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101 Things To Do: Kinnickinnic State Park in River Falls

The trails are well marked with colors so hikers can choose the distance and direction they hike. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 5
A water fountain awaits thirsty hikers at a trailhead in Kinnickinnic State Park on October 5, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 5
Kinnickinnic State Park has beaches and serene settings. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown3 / 5
Kinnickinnic State Park is part of the Wisconsin State Park system and offers visitors a beach and miles of hiking trails. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 5
A sandy beach marks the delta where the Kinnickinnic River meets the St. Croix River. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 5

Editor's note: This is the latest stop in the series 101 Things To Do. Each week through December 2020, we will select one place or activity around the region to highlight. The stories are compiled at www.rivertown101.com. 

One of the biggest attractions at Kinnickinnic State Park west of River Falls is the Kinnickinnic River Delta, which extends more than half the width of the St. Croix River, offering extensive sand beaches.

"It is primarily boat use, so that is a big draw in the summertime when people are coming in to Kinni with their boats via the St. Croix," said Aaron Mason, park superintendent. "They camp on the delta. It is pretty common on weekends to have several hundred boats down there, so it can be really busy on the water in the summertime."

In addition to boat access, visitors can approach the beach area by walking down an asphalt trail from the main parking lot at the end of the park road.

While camping is popular on the delta beaches, the park does not have a traditional campground for tents and RVs.

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Above the delta and beach, in a section Mason called "the upland area," visitors can locate a number of hiking/skiing trails. A park trail map shows each of the trails which are color-coded on the map as well as on posts at each trailhead and junction. Walkers can select one trail or link trails together and keep on route by following the colors.

"The upland area is considerably quieter," Mason said. "We have some really neat trails and scenic areas in the park. Most of the people coming to visit the park in the upland area come for day use, to picnic or hike."

In the fall, many people visit the park to see the leaves changing and the park is a popular destination for hunting from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

"Another big use for the park is people use the river, the Kinnickinnic, for kayaking from River Falls to the park," Mason said. "That is a pretty prime use. Probably several hundred kayakers a day will do that on weekends."

In both the spring and fall, the Kinnickinnic River "is a pretty good trout fishery, as well," according to Mason.

If you go...

Name: Kinnickinnic State Park

Address: W11983 820th Ave, River Falls, Wis.

Phone: 715-425-1129

Website: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kinnickinnic/

Hours: Open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Admission: Daily vehicle pass is $8 for Wisconsin plates and $11 for non-resident plates. Annual passes are $28 for Wisconsin plates and $38 for out-of-state plates.

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

(651) 301-7872
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