Just over the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge, near Hudon, WI, is Willow River State Park, a lovely and popular destination for hiking, waterfall viewing, biking, rock climbing, kayaking, and swimming. The nearly 3,000-acre park offers prairie, woodlands, and falls to discover. as well as great little swimming holes and fishing. The park’s centerpiece is the 200-foot Willow Falls, a beautiful cascade of water and rock formations.
Willow River State Park is only 20 minutes by car from our Stillwater Hotel. It’s ten miles away, so for experienced bike riders, it’s a great destination, too—cyclists would take the St. Croix Crossing Loop Trail for most of the ride to Willow River State Park. Our downtown boutique hotel is in the ideal location to enjoy everything in Stillwater—from the outdoor recreation options and St. Croix River to the charming shops and restaurants; a getaway to the Water Street Inn has it all!
The Best Things to do at Willow River State Park
Willow River State Park is a great place to spend the day enjoying the beautiful scenery and the fresh midwest air. After a restful night’s sleep at our downtown Stillwater Hotel, you’ll be ready to hike the trails, take a swim, and immerse yourself in nature.
Here are the best things to do at Willow River State Park:
- The bike trail options at the park are numerous and cover the spread from beginner routes to difficult for very advanced mountain bikers. These trails offer everything from jumps, switchbacks, sharp turns, and fun hazards to navigate.
- Little Falls Lake within Willow River State Park is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing. Depending on the season, boat rentals are available, and this is where you’ll find the ideal swimming beach.
- Pack a picnic to bring with you to the park; you’ll find plenty of tables and grills to use. The largest picnic area has beautiful views of the lake. This is also where you’ll find a few great kid’s areas with playground equipment, as well as plenty of open grassy areas for games and relaxing.
- You’ll find 13 miles of trails at Willow Falls State Park. All of which are nicely maintained and marked and vary in difficulty catering to all levels of hiking acumen. The Burkhardt Trail is a popular choice that winds along the river bottom, up to some spectacular overlooks, and includes Willow River Falls. The Hidden Ponds Nature Trail is the most accessible, a fully paved half-mile behind the nature center with interpretive signs along the route.
- For the most advanced hikers, the Nelson Farm Trail is a new scenic trail that begins at the bridge on the Trout Brook trail through much of the north half of the park, ending near Willow Falls. The trail passes through diverse habitats, including river bottom, wetlands, prairie areas, mature oak forests, and old-growth white pines. The trail leads to a breathtaking vista on the north side of the lake. Be prepared for a few very steep hills!
One of the Best Places to Stay in Stillwater, MN
Our romantic 61-room boutique hotel on the shores of the St. Croix River is one of the best places to stay in Stillwater. Not only will you fall in love with the Victorian design, but you’ll be charmed by our history, warm hospitality, and fantastic dining options. Our beautifully appointed suites are designed with particular attention to detail and decor and feature queen-sized beds, double whirlpool baths, and gas fireplaces. Some choice rooms also offer spectacular riverfront views. Our location in the heart of the famed historic district of Stillwater places you near hundreds of options for shopping and entertainment during your stay. Start planning your next getaway and book your room today!