Located on the beautiful St. Croix River and covering area of both Minnesota and Wisconsin, Interstate State Park is a diverse RV paradise. The park attracts people from around the world to see the incredible geology that has at least 10 different lava flows, two distinct glacial deposits, and traces of old streams, valleys, and faults. During the summer, you can hike the trails and explore the glacial potholes that make this park unique. The landscape of the park is very diverse and includes forests of hard maple, oak, pine and floodplains.
The history of the park dates back to the 1800s, where the threat of mining the St. Croix Dalles forced leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin to protect the river. The Minnesota Legislature established the park in 1895, while the Wisconsin Legislature followed in 1900.
There's so much to do at Interstate State Park. Rock climbing fans can climb the cliffs of the St. Croix River Dalles, water lovers can canoe the flat-water and kayakers can rush through the rapids. There are three different hiking trails and snowshoeing is permitted in the park during winter.
Camping is available from the start of April until mid October and can accommodate RV's up to 45 feet in length. There are 22 electric sites with either 30 or 50 amp hookups or 37 non-electric sites. The park is still open during winter but most of the facilities are shut down until April.
RV Rentals in Interstate State Park
Transportation in Interstate State Park
Getting to Interstate State Park is relatively easy, and the park can be accessed through Minnesota and Wisconsin. The closest major city to the park is Minneapolis/St. Paul and Eau Claire. Access to the park is questionable during winter as it is a very high snowfall area. Make sure you visit the park website before beginning your journey to confirm that the park will be open.
Driving from Minneapolis/St. Paul: Take I-35 West for 28 miles. Take exit 132 for US-8 toward Taylors Falls and then continue onto US-8 East for 18 miles. At the traffic circle you will take the 2nd exit and stay on US-8 East for another two miles. Turn right onto Milltown Road and you will enter the park.
If you are coming from Eau Claire: Take US-53 North for 45 miles. Take exit 135 for US 8 towards Barron/Cameron and then turn left onto US-8 West. Continue on US-8 West and take the second exit on all of the traffic circles. You will pass over St Croix river and over the border into Minneapolis. Turn left onto Milltown Road and you will reach the park entrance.
Parking is readily available throughout the park but please note you will not be able to access the Wisconsin parking area from the Minnesota entrance to the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Interstate State Park
Campsites in Interstate State Park
Interstate State Park Campgrounds
There is a nice campground at Interstate State Park that can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet in length. There are 22 electric sites available to use, with 30 or 50 amp hookups available on each site. If you don't need power there are also 37 non-electric sites. If you don't need a powered site we recommend setting up camp on one of the non-electric sites that have great river views.
Within the campground there are flushable toilets, hot showers, a dump station and camping access for the disabled. Pets are also allowed at all sites but they must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Firewood and other concessions are available from the park office. If you need more supplies there are multiple small towns within 10 miles that will have all you need.
Reservations are available by contacting the park. The campground closes down during the winter time once the ice buildup is unmanageable. If you do visit the park during the winter and cannot camp there are winter campsites available at the nearby William O'Brien or Wild River state parks.
Seasonal activities in Interstate State Park
The St. Croix River is one of the cleanest and healthiest river systems that exists in the United States. This section of the river flows through gorgeous scenic and undeveloped country in the Midwest, which makes it a favorite place to get out on the river and explore. St. Croix River gives you the chance to canoe and kayak, with different sections having both flat water and rapids. Taylor's Falls on the Minnesota side of the park is a great place to start canoeing or kayaking. There is a rental shop open during the summertime that also offers guided trips down the river.
Interstate State Park has some unbelievably dramatic glacial potholes. These huge, circular holes and depressions are in the rocks throughout the park, with some being dozens of feet deep. These gigantic holes were formed during a time in history where a glacial river covered the rocks. Sediment in swirling eddies and whirlpools drilled holes into the rocks which are now visible as the potholes. The park is home to the world’s deepest explored pothole, the Bottomless Pit, which goes down around 60 feet. There may even be deeper holes than the Bottomless Pit, but many holes are yet to be excavated as they are filled with water, silt and rocks.
The stunning bluffs that are found inside Interstate State Park offer some of the best rock climbing terrain in Minnesota. There are many different areas to climb in throughout the park. The grades are mixed, are up to 45' and will usually have thin edges. No rock climbing gear is available for hire, so make sure you come prepared with your own gear if you want to climb. You are are required to obtain a climbing permit (they are free) from the Park Ranger station. You must carry it with you while climbing.
Another benefit of having the St. Croix River flow through the park is that it gives you the option to do some fishing. The fishing conditions in the river are great and there are many different species that are known to call the river home. Smallmouth bass are a very popular catch, along with whitebass, catfish, sturgeon and walleye. Fishing from boats is also permitted and there is a boat ramp available for you in the park.
While cross country skiing is not permitted at Interstate State Park, you are allowed to bust out the snowshoes when the weather gets snowy. Since the park is quite steep due to the area's geology, you should steer clear of trying to snowshoe in the northern side of the park. Instead, stick to the southern side. This area will offer easy, flat terrain that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace. There are no snowshoes for rent from the park office so make sure you bring your own if you want to experience snowshoeing at Interstate State Park.
Hiking is a popular activity at Interstate State Park with three different trails to choose from. There are four miles of total trails that will twist and turn through rocky outcrops and offers some fantastic scenic overlooks. If you are looking for a short trail there is one that begins from the parking lot and loops around to the boat ramp. The main three mile hiking club trail runs from the main park entrance, along the river and bluffs and through pine forest and rocky terrain. The trail will take you to the mesmerizing pothole area and Taylor's Falls.