A house boat beached on a river island during the summer season.
The Riverway provides many opportunities for boating including shore camping in some areas.


The character of the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers change as they flow downstream, affecting where different types of boats can travel on these rivers. Small boats with shallow drafts can motor on much of the Riverway while larger boats with deep drafts are limited by water levels to areas mostly south of Highway 8 on the St. Croix.

Minnesota and Wisconsin boating laws apply. The Namekagon River and the upper St. Croix are entirely in Wisconsin, while the St. Croix below Riverside Landing is a border river.

Life Jackets

A properly fitting US Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person is required on your vessel. Children under 13 years old including infants are required to wear a life jacket.
Stay Afloat: Always wear a life jacket.

Personal Watercraft and Airboats:

Personal watercraft (PWC; motorized, such as © Jet Skis) and airboats are prohibited:

  • On the St. Croix River from the Boom Site Landing, near Stillwater, Minnesota, north/upstream to Gordon Dam near Gordon, Wisconsin.

  • On the entire Namekagon River from the confluence with the St. Croix River upstream to the Namekagon Dam near Cable, Wisconsin.

See the Superintendent's Compendium for specific rules on the Riverway including fishing and camping.

Map illustration of the lower St. Croix River

Special Boating Rules South of Highway 8 on the St. Croix River

Slow-No Wake:

  • Definition: operation of a motorboat at the slowest possible speed necessary to maintain steerage.

  • Is in effect within 100 feet of

    • a downed water skier;

    • a person swimming, wading, fishing from shore or floating with the aid of a floation device;

    • a designated launch site;

    • a manually propelled, anchored, or drifting vessel;

    • shore (including the shores of islands) from the sandbars located at mile 31.0 (Apple River confluence) to the confluence of the St. Croix River with the Mississippi River; and

  • is in effect when evenever the water level reaches or exceeds 683.0 feet at the gauge in Stillwater, MN;

Slow Speed Zone:

  • Definition: operation of a motorboat at a leisurely speed, less than planing speed, whereby the wake or wash created by the motorboat is minimal.

  • No motor boat shall at any time be operated in excess of a slow speed from the dam at Taylors Falls to the sandbars located at mile 31.0 (Apple River confluence).

Personal Watercraft, Airboats, Waterskiing and Towables:

  • personal watercraft (such as © Jet Skis) and airboats are prohibited north of Boom Site Landing (near Stillwater, Minnesota)

  • towing water skiers, tubes, or similar devices is prohibited

  1. north of the Arcola Sandbar, anytime.

  2. between Stillwater and the Arcola Sandbar after noon on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

  3. between sunset and sunrise, river-wide.


Protect the River

By doing these six things every time you boat or paddle on the Riverway, you can help keep invasive species out of the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.


  • bring live crayfish for bait.

  • take minnows or move live fish, plants, or water from the rivers.


  • inspect your equipment and clean plants, animals, and mud from your boat and trailer before and after you are on the river.

  • drain all water from boats, motors and all equipment.

  • dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

  • wash your equipment with hot (>104ºF) water or allow your equipment to dry thoroughly for 5 days.

Find out more about zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species in this national park.
A rectangular picture of a white river buoy with two orange bands overlayed on an image of a river with green trees on its shore. Blue sky above.
Upstream travel past High Bridge at river mile S29 is prohibited to prevent the spread of zebra mussels.

NPS Photo

Last updated: July 20, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024


715 483-2274

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