William O'Brien State Park

In the area

From Explore MN Tourism


Top Stops at William O'Brien State Park

Stroll the Riverside Trail

Photo of the trees along the Riverside Trail.Take a jaunt along this 1.5-mile self-guided trail. The trail is fully accessible and winds by the St. Croix River and Lake Alice. You’ll start near the picnic grounds and follow interpretive signs highlighting the natural and cultural history of the park. Rest areas, some with benches, are located approximately every 900 feet in case little feet get tired.

  • For additional info on the Riverside Trail, view the trail map This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it..

Camp out in a camper cabin

Photo of a child on the top bunk of a camper cabin within the park.If tent camping is not for you, a camper cabin may be the perfect alternative. Camper cabins are rustic, one-room wooden cabins with a table, benches, and wooden bunk beds with mattresses. You’ll find three, year-round cabins and one seasonal cabin in the park. The cabins are a great way to experience the outdoors overnight, without having to pitch your own tent.

Splash and swim

Photo of the beach along the shores of Alice Lake.Lake Alice, named after Alice O’Brien who donated the first 180 acres of the park in memory of her father, is spring-fed and stays beautiful all summer long. On a clear summer day, throw down a beach towel and go for a swim. You’ll want to splash the day away!

Try something new … for free!

Photo of park visitors using a device to discover a geocache.Use the park's free equipment and everyone will stay busy from sun-up to sun-down. There are GPS units, fishing poles and tackle boxes, birding kits, horseshoes, volleyballs, soccer balls and bocce balls. All equipment can be checked out for free by both overnight and day visitors at the park office.

  • There’s plenty of parks with free loaner equipment. For the list, visit here.

Paddle the St. Croix

Video highlighting the St. Croix River next to William O'Brien State Park.One of the best paddling rivers in the nation, the scenic St. Croix offers a beautiful setting for your leisurely float. Canoe and kayak rentals ($15 for a half day or $25 for a full day) are available at the park office (mid-May through October) as well as information on weekend shuttle service.

  • Click the image for a short video highlighting the William O’Brien State Park stretch of the St. Croix River.
  • For additional information on canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, check here.

Extra fun:  Winter!

Photo of a group of young skiiers gathering for winter adventure on the park trails.Come back this winter! William O'Brien State Park has 12 miles of groomed, cross-country and skate ski trails. The trails range from easy to difficult and are a popular destination during the snowy Minnesota winters. Stay the night in a cozy camper cabin and, in the morning step right out onto the ski trails. You'll also find 1.5 miles of snowshoe trails along the Riverside Trail. Snowshoes are available for rent at the park office.