The Quiet Side of Fall

© Kristi dickhausen

Wide Open Spaces


the quiet side of fall

Late Fall ushers in a quiet season in the St. Croix Valley and is bursting with the trees’ heavy rusts and golds and the rustling of the fallen leaves. The hustle of the peak season is over, and many visitors find a certain solace in enjoying our outdoor spaces without the crowds. This year, spending time outside is helpful to feel a little reprieve from the confinement of the pandemic and benefit from the natural therapy of the outdoors.


The Wild & Scenic St. Croix River Valley

Visitors flock to our area to see the fall leaves during peak, but the quiet beauty of late fall is something to behold. The hiking trails take on a different feel as the foliage comes down, and you can start to see nature preparing for the coming winter. The rushing water of the St. Croix is still a powerful sight and almost comes alive with the dark rust color popping against the dark blue cliffs. The earthy smell and crisp air is a fresh reminder that we belong in the outdoors and should make time to find safe spaces to enjoy being outside.

City of Trails

Late fall is the perfect time to tackle a new trail or get a new perspective on a perennial favorite. The crunch of the leaves as you navigate, the ability to explore the path at your own pace, and the crisp fresh air all make those final hikes & rides before the snow flies just a little more special.


Hike >>>> Find a trail


Bike >>>> Find a trail


Fawn Doe Rosa

For 55 years, Fawn Doe Rosa has brought outdoor family fun to our area with their wildlife education park. This year, families have flocked to their park for a dose of animal connection, and parents are using this time as an opportunity to ad-hoc missing field trips for their youngsters.


Open on weekends through the end of October, there is still time to take a walk around the expansive deer yard. Along the wooded path, you will meet deer, elk, geese, wolves, and even a mountain lion, as well as other animals of the forest. Fawn Doe Rosa has implemented policies to keep you safe in their many outdoor spaces while still enjoying time with the farmyard and forest animals.

Franconia Sculpture Park

There are 50 acres of unique outdoor artwork that adorn this fantastic countryside sculpture park. It’s no wonder that visitorship is up this year as people look for ways to be in the fresh air yet still connect to the things that make us human. Franconia Sculpture Park has taken safety seriously and implemented several policies that keep guests safe while enjoying self-guided saunters around their acreage to engage with the outdoor art.


Although Franconia Sculpture Park is open 365 days per year, this fall is a perfect time to visit and enjoy a bit of an oasis from indoor space. 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. Watch for their expanding list of year-round outdoor events!


Open 8am-8pm



Pleasant Valley Orchard

Sitting on 71-acres, this family-owned orchard and farm is the perfect place to experience the sprawling countryside of the St. Croix Valley. And, according to owner Judy Erickson, October is a special month, not only because the colors that mark the changing of the seasons are spectacular, but because the best of the apple harvest is upon us. Not only that, the pumpkin harvest is ready, hayrides have started, and the trail through the property is in perfect late fall shape. The regular season at the orchard goes through the end of October but will remain open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving for apples, pies, and other orchard favorites. The owners and staff are committed to keeping you safe as you enjoy the farm they’ve built over the last 30 years.

Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area

The season isn’t over quite yet at the Trollhaugen Adventure Park, and there’s still time to climb and zip through the colorful fall forest for yet another unique way to enjoy the outdoors.


 Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area has 3000+ feet of zip lines (70lbs – 270lbs) ready for you. Or take the ultimate climbing challenge at Trollhaugen’s aerial course. The park provides the thrill of playing on a giant, floating playground – Think Ewok Village meets Ninja Warrior. Imagine climbing trees, hanging from tires, and swinging on ropes just like when you were a kid, on a much bigger scale – with the backup support of world-class safety equipment.



Severson Memorial Overlook

In downtown St. Croix Falls, the Severson Memorial Overlook gives you a birds-eye view of the Hydroelectric Dam situated on the St. Croix River between St. Croix Falls, WI and Taylors Falls, MN. Not only is it a stop worth making just for the views, but the park is also home to many of our popular outdoor events.


As we all know, 2020 has seen the cancellation of many of these events, but with this incredible outdoor space, the go-ahead for a select amount of socially distanced music and community events was granted. For many, getting out of the house to enjoy live music drifting through the river valley has been a portal for much needed, safety-first, community connection and a way to connect to the out of doors. To round out the late fall season, the St. Croix Autumnfest will be held on October 24th & 25th at the Severson Memorial Overlook. For more information on this event, go here.

Curbside and To-Go Orders are Perfect for Picnics!

Expand your outdoor time by adding a picnic to your adventure! Our local dining establishments have risen to the challenge of providing excellent curbside and to-go service, and we have plenty of parks and outdoor space in our area for you to dine al fresco. Or, inquire about patio options at the restaurants! Many area businesses are expanding, remodeling, and heating their outdoor spaces in an effort to provide patrons with fresh-air seating.

Planning for Winter

With continued limitations expected for indoor spaces, this will be the year to commit to playing in the snow! We have two ski resorts, fat biking trails, XC ski, and snowshoe trails, ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and more. Click through to this newly expanded SNOW section on our website, and then bundle up for your upcoming winter outdoor adventures!

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.