Canoeing the Saint Croix River, Wisconsin

 
Expert paddler Mike Svob has been canoeing and kayaking the rivers of the Midwest for 30 years. He paddled more than a thousand miles to complete these books. Below are brief descriptions of the canoe trips that Mike goes into detail with in his books with maps. The maps are very useful, showing rapids, take in and take out points and other things of interest.
 

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St. Croix 1-Gordon Dam to Schoen Park Landing-Douglas County-11.7 miles. This section is narrower downstream and with more riffles and rapids. Public camping is available at 3 parks along the way. Water levels are best in the spring. Put in at river left at the county park below the dam.It starts wide and shallow. Downstream about a mile is a large island with the right channel and a Clas I rapids. Further down is the 300 yard Class I-II boulder gardens at Scott Rapids. At 6 miles you come up to the old Coppermine Dam. Portage this or scout very carefully if you are going to run it. At 9 miles you come to the Shelldrake Rapids at the mouth of Buckley Creek.. There are a couple of rapids before Louise Park and then it is flat and mostly straight until take out at Schoen Park landing.

 

St. Croix 2-Schoen Park Landing to Hwy. 35-Douglas and Burnett County-11 miles. This is a relatively narrow section of the river. There are several campsites on this stretch. Put in river right at Schoen Park landing. About a mile downstream is Dry Landing. The quietwater ends at The Big Fishtrap. It is a very long and winding Class I-II rapids, the largest and most challenging on the St. Croix. Little Fishtrap Rapids begins above the CCC bridge(3.7 miles) and ends below it. It is a Class I with good sized waves at the end. You will encounter many islands near the end of this stretch. Take out on the right at Riverside Landing near the Hwy. 35 bridge.

 

St. Croix 3- Hwy 35 to Hwy 77/48-Burnett County-13 miles. This section is primarily flatwater. There are a couple of campsites along this stretch of river. Water levels are usually sufficient. Put in at river right near the Hwy. 35 bridge. Downstream on the left are the firsr high bluffs on the St. Croix. Just before the Minn./Wi. border is State Line Rapids which is on both sides of a big island. The left side is more challenging. 4 miles after put in is Pansy Landing on the left. At 8.3 miles, in a big right bend, the Yellow River landing appears on the left behind an island. The 5 miles between the landing and take out flow through wild countryside. Take out at the 77/48 bridge downstream left.

 

St. Croix 4-Hwy 77/48 to Norway Point-Burnett County-14miles. This is a relaxing stretch of quietwater, which is often combined with the next section for an overnight trip. Public camping is available at several primitive campsites. Put in at the Hwy 77 bridge. Excellent parking is provided. The river passes through a wide valley with a sandy bottom.. During the first few miles two creeks enter from the left. At 3.5 miles another creek enters near the location of the old Sioux Portage Trail. At 7 miles is the Little Yellow Banks landingon the right at the head of a big island. Campsites and water are available. Go along the left side of the island to avoid deadfall.At 13.4 miles is Sand Creek landingon the right at the bend. Norway Point is located on the left in a sharp right hand turn.

 

St. Croix 5- Norway Point to Hwy. 70-Burnett County-14.5 miles. This is one of the most popular runs on the St. Croix, with some enjoyable low hazard rapids and great campsites. There are many scenic campsites along the shore and on the islands. Put in at Norway Point Landing. Less than 3 miles takes you to Nelson's Landing. Not far downstream it is known as "Head of the Rapids." You can take the main leftt channel or the smaller, faster Kettle River channel to the right. The river then widens and becomes shallower. The Snake River enters from the right at 10.4 miles. The Sand Rock Cliffs appear behind some islands at 13 miles. Take out is 1.5 miles downstream from the Cliffs. Landing is upstream left from Hwy. 70

 

St. Croix 6- Hwy. 70 to County O-Burnett and Polk County-8.8 miles. Ocasional stone formations will highlight a quietwater trip. There are several campsites on both sides of the river.. Put in at the Hwy. 70 bridge. This section begins wide wiyh low grassy banks and several islands. About 1.5 miles downstream is Raspberry Landing on the left. Befre Stevens Creek landing at 4.8 miles you will run into some pleasant riffles. Take out on the Wi. side at the Cty. O landing

 

St. Croix 7-County O to Nevers Dam Landing-Polk County-16.2 miles. Current slows on this section, while clay banks and sand bars increase. Camping is available at several primitive sites along the river.Put in at river left at the Cty. O landing.This stretch also begins wide with heavily wooded banks. At 8 miles Sunrise Ferry campsite appears. The campsite has a big sandy beach. Downstream from here the river gets wider and slower. When you encounter eight regularly spaced piles of rock in the river you know you are a half mile upstream from Nevers Dam. Downstream four piles of rock mark the site of the old Nevers Dam. Take out at the river left landing just after the rock pilings.

 

St. Croix 8-Interstate Park to William O'Brien State Park landing-Polk County and St. Croix County-15.2 miles. The last, and perhaps most varied section of the river. Put in just south of St. Croix /Taylors Falls at Interstate Park. This section starts with a wooded grassy shoreline and wide river. Further down is a nice dells area with a rocky island in the middle.. The river widens again after the island. The Franconia landing is 2.7 miles downstream from put-in. Before you get to Osceola you will pass by a very long island. There are some lovely wooded sandstone cliffs a short distance past Osceola. When you see the signs for the state park stay to the right and follow the right channel down to the park landing.