at this time.


Public Input 2021:

In October and November 2021, Riverway staff invited public comments to gather input and ideas for the future of Fairy Falls Day Use Area. Over 40 comments from members of the public and partners were submitted during a month-long public comment period, and over 30 individuals attended two virtual open houses held on October 19 and October 21, 2021. The presentation provided in those meetings was recorded and can be accessed on the Wild Rivers Conservancy's YouTube channel: Fairy Falls Day Use Area Virtual Public Meeting Presentation 10.19.2021 - YouTube.

Commenters noted a variety of issues and opportunities at Fairy Falls Day Use Area and summaries of these are provided below.

Park management suggestions: Commenters shared possible solutions for the parking situation, including trailhead and parking lot locations, connection opportunities, and parking management solutions such as permits. Other comments about management included provision of basic amenities such as trash cans, restroom facilities, and benches or picnic areas. Commenters also noted opportunities for natural and cultural resource interpretation and education, such as signage about plants, wildlife, and historic resources at the site.

Visitor use and experience suggestions: Many comments included suggestions for improved visitor access, better maps and signage on the trails, and dedicated viewing areas for Fairy Falls. Others requested allowing or supporting different or additional recreational uses such as mountain biking, archery-only hunting, and ice climbing. Some commenters suggested a volunteer corps for stewarding trails and picking up trash, and several commenters offered to participate. Several comments noted the opportunity to better connect the Fairy Falls Day Use Area with the rest of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, both in terms of on-the-ground links but also interpretation and educational connections.

The fall 2021 public outreach and comment period was the first step in the Fairy Falls Day Use Area planning process. These comments and ideas have been used as park staff prepare a range of possible future alternatives for the site.Riverway staff will continue to engage the public during the process, and they will assess compliance needs under the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental regulations. Draft site options are being developed and there will be opportunities for the public to engage in early 2023.

Last updated: June 7, 2024

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401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024


715 483-2274

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