25 Things To Do This Fall in #thestcroixvalley


With all these things to do in Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls, you'll need more than just a day trip! Plan ahead and make a long weekend out of it. We are just one hour north of the Twin Cities metro.

1. Pick Pumpkins

Pick right from the patch, or pick one out in-store at one of our local ag-grower destinations. If you feel like trying something different, hop on the Pumpkin Express Train which rolls right out of Osceola, WI.

Photo courtesy of Pleasant Valley Orchard

Here are a few to get you started:
Pleasant Valley Orchard: Shafer, MN
Baker Orchard: Centuria, WI
Glenna Farms: Amery, WI
Pumpkin Express Train: Osceola, WI

Hayride to the pumpkin patch at Glenna Farms.



2. Grab Coffee

Photo courtesy of The Watershed Cafe

Start the morning with a fresh, aromatic cup of coffee at one of our local hot spots. It will take the chill out of the crisp fall air, and give you a pep for a hike. And, speaking of pumpkins, it is #PSL season where all things Pumpkin Spice are in full splendor.
Here are a few to get you started:
The Watershed Café: Osceola, WI
Coffee Talk: Taylors Falls, MN
Northwoods Roasterie: Lindstrom, MN
Dalles Cafe and Coffee House: St. Croix Falls, WI
3 Arrows Coffee: St. Croix Falls, WI

3. Ride Horseback

Photo courtesy of Andrea Shakal

A fall ride through the woods can be exhilarating! It’s a great way to see the changing fall colors, and you and your trusty companion will appreciate fewer bugs and lower temperatures than a summer ride. Wild River State Park has twenty miles of trails available for horseback riding through October.

4. Find a Waterfall

Silverbrook Trail: Photo courtesy of Brad Nygren, Nygren Photography

What is it about waterfalls that make them even prettier in the fall?
In the St. Croix Valley, we are blessed with waterfalls that are right in town, as well as some tucked away in hidden spots. If you are not familiar with the area, you may find yourself searching a long time for the “falls” that come along with the namesake of “Taylors Falls” and “St. Croix Falls”. While there is not an actual natural waterfall in Taylors Falls & St. Croix Falls directly on the St. Croix River, the dam provides spectacular viewing of gushing water.

The Dam at the Overlook in St. Croix Falls. Photo courtesy of Jan Brey Clare

Try these spots for waterfalls:
The Overlook (Dam Viewing): St. Croix Falls
Cascade Falls: Osceola, WI
Silverbrook Trail/Interstate Park: St. Croix Falls, WI

5. Spin some adventure

Photo courtesy of Dallas Wynne

Our bike trails can take you for miles and miles whether on rail-to-trail gravel rides or an adventurous loop on the mountain bike trails.
If you’re up for a longer ride, try riding the gravel trails from town to town and make a lunch or dinner stop on the way.
On the Gandy Dancer State Trail, you can start at the trailhead in St. Croix Falls and ride to Luck, WI stopping at Café Wren right off the trail. On the Stower Seven Lakes State trail, ride from the trailhead in Dresser, WI stopping at Farm Table in Amery, WI for lunch. October 6 th marks the annual “Woolly Days” and is a grand community celebration for the whole family. Riding, wood-fired pizza, and connecting with other riders are hallmarks of this day.
No bike? No problem. These guys will set you up. Maklin Bike Shop.
Try these trails:
Stower Seven Lakes State Trail
Gandy Dancer
Woolly Mountain Bike Trails
Swedish Immigrant Trail: Chisago County

Trailhead on Tern Ave in Taylors Falls

6. Take a flight: Craft Brews & Local Wines

Photo courtesy of Dancing Dragonfly Winery

There are now five wineries and multiple breweries popping up all over in our neck of the woods! From castles (yes, castles!) to the countryside, and even nestled inside our quaint downtowns, we have a wide variety of local flavors to paint your palette.
Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Falls, WI
Dancing Dragonfly Winery, St. Croix Falls, WI
Wild Mountain Winery, Taylors Falls, MN
Deer Lake Winery, St. Croix Falls, WI
Winehaven Winery: Chisago City, MN
The Uncommon Loon: Lindstrom, MN
Trap Rock Brewing: St. Croix Falls, WI
The Lincoln  Brewery: Taylors Falls, MN

7. Antiquing & Vintage Shopping

Photo courtesy of 136 Vintage

You never know what you might find picking through repurposed treasures of yesterday. In the St. Croix Valley, we have a fantastic crop of shop owners and artisans who have a good eye for treasure and bring you some of the best “pickin’s” around. You better be there first, though. We have people come from miles around for our finds!
Here are a few to get you started:
The Looking Glass: Osceola, WI
136 Vintage: St. Croix Falls, WI
Picket Fence Gals: Lindstrom, MN

Photo courtesy of The Looking Glass

8. Live Music

Photo courtesy of Pleasant Valley Orchard

While many know we have Music on the Overlook every Friday all summer long, we also have many opportunities for Live Music in the Fall months too!
Music at the Orchard at Pleasant Valley in Shafer,  MN has a whole fall lineup that will have you toe tapping while you are apple picking!
Check out these venues for fall music!
Franconia Sculpture Park: Franconia, MN
St. Croix Festival Theatre: St. Croix Falls, WI
Shafer Creamery: Shafer, MN
Dancing Dragonfly: St. Croix Falls, WI
Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Falls, WI

9. Art in the Open: Franconia Sculpture Park

You need some seriously wide open spaces for art this big!
Fall is a perfect time to visit the 43 acre Franconia Sculpture Park . Walk, explore, and interact with the many pieces of art that adorn the St. Croix Valley countryside. With hosts of new artists living and working on site every year, there is always something new to see at this unique attraction.

10. Catch a live theatre show

Professional theatre in an intimate venue. If you are looking for a place to see a top-notch live performance up close and personal, this is it.  In 2019, you will find "The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood", or "The Diary of Anne Frank"  on stage at the Festival Theatre’s current home in the Franklin Square Black Box. Check often for current performances.

Graphics provided by Festival Theatre.


11. Try an Escape Room (at the brewery!)

Have you been curious about what an escape room is all about? Now is the time to try it with Breakout Route - Minnesota's / Wisconsin's first Mobile Escape Room.

Enjoy great local beer and test your skills with Minnesota's only 26 foot, mobile escape room.

The Mobile Escape Room will be at Uncommon Loon Brewing Company in Chisago City, MN on Saturday, September 14th from 12:00 - 8:30 pm.


12. Ride the Train

Photo courtesy of Jan Wood

Take a seat, and let the beauty of the changing leaves along the St. Croix River envelope you as you ride the rails from the Osceola, WI Depot down to Marine on St. Croix and back. It is a great way to see parts of the river and bluff area that can’t easily be seen on foot or car.
Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway: Fall Train Rides

13. St. Croix Falls Autumnfest

Set aside the day of October 5th as peak fall hits the St. Croix Valley! The St. Croix Falls AutumnFest is a lovely fall festival celebrating the beauty, creativity, and diversity of the St. Croix River Valley You’ll find beautiful views along the Scenic St. Croix River with an Art Fair, live music, deluxe food court, kids activities, plus sidewalk sales downtown.
Please join us for a full day of arts, crafts, vintage upcyclers, merch vendors, clothiers, a Farmers Market, gourmet coffee, live entertainment, kids activities, food trucks, literary and educational opportunities, fitness activities and much more!

14. Cool it: Ice Cream, Malts, and Rootbeer Floats

Photo courtesy of Tangled Up in Food

Who says you can only eat ice cream in the hot summer months? After a day of hiking and exploring, you’ll want to find a pit stop for a favorite sweet treat.
Here are a few places to check out:
Valley Sweets: St. Croix Falls
The Drive-In: Taylors Falls, MN
Schoony’s: Taylors Falls, MN
The Looking Glass: Osceola, WI
Dairy Queen: St. Croix Falls, WI & Osceola, WI
Gustaf's On Main Eatery: Lindstrom, MN

15. Pick Apples & Stomp Grapes

Photo courtesy of Pleasant Valley Orchard

What is fall without a trip to the orchard? It’s a classic family fun activity that usually involves more than just picking apples. Our area orchards have live music, farm animals, walking trails, baked goods, gifts, hayrides, kids activities and more. And, if you’d like to try something different this year, add a Grape Stomp to your list of activities. Even if you don’t imbibe, stomping grapes is a great way to be a part of the fun of a harvest season.

Photo courtesy of Dancing Dragonfly

Try these:
Baker Orchard, Centuria, WI
Pleasant Valley Orchard, Shafer, MN
Grape Stomps
Dancing Dragonfly: St. Croix Falls, WI
Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Falls, WI

16. Take a Trailrun

Photo courtesy of JJS Photography

If you’re a trail running junkie, our trails do not disappoint. We have all types. Flat, paved, crushed rock, packed dirt, hills, stairs, boulder climbs and more. If you’re into a little bit of adventure, you could easily turn your trail run into a mini parkour sesh. If you want a real challenge, run the stairs on the MN side of Interstate Park on the Railroad trail. All 120 up and down the bluff side.
If a 5K race is your jam, don't miss the run/walk scheduled for September 14th, 2019. Not only is it sure to be a beautiful autumn race, you can also feel good knowing that the funds will go to help a local accident victim.
If you're looking for A FULL marathon, HALF marathon, four-person RELAY marathon, and 5K in one event, then the Gandy Dancer Marathon is sure to please! The race starts in Luck, WI and the crushed rock trail will take you north along the old railroad bed. Register here:
In addition, be sure to earmark the City of Trails Race for next summer in St. Croix Falls, WI. This family-friendly annual race highlights and celebrates the area trails and the community and features a 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathon.

17. Rock Climb & Zip Line

Photo courtesy of Lacey Scottum

With our natural basalt cliffs rising tall above the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River, we’ve become a hot destination spot for rock climbing. The rock Climbing is mostly located inside Interstate Park area and you must obtain a permit to climb.
MN Interstate Park is a traditional climbing and bouldering area; there are no bolted sport routes.
Zip Lines and Challenge Climbs:
Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area has 3,000+ feet of zip lines (70lbs-270lbs) & 125+ element Challenge Course (ages 3-300) are waiting for you. Saturdays & Sundays, 10a-6p through October.

Photo Courtesy of Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area


18. Paddleboat down the river

Photo courtesy of Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours

See the beauty of the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River ablaze with fall color aboard the Taylors Falls Queen and Princess Paddleboard.
The licensed boat pilot and tour guide will point out the unique rock formations that were left behind as the glaciers retreated thousands of years ago. Among the most outstanding formations is the huge stone cross for which the St. Croix River was named. "St. Croix" means Holy Cross.
Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours has daily excursions are typically either 45 or 80 minutes and are open through mid October.

19. Gondola & Alpine Slide

Photo courtesy of Wild Mountain Recreation Area

Want to see some of the best views of the entire St. Croix Valley this fall? Take a gondola ride to the top of the ski hill at Wild Mountain, and you can see the fall colors, river and valley in all its autumn splendor.
And getting down? Your choice; take the gondola back down, or opt for some extra adventure and take the alpine slide down the hillside!

20. Shop for Local Gifts

Photo courtesy of The Oven Mitt

Get a little something for yourself, or start your holiday shopping a little early this year! Local pottery, Swedish gifts, specialty beads & gemstones, farmhouse signs and more! We have a great variety of fun items to put on your list.
Start here:
Guillermo Cuellar & Friends Fall Pottery Sale: Shafer, MN
The Oven Mitt, Lindstrom, MN
Taylors Falls Bead Store: Taylors Falls, MN
Uptown Gifts: Osceola, WI

Photo courtesy of Guillermo Cuellar Pottery

21. Refuel your body! Eat Local.

Photo courtesy of The Watershed Cafe

After a day’s worth of adventure, it’s time to refuel. Big appetites, or small; we have it all. Sit down with a juicy burger, or take your lunch to go on a day hike. We are fortunate to have restaurants in the area that not only provide a wonderful place to gather and enjoy tasty, locally produced food but that also that support our community.
Start here:
Juneberry Cafe, Taylors Falls, MN
The Watershed Café, Osceola, WI
The Drive-In, Taylors Falls, MN
The Goat Saloon, Taylors Falls, MN
Romayne's, Taylors Falls, MN Romaynes Sports Bar & Grill
Poco Loco: St. Croix Falls, WI

22. Try some fresh Bison

Photo courtesy of Eichten's Bison

Right along Hwy 8 in Center City, MN, you’ll find  Eichten's Market & Grill. The Eichten family has been farming for more than 40 years when they started looking for an all natural meat to complement their all natural European cheeses and started with their first herd of 13 bison in 1987. The herd has now grown to over 300.
You can even buy fresh bison or a whole host of gourmet cheeses and other items at the on-site shop, or have a bite to eat at the restaurant.

23. Mini Golf

Choose your (mini-golf!) Adventure! Challenge your family or group to a round of Mini-Golf at Adventure Falls Course right in downtown Taylors Falls. See a Wannigan Cook Shack up close and personal right on the course!
Open through October.

24. Canoe or Kayak

Photo courtesy of @accidental_escapades.

Take to the water trails of the St. Croix Valley by canoe, kayak, or even paddleboard to get an excellent leaf-peeping perspective.

Photo courtesy of Felix Ledesma

River Paddles:

Celebrate the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River by seeing all its glory up close and personal. Try the landing inside Interstate Park MN, or in Osceola WI. Rentals are available:

Taylors Falls Canoe and Kayak: Taylors Falls, MN

Riverwood Canoe and Kayak Rental: Osceola, WI

Or, try out a paddle adventure on one of our many area lakes including the newly established Chisago Lakes Water Trail which is 13 miles that traverse through 10 individual lakes.

25. Take a Hike

Photo courtesy of @accidental_escapades.

Our area is well known for it’s hiking trails. From nature strolls meant to soak in the beauty and aroma of the outdoors, to rugged, tree-root gnarled, hilly trails, you can be challenged in mind, and body for one mile, 10+ miles, or anywhere in between. Some trails climb to scenic vistas, some that venture along the St. Croix River, and others that reveal an interesting geological story. All provide fantastic scenery and opportunity for brilliant photos, especially in the fall.

Try these:
Interstate Park, WI, St. Croix Falls, WI
Interstate Park, MN, Taylors Falls, MN
Wert Nature Preserve, St. Croix Falls, WI
Ice Age Trail: Mindy Creek Segment, St. Croix Falls, WI

This article was written by Linda Shober and produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, a marketing firm located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.

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