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Tips & River Safety


RIVER CURRENTS: The average speed for the St. Croix is one mile per hour. Specific stretches of the river can be slower or faster. Flowages have little, if any, current. Experienced canoers can travel faster by reading the river and using paddling skills, while new canoers are less efficient. Fishing and wildlife viewing can also slow your travel.

WIND CONDITION: The broader portions of the river are most affected by wind. A robust upstream wind can mean waves and slower progression.

CANOEING DIFFICULTY: Normal conditions for the St. Croix are at most a Class I (moving water with a few riffles & small waves, few or no obstructions). Click for Current River Levels.

CAMPSITES: Campsites with a primitive toilet, fire-ring, and picnic table, are marked by a brown & white tent symbol visible from the river. CAMPING PASS REQUIRED. Learn More.


  • Exposure to cool air or cold water can lead to hypothermia, even when temperatures are well above freezing. Dress appropriately and bring spare clothes in case you get wet.
  • Kneel in the bottom of the canoe while in areas of rough water for stability. Standing and sudden sideways shifts can make the canoe unstable.
  • If you fall out of a canoe keep your head upstream, feet downstream, kick and back paddle to control your movement if you can’t stand up. Your canoe floats, so you can also hang onto it, remember to stay on the upstream side.
  • Water riffles mean that rocks lie close to the surface. Follow the smooth water shaped like a “V” pointing downstream.
  • Keep the front or bow of the canoe headed downstream with the current or headed into boat wakes.
  • When leaving vehicles at landings, remove or hide valuables as break-ins have occurred in the past.
  • Download National Park Service Canoe Safety


  • Mussels are protected because they are endangered species. Please do not remove them from the river.
  • Primitive toilets are available at campsites and landings. If toilets are not available, bury human waste at least 6 inches deep and at least 100 feet from the river.
  • Bring a trash bag to carry out all trash. Glass beverage containers are prohibited on the river.
  • Do not damage live trees. Dead and down wood may be used for firewood.
  • Click here to read the ‘Clean up the River’ blog.