My friend Scott and I are in training for wilderness kayak camping, which entails long distance travel with minimal gear. We chose the St. Croix River as our training ground this time due to the remote but accessible water containing some class 1 and 2 rapids, which allowed us to test our kayaks loaded with the extra weight of gear.
We traveled the upper river bordering both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Although there are many fine outfitters in the area, we handled all the logistics ourselves.
The water levels in June were a bit low, and the rapids that could be a solid class two a month before were just class one on our trip. Scotty and I, accompanied by my son Max, did have a fantastic time while testing all our gear.
We saw a regular parade of wildlife, including several birds we had never seen before. The fishing was great, and Max caught both the largest Walleye and Smallmouth Bass of his life, and he is quite the fisherman! Anyway, if you have a rod in your boat, plan for some action, possibly even the elusive Musky or Sturgeon.
There are numerous, beautiful and pristine campsites only accessible by water, on a first come, first served basis. If there is enough water, I recommend the sites along Kettle Slough on the Minnesota shore. We chose a site at the confluence of the Kettle River that I would have to rate in my top five of all time! Two canoes went by the whole time we camped there. I must caution that black bears are regular visitors, but we were not truly bothered by them.
We are River Rats who paddle many waters, but I would love to return here again some day, as this was great trip.
Sandrock Cliffs Campground has pit toilets and water
From St. Croix Falls take Hyw. 87 north to Grantsburg, then 'F' north to Norway Point Rd. Landing at end of road.
Sandrock Cliffs Campground north of Hyw. 70 makes a great base camp