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Wild River State Park

Park Info

Wild River State Park in Center City, MN along the St. Croix River. It lies between the Anoka Sand Plain and the Mille Lacs Uplands, giving it a unique landscape of pine/hardwood forest and oak savanna/ prairie areas.

This park is for those who enjoy camping, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. It also has a park office; visitor center; picnic area–with tables, grills, fire rings, and bathrooms; a picnic shelter—with tables, a deck with benches, electrical outlets, and a fireplace (got to reserve this, yo); a trail center—with modern bathrooms, wood stoves, tables and chairs, and a small kitchen (reservations for this too April-October, it’s a warming house in winter months); and boating accesses and dock. If you’re into naturalist programs, interactive exhibits, historical sites, and gift shops, it has that too.


For us hikers of all experience levels, there are over 30 miles of trails to explore. Some of which are paved and accessible to wheelchair users. This is the first park I have been to that offers a PDF with trail descriptions, which I find extremely useful for planning. I’ll share that here for your viewing pleasure. It makes sure to indicate which trails are for which activity and separates them into levels. If you’ve been here before, you know how I feel about the rating system but it’s a good place to start.


If you are looking to camp, this park has the most options I’ve seen by far so there is a little something for just about everyone. Sites are available for semi-modern camping (drive-in and pull-through), group camping, backpacking, canoeing, and horseback camps. There is also a guest house and camper cabins. I did not camp here, but the website does state that the showers and flush toilets are accessible, but do not have a door button (like we’ve seen at most places this summer).


When it comes to wildlife, you’ll have the opportunity to see birds (like hawks, owls, eagles, and several different songbird species), squirrels (hopefully not red ones…) beaver, raccoon, fox, coyote, mink, and deer. If you’re looking for fish, here you can find northern, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Fun fact, bass fishing is my favorite type of fishing…can you guess why? Comment below.

All of this info came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, so credit where credit is due. Click here to view the original source.

Accessibility of Facility

Parking here can be on a paved lot or on natural ground, depending on which part you go. There looked to be plenty of spaces and handicapped spaces were available.

Bathrooms were not available at the park office, but it is posted that there are at the trail heads. We started at the picnic area and utilized the vaulted toilet at the trail head, but there did look to be other bathrooms at the picnic shelter. We didn’t use these, so I can’t speak to them.

Getting to the trail was fairly simple from the picnic area. It is clearly marked with a map and has them at intersections of other trails. We walked straight from the parking lot to the paved trail and went on our way. I used navigation through AllTrails to get to the trailhead itself because I didn’t think to look at a map before I left the park office.

Trail Info

We did a portion of the Old Logging Trail, which is a 2.40 mile out and back with about 88 feet of elevation. Like I said above, the trail is paved and fairly well-maintained. There were some cracks and incline, but they didn’t affect my mobility much. I have been having more shortness of breath for some reason, so I was slower going, but the trail was doable. I suspect it would be doable with mobility devices as well. There were benches along the way as well, so resting is an option.

We had to cut this one short for a couple reasons, so we made it 0.20 miles. A thunderstorm rolled in (which we would have missed if we were on time) and I was fatigued from sleep deprivation, over caffeination, and working before I left for the trip. This trail would fall into the easy category on my rating scale, nonetheless.    

Cardybear didn’t make an appearance on this trail, but he does on the trip in general.

Be safe out there! REMEMBER YOUR MAPS AND PASSPORT STAMPS!! Seeyalaterbye <3

Also, if you feel called to help a sista out with her travels, check this out!

Complementary storm footage from the “hold my ranch Midwesterner”

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