Camping Regulations Highway 8 to Soo Line High Bridge

What are the regulations?

The following regulations are in effect on the St. Croix River between U.S. Highway 8 at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin - Taylors Falls, Minnesota (river mile 52.5) and the Soo Line High Bridge (river mile 29.5).

  • Campers are required to have a camping permit
  • Campers must camp in designated campsites.
    • Campers are required to bring in and use their own portable camp toilets or use on-board facilities on self-contained boats.
    • A total of 20 primitive and two primitive group campsites have been established. Up to 8 people in 3 tents will be allowed at individual campsites. Group sites will accommodate 9 to 16 people in up to 6 tents. Larger groups will need to split up or make arrangements to camp in one of the state parks.
  • There is a limit of stay of 3 consecutive nights. There is a 30-night limit for the season.
  • Campsites must be occupied on the first night of stay.
  • The camping permit must be attached to the tent so it is clearly visible. The permit must be displayed every time you camp.
  • Alcohol is prohibited at the six Eagle's Nest Campsites (river mile 48.5) located downriver from Franconia Landing.
  • Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Campfires are permitted only in steel fire rings or grills.
  • The cutting of live vegetation is strictly prohibited. Dead and down wood may be collected from shoreline areas, however, it cannot be collected from islands.
  • Possession of firewood that originates more than 25 miles from the Riverway is prohibited.
  • Campfires must be out and cold before you leave the area.
  • Please do not bring glass containers to the Riverway. Broken glass cuts bare feet.
  • All trash must be carried out of the Riverway at the end of your stay.

How do I get a camping permit?

You can print the camping permit application, read and sign it, and mail it to:

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Attn: Camping Permit Division
401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls WI 54024

Permit applications may be faxed to our office as well (715-483-3288). Please call 715-483-2274 to alert our staff that you will be sending it by fax.

After reviewing the application for completeness, National Park Service staff will mail you the permit. Incomplete or inaccurate applications will be returned for corrections.

You can also stop by the St. Croix River Visitor Center, 401 North Hamilton Street, St. Croix Falls, WI to complete the application and receive the permit during visitor center hours of operation.

What is the cost for a camping permit?

The permit is free.

Does every person in my group need a camping permit?

No. One permit is required for each group staying at a campsite.

Where do I display the permit at my campsite?

Attach the permit to your tent so it is clearly visible. The permit must be displayed every time you camp.

If I lose my permit, how do I get a replacement?

Contact the St. Croix River Visitor Center at (715) 483-2274 for a replacement.

Will a portable camp toilet fit in my canoe or kayak? How much does it cost and where can I purchase one?

There are many different styles of portable camp toilets, including ones that will fit in a canoe or kayak. Portable camp toilets are available for purchase at most outdoor recreation equipment stores. Prices begin around $20.

Where are the campsites located and how do I find them when I am on the river?

The National Park Service has established 20 primitive and 2 primitive group campsites on this stretch of river. Campsite locations are indicated on the St. Croix River Map 8: Highway 8 to Osceola Landing and St. Croix River Map 9: Osceola Landing to the High Bridge. These maps are also available at visitor centers, at some landings, and at authorized businesses renting equipment to paddle or float on the St. Croix.

Brown signs with a white campsite symbol and the campsite's river mile indicate the locations of the campsites on the river. Metal fire rings are provided. Dead and down wood may be collected for campfires except from islands. Possession of firewood that originates more than 50 miles from the Riverway is prohibited.

Do I need a reservation to camp?

No. Campsites are first-come, first-served.

I have a group of more than 16 people. Where can I camp?

The 6 clustered sites established at Eagle's Nest (a NPS boat-in campground south of Franconia Landing) will accommodate larger groups - up to a total of 48 people (8 per site). Eagle's Nest is first-come, first-served. Alcohol is not permitted here. If not camping at Eagle's Nest, groups that exceed 16 people will need to split up or make reservations to camp at a group site in one of the state parks.

Minnesota State Park Camping Reservations or Wisconsin State Park Camping Reservations

Do I need a camping permit if I want to camp on the St. Croix River north of St. Croix Falls - Taylors Falls or on the Namekagon?

No, a permit is not required and you can camp in designated primitive campsites along the Namekagon River and along the St. Croix River from Gordon Dam to St. Croix Falls. Refer to the general camping page.

Why aren't the regulations in effect south of the Soo Line High Bridge?

Recreational use south of the Soo Line High Bridge is quite different than that to the north. Larger and faster boats frequent this stretch of river and, in addition to camping, there is a lot of day use of the islands and shorelines. For these reasons, different regulations are in place from the Soo Line High Bridge to Boomsite Landing, a section of river known as the Stillwater Islands area.

Open camping is permitted on islands only. Areas suitable for camping are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The camping stay limit is 7 consecutive nights. Vault toilets are available on Mile Long Island. If not using those toilets or onboard toilets, portable toilets are required.

For a map and a complete list of regulations for this area, see the Section 10 map.

The States of Minnesota and Wisconsin are responsible for day-to-day management of the Riverway in the state-administered zone south of Boomsite Landing. No changes to camping regulations in the state-administered zone are contemplated at this time.

Why were the camping regulations implemented?

The National Park Service (NPS) is charged with protecting the resources of the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway while providing opportunities for visitors to enjoy the park. Minimally regulated camping along the lower St. Croix River (from St. Croix Falls, WI - Taylors Falls, MN to Stillwater, MN) had raised concerns about human waste, shoreline and island erosion, and its effects on Riverway visitors and residents.

The NPS hopes that by providing designated campsites with occupancy and stay limits, requiring portable camp toilets, and issuing camping permits the following results will be achieved.

  • The use of portable camp toilets will protect human health and water quality. In some portions of the Riverway, it is acceptable to bury human waste at least 6 inches deep, 100 feet or more from water, so that it will not enter that water source. However, use on the lower St. Croix occurs primarily on islands and shorelines where it is not possible to get 100 feet or more from the water and sites are periodically flooded.
  • Designated campsites and stay limits will help to make the sites available to more people, allow campsites to rest and restore when nobody is using them, and alleviate confusion over where to camp.
  • Campers will know, understand, and abide by regulations that are designed to protect the Riverway.
  • With designated campsites, natural and cultural resources will be protected and camping will be able to peacefully coexist with private landownership.

If you have questions please call 715-483-2274 or e-mail.

Last updated: April 24, 2022

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401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024


715 483-2274

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