Interstate State Park: A Guide to Wisconsin’s and Minnesota’s Scenic Park

Oct 29, 2020 02:00 AM

Photo by Joe Monat from Flickr
SHARE - Interstate State Park comprises two adjacent state parks on the Minnesota–Wisconsin border. Both straddle the Dalles on the St. River. Croix, a deep basalt gorge with glacial vents of Interstate State Park potholes and other rock formations.

The Wisconsin park is 1,330 acres (538 ha), while its counterpart in Minnesota is 298 acres (121 ha). The towns of Taylors Falls, Minnesota, and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin adjoin the park. Interstate State Park is within the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve.

The Wisconsin side features the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as well as the Ice Age Interpretive Center showcasing a film, photographs, murals, and information about Wisconsin's glacial history. On the Minnesota side, two areas contain National Park Service rustic style buildings and structures.

Find out more about the two parks and learn the available amenities as well as recreational activities to enjoy there with our complete guide.

Interstate State Park WI and MN

Directions to Interstate State Park

Photo by Martha Decker from Flickr

To get to the Interstate State Park Minnesota, off I-35, follow Highway 8 east (from the south), then follow Highway 95 east (from the north). Pass through Taylors Falls and follow park signs. As for the Wisconsin Interstate State Park, it’s located at 1275 Highway 35, St. Croix Falls, about 330 miles northwest of Milwaukee via I-94 and Highways 53, 8, and 35.

Interstate State Park trails

Photo by amee@work from Flickr

There are more than nine miles of hiking trails in the Wisconsin Interstate State Park and up to 5 great hiking trails, kid-friendly trails, and more which offer breathtaking views and natural attributes of the park.

Glacial Pothole and Ice Age Trail is a 2.7 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Dresser, Wisconsin that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and rock climbing and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

Saint Croix River Trail and Railroad Trail Loop is a 4.8 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Taylors Falls, Minnesota that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, bird watching, and canoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

Canoeing Interstate State Park

Photo by Joe Monat from Flickr

Interstate State Park offers one of its finest paddling opportunities. Enjoy the beautiful sights of the Dalles of the St. Croix River as you paddle through a basalt gorge with Minnesota to the west and Wisconsin to the east.

The service is managed by the National Park Service, as a part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. While Wisconsin isn't home to any proper National Parks, it does offer some federally protected lands like this that are very picturesque.

You can either bring your own boat or rent from a local rental place and launch from Interstate's boat landing. Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental is an Interstate State Park canoe and kayak rental you can opt for.

You’ll explore the beautiful St Croix River from Taylors Falls to Osceola (7 miles), 2 - 3 hours of paddling time, or from Taylors Falls to Wm O'Brien (17 miles) 5 - 7 hours of paddling time. No experience necessary to paddle this section of the river. The rental service offers a free shuttle back to your car at the end of your trip.

Interstate State Park camping

Photo by Teslagrl from Flickr

Minnesota Interstate State Park campground has some campsites to choose from for your outdoor stay. Drive-in Sites has 37 sites with several non-electric sites on the river. Camping is available from April 1 through the third weekend in October.

There are 22 Electric Sites with 20 and 30-amp service. If you’re bringing your RV, note that the RV length limit is 45 feet, measured from front of the tow vehicle to rear of the vehicle being towed.

The park also offers 4 Group Campsites; each site sleeps up to 25 people. The sites are located along the St. Croix River in a white pine stand. Water spigot, fire rings, tables, and vault toilets available. Note that these are walk-in sites, and there’s no shower available to campers in the group camp.

As for Wisconsin Interstate State Park, the north and south campgrounds have a total of 82 family campsites and two primitive, group campsites. The two group sites can accommodate a total of 60 people. Shower facilities are available in the north campground for registered campers. There is a dump station across the road from the Ice Age Center.


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