Glacial Potholes

Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin

Glacial Potholes

Glacial Potholes Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The western terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail appropriately lies within this state park where you can look out over the St. Croix River and find geological features known as “potholes,” created by meltwater drainage of a glacial lake. Expect great views of the river, canyon, rock formations, and a waterfall.

Ten thousand years ago, glacial Lake Duluth rose hundreds of feet above the present level of Lake Superior. Ice blocked the present eastern drainage of the lake near Sault Ste. Marie. The meltwater of a vast ice field 5,000 feet thick and the size of the state of Minnesota began to flow south past this point. That incredible current was the source of Interstate Park’s famous potholes and rock formations."

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Glacial Potholes Trail Trip Reports

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Echo Park, CA
Pathfinder | 80 pts
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
Pleasant, short. Nice overlook of the Dalles. Try to stop at the Visitor's Center first and see the orientation movie to appreciate the geology.
Stevens Point, WI
Pathfinder | 101 pts
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An amazing area to experience, this trip was well worth the time spent to get out there. Everything from dramatically high cliffs to lowland forest and sandbars streching almost across the river can be found here, not to mention the randomly placed glacial potholes dotting the landscape. I didn't finish the whole hike described here as I got sidetracked into other activities along the way and ran out of time! If you are planning a trip out here I would definately suggest staying the weekend at one of the campgrounds (both the WI and MN sides have one) then you could spend a day hiking and taking in the sights, and another canoeing/kayaking (very popular in the area), cliff diving, swimming or even climbing the sheer rock cliffs (there were a lot of people doing that when I was there.) Getting back on topic the trails themselves are very well kept for the most part, gravel-lined even. Some areas on top of the cliffs are not really fenced off though (from the sheer cliff) so if you are bringing children you will want to be aware of that. Overall it was a great time, and even once the hike is done there are a ton of outdoor recreational activities available to round out a trip.

Trail Information

Saint Croix Falls
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 hours
April - October
Interstate State Park, WI 35, St. Croix Falls, 54024; (715) 483-3747; http://
Local Contacts
USGS St. Croix Dalles; Interstate Park Hiking Map (WI and MN)
Local Maps