PLAN A SPRING GETAWAY

Waterfalls & Wildflowers

Waterfalls. Wildflowers.

AND A FEW MORE OF OUR FAVORITE SPRING THINGS TO DO!

The weather is warming up and it’s the perfect time to get outside for a springtime adventure! Shed your winter jacket and head to the St. Croix Valley for some amazing things to do this spring.

Melting snow and spring showers can make the water rush over rocks and ledges and make for some great waterfall finds!

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 or St. Croix Falls directly on the St. Croix River, the dam provides spectacular views of gushing water. You can also find rushing rapids  under the Hwy 8 bridge that showcase the power of the river.

Try these spots for waterfalls:

The Overlook (Dam Viewing): St. Croix Falls, WI

Cascade Falls: Osceola, WI

Silverbrook Trail/Interstate Park: St. Croix Falls, WI

2. wildflowers

Catch them while you can! These early and late spring wild blooming plants don’t last long. These wild growing woodland plants take advantage of the sun before the deciduous trees and shrubs leaf out and cast their cool, dark shade onto the forest floor. Look for Trillium, Rue Anemone, and Wild Columbine to name a few. Take a hike on one of our many area trails and count how many blooms you can find. Try a trail inside Interstate Park in Taylors Falls MN or Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls, WI and catch a glimpse of the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River too!

3. first swing at golf

The long-awaited spring golf season is finally upon us! Snag a tee time and enjoy the fresh air while working on your swing. Or, if your style is more mini-golf or disc golf, we’ve got those too.

4. birding

Watch the spring skies for migrating birds over the next few weeks. Spring sees the return of the Turkey Vulture to the St. Croix Valley. Look up and see if you can identify them. Their impressive 6 foot, V shaped wingspan and red head are helpful to identification.

Three habitats converge along the St. Croix River: northern coniferous forest, eastern deciduous forest, and prairieland which makes it a unique spot for birdwatching. There are over 240 species of birds that live along the riverway, including uncommon and specialty species filling early morning paddles with the beautiful sound of birds.

Common birds found along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway include:

  • Bald Eagles
  • Osprey
  • Common Mergansers
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Turkey Vultures

5. FISHING FEVER!

Spring is here! The water in the St. Croix River and our many lakes is finally ice free, and ice houses are traded in for boats. It might still be a little cool out there, but that doesn’t keep the fishing season from heating up ! Technically, the 2021 fishing opener for WI is May 1st, and May 15th for MN, until then there are plenty of panfish to chase.

 

6. gravel & road biking

The sweet sound of crunching gravel is another sign of spring in the St. Croix Valley. The snow has melted, and we have miles and miles of crushed limestone trails ready to explore by bike or foot. Both the Gandy Dancer Trail (a 98 mile trail that starts in St. Croix Falls near the Polk County Tourism Center and runs north), and the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail (a 14-mile trail that begins in Dresser at 90th Ave and runs east toward Amery, WI) are open and ready for your hike or bike ride. They are a perfect fit if you are looking for wide, flat, trails that are free from car traffic. If you’re looking for a paved option, try the Swedish Immigrant Trail on the MN side. There are a handful of trailheads along the Chisago Lakes corridor.

 

When the snow melts and the road-side shoulders open up, the road bikes are back! There are plenty of scenic routes in the St. Croix Valley from countryside rides to roads that hug the banks St. Croix River.

7. hit the trails

Run, walk, or hike our area trails this spring to experience the re-awakening of the forests, meadows, and valleys.

We have trails of every kind: paved, gravel, and dirt trails that are flat, hilly, or somewhere in between. Take a trip deep inside the forest, or climb to view the St. Croix River from atop a bluff. Find a trail to suit your mood.

8. Mountain Bike Race

The Woolly Bike Club is set to hold, once again, the first race in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series.  With some solid COVID contingency planning in place we are working hard with the series, the city, and our sponsors to put on a great race on May 2nd.

The Woolly Race takes place on the Woolly Mountain Bike Trails located right in St. Croix Falls, WI. Stay tuned for more details!

 

9. spring camping

Sleep out under the stars in the cool spring nights, and cozy up by the campfire as you make memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re ready to pitch a tent, or pop open your camper or RV, we’ve got a space for you! You’ll need more than one day to explore our beautiful area, so be sure to book a couple nights!
 

10. Falls Sampler Event

The Falls Chamber of Commerce is excited to partner with Big Rock Creek for the 2021 Falls Sampler! The Falls Sampler is a fun opportunity to experience the unique tastes of the St. Croix River Valley! Enjoy food and drink samples from local restaurants, wineries, sweet shops, breweries, and other exhibitors while catching up with friends in a festive atmosphere!

11. explore a state park

We are lucky to have four state parks in our region, bordering two states. WI-Intersate State Park, MN-Intersate State Park, William O’Brien State Park and Wild River State Park. Each of these state parks gives unique views of the beautiful St. Croix River. Along the entire river corridor, you’ll also find an area designated as a National Park too: the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway which was established by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968.

12. Outdoor Art Walk at Franconia Sculpture Park

You need some seriously wide open spaces for art this big!

The 50 acre open air sculpture park is free and open to the public 8am -8pm, 365 days per year. The Franconia Sculpture Park is a perfect oasis to enjoy art and practice social-distancing safely.

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.

13. TRAIN FOR AN UPCOMING RACE!

Area races are starting to open back up for 2021 and we have the perfect training grounds for trail races and triathlons. The wildly popular City of Trails Races will be held on Saturday, June 5, and the Chisago Lakes Triathlon just announced a date of Saturday, July 25th. This fall, the Gandy Marathon is back on for Saturday, October 9th. If you’re looking for even more adventure, sign up for the Rugged Maniac for September 11th at Wild Mountain! Be sure to keep up with race details and additional races by adding our event calendar to your bookmarks!

 

14. create your own craft beer and wine tour

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

plan ahead for summer!

Summer travel is expected to boom this year, especially within areas that can offer so many outdoor enthusiast amenities like the St. Croix Valley. We recommend booking early and planning your itineraries in advance. We can’t wait to see you!

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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