My second time here and I can’t recommend enough! This place is really just amazing. And everyone around the area already knows. Willow River Falls is just 15-20 minutes east of St. Paul, MN…just across the Hudson River into Wisconsin.
Willow River State Park is a 2,891-acre state park located five miles north of Hudson, WI. The centerpiece of the park is Willow Falls, a powerful cascade in a 200-foot (61 m) deep gorge. Another popular feature is Little Falls Lake, a shallow reservoir on the Willow River. Because of its proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul, this is one of the most visited state parks in Wisconsin.
What I love about this park is the range of activities available. On one end, the falls are an amazing and popular attraction. Later in the summer, when the water volume is lower, many people swim, picnic, and climb around the falls. You can repel from the cliffs above down to the water. Perfect spot for a first date!!
Tracy’s Tip: It’s a steep downhill hike to the falls. Be prepared to hike back up. The less you carry down, the easier the return climb will be. If you have kids, leave before they’re entirely spent. I’ve seen smalls having trouble getting back up the paved hill and you don’t want to carry them if you don’t have to. Strollers? Coolers? Chairs? Not a good idea. Use a backpack to carry the essentials…
Depending on your mood, there is so much to do. When you enter the state park grounds, turn right to go straight to the falls. Turn left for camping (they have three public campgrounds), picnic area, and playground around the lake. Although all of the public facilities were closed here (Covid-19), we ate a picnic lunch and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather. You can swim in the lake, but it was still too cold this time of year.
If you’re in the Twin Cities area and you haven’t been here yet, plan a day trip sometime soon! You won’t regret it.
Tracy, a girl on her own