Center City, Minnesota

Hike in Wild River State Park

Originally added by Robin Pfeifer

Explore a variety of environments: forests, prairies and the St. Croix River. Scenic individual and group camp sites; rent a log cabin. 4 mile loop hike starting on the River Trail.

Wild River State Park, located about 55 miles northeast of Minneapolis, is a fantastic getaway and caters to a wide-variety of visitors. If you have an afternoon and are looking for an easy hike through a variety of natural environments, take The River Trail north, then follow the Old Lodging Trail south. The loop is about 4 miles of well-established trail and is very popular on the weekends. Go mid-week and you’ll have it to yourself.

To get there, park in the lot near the McElroy Visitor Center. You can pick up the Mitigwaki Loop trail right off the parking lot. Walk a short distance, then follow the signs east toward the Amik’s Pond loop. This portion of the trail winds through prairie grass tall enough to partially conceal its namesake pond.

The scenery shifts from field to stream once you reach the River Trail, which runs alongside the St. Croix River. About a half mile in, the trail narrows and winds through a beautiful stand of birch trees. Tucked into the trees are Spring Creek's eight backpack camping sites.

Walk another half mile and you’ll see the site of Old Nevers Dam. Built in the 1890's to help prevent log jams, the dam was considered an environmental nuisance by the 1950's and dismantled. Remnants of a 600-foot-long earthen dike remain today in the form of tiny islands dotting the width of the river.

Continue heading north on the River Terrace Loop for a half mile, then take the wooden stairs up the hill to the main campgrounds. There you’ll find six log cabins for rent. A few come equipped with electricity and heat for winter campers. Beyond the cabins are 94 semi-modern campsites (34 with electrical hookups), modern shower buildings and a rentable guest house that accommodates a maximum of six people.

After exploring the campgrounds, pick up the Old Lodging Trail heading south. This path winds through an impressive variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. Remember to keep one eye on the trees and one eye on the path ahead of you; snakes have a tendency to scurry out in front of unsuspecting hikers along this route.

Continue following the trail until you reach the Mitigwaki Loop. Then, follow the signs back to the McElroy Visitor Center.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Green

Loved it here. Trees cover most of the campground. Wild life is everywhere, including a friendly raccoon that likes to make frequent visits.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Somerset, Wisconsin

Camp Coulee

Close to St. Croix & Kinnikinnic Rivers. Vineyard/winery and hobby farm on-site. Deer, turkey and other wildlife sightings. Pollinator habitat with bee yard. Great view of the stars. Very short...

From $300/night

Maple Grove, Minnesota

Minneapolis Northwest KOA

Spring Valley, Wisconsin

Highland Ridge

Overview Highland Ridge overlooks the sparkling Eau Galle Reservoir located in Spring Valley, in western Wisconsin. The area boasts 648 acres of scenery with numerous opportunities for recreation, ...

Spring Valley, Wisconsin

Main Day Use

Overview Main Day Use Are at Eau Galle Lake offers many family-friendly outdoor activities including fishing, boating and hiking, in the lush Wisconsin woodlands. Recreation In summer, the lake is...

Nearby Adventures

  • Explore Interstate State Park

    Situated on top of a series of craggy bluffs, Interstate State Park is a small park that offers amazing views of the St. Croix River gorge. With a pine forest ecosystem usually only found a hundred miles north of the park, the lichen encrusted roc...

    3 miles

  • Hike the Osceola Bedrock Glades Loop

    Just a short hike to the waterfall, this is a great spot to pull off on your way to the Park with many other trails to spend a whole day on if you wish to stay off the beaten path.  Getting there:  Going North through Osceola on HWY 35 Turn left o...

    2.2 miles 59 ft gain

  • Explore Cascade Falls

    Cascade Falls is a must-stop if you are passing through Osceola, Wisconsin. The falls can be accessed on Cascade Street (Highway 35) near 1st Avenue in downtown Osceola. You will see a sign for the Falls at the deck by Chief Osceola. Continue down...

  • Explore Crex Meadows

    The Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is part of Wisconsin’s scenic Indianhead Country - located just north of Grantsburg. It’s 30,000 acres make it one of the largest wildlife areas in the state. Over 270 species of birds, 86 butterflies, and 720 differ...