June 25, 2007

Interstate State Park at Taylors Falls, Minnesota

taylors falls queen, st croix river, minnesotaWe visited Interstate State Park in Taylor's Falls this weekend. The Taylors Falls Queen, one of the excursion boats run by Wild Mountain, was docked at the park. They have 30 minute or 80 minutes daily excursions available. You can bring your own picnic lunch, or there is a snack bar on board to satisfy anyone with the munchies. Dogs are allowed on board as long as they are leashed at all times. Dinner, picnic and specialty cruises are also available.

canoeing the st croix river, minnesota and wisconsinWild Mountain also offers canoe and kayak rental at the park's canoe base. You can paddle from the park to the Osceola Landing 7 miles away, or to William O'Brien State Park 17 miles away. The first trip takes about 2-3 hours, and the second one takes about 5-7 hours. There is a shuttle at both landings so you can return to your car.

Wild Mountain itself is about 7 miles north of Taylors Falls. During the summer, you can cool off at the waterpark or try out the alpine slides and go-karts.

We stayed at Interstate State Park this visit. For 2 1/2 hours we climbed all over the rocks, walked along the paths, and looked at the glacial potholes. We brought our 9 year old golden retriever with us and she impressed everyone with her climbing abilities.

If you bring a dog to the park, make sure you have bags to clean up after them. We also brought a traveling water dish for Gabby. It folds up and fits into our CamelBak* water pack, and when we stopped for a break, we filled it with water from the pack. We also had water bottles in the car so she could drink again before we left the park.

During our exploration of the park, we stopped to watch some rock climbers on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River. There are opportunities to climb on the Minnesota side of the river, too. Climbing Central lists some of the different routes that are available.

Interstate State Park, Wild Mountain, and the historic town itself are all good reasons to visit Taylors Falls. About 40 miles away from Minneapolis and St. Paul, it is a good choice for a day trip or weekend escape.

*I was going to link to the camelbak site because I love their product, but the site requires flash player, and that irritates me. Instead, here is a link to CamelBak on wikipedia. We use our water packs whenever we go hiking. They are a great way to stay hydrated, and we can pack trail snacks, a small first aid kit, rain jackets and a camera inside the pockets and webbing.