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.
Here are a few to get you started:
2. Grab Coffee
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:
3. Ride Horseback
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
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.
Try these spots for waterfalls:
5. Spin some adventure
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 7th 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. Cyclova XC.
Try these trails:
6. Take a flight: Craft Brews & Local Wines
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.
COMING SOON TO THE ST. CROIX VALLEY:
7. Antiquing & Vintage Shopping
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:
8. Live Music
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!
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 2018, the classic “Little Women” was on stage at the Festival Theatre’s current home in the Franklin Square Black Box. Check often for current performances.
11. Try an Escape Room (in the Barn!)
The Johnny Appleseed Escape Room at the Orchard is a perfect fall twist to this on-trend activity. First debuted in 2018, this wildly popular activity is sure to make a comeback! Times are limited, and registration in advance is required. Be the first to solve!
12. Ride the Train
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.
13. St. Croix Falls Autumnfest
Set aside the day of October 6th 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
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:
Dairy Queen: St. Croix Falls, WI & Osceola, WI
15. Pick Apples & Stomp Grapes
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.
16. Take a Trailrun
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 trailrun 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.
Be sure to earmark the City of Trails Race which will have a FULL MARTHON starting in 2018! This family-friendly annual race highlights and celebrates the area trails and the community.
17. Rock Climb & Zip Line
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.
18. Paddleboat down the river
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
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
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.
21. Refuel your body! Eat Local.
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.
22. Try some fresh 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
Take to the water trails of the St. Croix Valley by canoe, kayak, or even paddleboard to get an excellent leaf-peeping perspective.
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
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.
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.