Located on the eastern border of Minnesota, St. Croix State Park is a hiker’s dream, with hundreds of miles of trails leading through the aspen, jack pine, and conifer forests. If you visit the park in the winter, you can use most of the trails for snowshoeing. You can also ski on the groomed cross-country skiing course.
The park also has some of the best wildlife viewing in the area. You’ll be able to see stemless lady slipper and other wildflowers, as well as timber wolves and black bears. The park is also home to dozens of bird species, including bald eagles, warblers, osprey, and owls. The park’s two rivers make for excellent fishing just about any time of the year. You can also rent a kayak or canoe to explore the park.
There are four separate campgrounds in the park, three of which are located along the banks of the St. Croix River. The majority of the sites in the park have electrical hookups for your RV so you can camp in comfort.
RV Rentals in St. Croix State Park
Transportation in St. Croix State Park
Located in eastern Minnesota, St. Croix State Park is just a short drive from Minneapolis, and can also be reached from a number of other cities in the region. If you are driving from Minneapolis, take I-35 north from the city and you will reach the park in around an hour and a half. From Milwaukee, take I-94 west out of the city to get to the park in around five and a half hours.
The main areas of the park are accessed via Highway 22, a large road that runs through the heart of the park. Large rigs should have no issues on this road. However, there are some tight turns as you get closer to the back of the park and the Paint Rock Spring Campground. If you have a larger campervan, you should consider choosing a site at the Old Logging Trail Campground, which is larger and easier to access.
Wintertime visitors should also take extra caution, as the roads tend to freeze over. The park is almost always prepared for snow, but you should still bring along snow chains.
Campgrounds and parking in St. Croix State Park
Campsites in St. Croix State Park
Old Logging Trail Campground
There are three main campgrounds found along the river in the park, as well as an equestrian campground. Sites at all of the campgrounds can be booked online. All of the campgrounds in the park are pet-friendly. The three main campgrounds are open year round.
Old Logging Trail Campground features 90 sites, surrounded by old jack pines in a shady open area. It’s the park’s largest and most popular campground. You’ll have easy access to restrooms and drinking water. There is a hiking trails that runs along the southern edge of the campground.
There are 59 sites located in this campground. Most of the sites in the campground have electric hookups, although you’ll also find a few sites with no hookups. As the name would suggest, the sites in this campground have the best views of the water.
Paint Rock Springs Campground
This campground has 66 sites, only nine of which have electrical hookups. The sites in this campground are a bit smaller, so it’s more popular with campers who have small trailers. There’s also a hiking trail that runs along the southern edge of the campground.
Most of the sites in the campground have an overhead tie for your horse. Most of the 40 sites have electrical hookups, although some have no hookups. The equestrian campground is open from April through November for horse use, and December through March for snowmobile use.
Seasonal activities in St. Croix State Park
St. Croix State Park has five trails with miles of hiking leading you through the jack pine, aspen, and conifer forests. There are trails of varying difficulty levels in the park to suit hikers of all experience levels. There’s also a mix of paved and natural trails.
You can also access the Mountain Lourey State Trail, which gives you miles of hiking through the park and the surrounding areas. The trails are mixed use, so you can also bike and horseback ride. Or hike up to the Kettle River Overlook for a panorama of the park.
St. Croix State Park is home to an impressive mix of mammal, plant, and tree species. You’ll be able to spot stemless lady slipper, blazing star, and a wide variety of other wildflower species when you visit in your campervan. The park is also home to timber wolves and black bears.
Located on the eastern end of the Mille Lacs Uplands, the park has an area known as the jack pine barrens. Here, the park has many ongoing restoration projects in the works, so you can see how the ecosystem is maintained.
The aspen and conifer forests of the park are perfect shelter for a wide range of bird species. You’ll find eagles, owls, warblers, flycatchers, and osprey in the park, in addition to dozens of other species. Birds flock to the St. Croix River, as well as the many streams that run through the park.
The park website has a detailed checklist that features most of the bird species seen in the park. Minnesota also has a number of excellent bird watching groups, many of which prepare field guides and bird profiles.
If you are packing your skis in your trailer or camper you are in luck. Part of the park’s network of trails can also be used by cross-country skiers any time snow falls. The trails pass along the banks of the river and across multiple streams.
Trails are usually groomed during the winter, so skiers of all experience levels are welcome at the park. The park does not rent ski equipment, although you’ll find a number of winter sporting stores nearby that rent gear.
Some of the trails can also be used for snowmobiling. You can access the Chengwatana and St. Croix state forests as well, which will give you hundreds of miles of trails to explore. The forests in the park are even more beautiful when they are blanketed in snow, and you can enjoy all of the scenery at high speed.
The park does not rent snowmobiles, nor any equipment. Make sure you have what you need with your rig. Also take extra caution, as the trails are often shared with cross country skiers.
Snowshoeing is a great wintertime activity for an RV vacation. St. Croix State Park has over a hundred miles of trails that can be used during the winter for snowshoeing. The forests of the park are alive in the winter, with beautiful birds, as well as timber wolves and black bears.
Although most trails can be hiked in the winter, some are reserved for cross-country skiing. If the trail is groomed, you are not allowed to snowshoe on it. Check with the park office for a trail map.