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St Croix National Scenic Riverway - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Weekend Trip Report
Trip Dates: May 2003
Nearest City: Hayward, WI
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: scottuk


WOW! What a fantastic trip! We decided on Wisconsin for the weekend as the weather looked nice and it was a state we had not visited before. After a LONG drive from Ohio we were ready for some gentle relaxation and getting away from it all. After doing some research on the Internet we decided on the St Croix national scenic waterway in northwestern Wisconsin. We stopped at the excellent visitor center which about 1 mile east from route 53 on route 63 near Trego. The river is extensive and many long trips are possible. The very helpful ranger gave us the lowdown on the river and the numerous free primitive campsites along the route, which are only accessible from the river.

We got a shuttle from Jacks canoe, which was about $32. A list of outfitters is given on the website below.

We put in at the "county K" landing just west of Trego (just after a dam) and paddled down to the McDowell bridge landing about 20 miles downstream.

The section we paddled on had a current of about 3 miles per hour and had a few areas with minor riffles, a few obstacles that were easy to get around such as rocks, overhanging branches and small log jams. We saw loads of wildlife including bald eagles, deer, and otter, turtles and HUGE fish! Out trip was about 20 miles total, which we did in two equal sections, each of about 3 hours. We traveled slowly to appreciate the stunning scenery and wildlife. The river has a real wilderness feel and we passed just two bridges, one house and two other paddlers on the whole trip (this was Memorial weekend too!).

Check out the great site below for very comprehensive information including maps and outfitters:


Several state and private campsites along the route although these can get busy. We camped at one of the many primitive campsites (group sites for up to 6 are available, we were at an individual site). Primitive sites are well marked will fire rings are drop toilets (NOTE - no water).


Visitor center 1 mile east off route 53, on route 63.


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