William O'Brien State Park
Riverside Trail

Walking along the St. Croix

The Riverside Trail is an easy hike that starts out along the serene St. Croix River, then loops back to follow the shores of Lake Alice.

Sections of the trail tread softly on the needles of enormous pine trees, the quiet lightly broken by the low rush of water along the short rock walls that line the river.
As the trail leaves the river, it follows a tiny stream and the sounds change to clicking comb and plucked banjo as the frogs make themselves known.
Further on, the trail visits Lake Alice, a home to eagles and hawks floating high on the air, and geese and ducks floating low on the water. This is a place of beauty - walk quietly and listen closely, there are wonders to be found.

From the Marine General Store (one of my favorite places to shop) in Marine, Minnesota, follow MN Hwy 95 north 1.9 miles to the entrance to William O' Brien state park on your left.
Turn left into the park, stopping at the entrance station where you will need to pay an entrance fee.
Proceed to the tee in the road, then turn left and proceed downhill beneath the highway bridge. Follow the road to the end, where you will find ample parking along Lake Alice.
Coordinates for the hike: 45.2185700,-92.7588300
Parking / Trailhead amenities
The parking lot is paved, level, and huge. There are both pit and flush toilets available. There are shelters, picnic tables, a swimming beach, a sand volleyball court, and a boat launch.
Trail observations
The trailhead exits the parking lot at the far end from where the roadway enters. The trail cuts to the left of a shelter and heads towards the river. There is a map board at the trailhead. Initially the trail is paved, but then it turns to gravel and from there to pine needle, wood chip, dirt, and grass. The trail is wide and almost completely flat. This is a very easy and pleasant hike.
Trail statistics
The trail is 2.07 miles long. The sum of all the uphill climbs is 98 feet.
Trail waypoints
0.01 miParking lotParking lot
0.12 miFinding trailLooking towards the shelter where the trail starts
0.23 miTrailheadStart of the Riverside Trail
0.24 miMap boardTrail map
0.26 miGo straightIntersection - go straight
0.28 miTo riverStay on the trail towards the river
0.29 miFaucetWater faucet
0.32 miBenchBench
0.41 miBenchBench
0.55 miCamp groundCamp ground,River
0.62 miRiver viewView of the St. Croix from the trail
0.83 miCamp groundCamp ground
1.11 miGo leftTurn left and follow trail along a small stream
1.43 miGo straightIntersection - cross the paved road and follow the Hiking Trail
1.77 miAlong roadWalking between the road and the lake for a little bit here
1.78 miBenchView from a bench along the trail
1.88 miShelterShelter at the end of the trail
2.07 miEnd of trailEnd of trail
Trail map - Riverside Trail
Altitude chart - Riverside Trail Bench Camp ground Along road End of trail
Difficulty: Difficult
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain : Canyon
Terrain : Flat
Terrain : Hilly
Terrain : Mountainous
Trail surface: Rock
Trail surface: Swamp
Type: Lollipop
Type: Out-and-back
View: Enclosed
County: Washington
State: Minnesota
Country: United States of America
MN DNR web site
Printable trail map in PDF format (26 Mb download)
Printable trail map in PNG format (3 Mb download)
Waypoints in CSV format
Waypoints in KML format
Instructions on using a trail description page
Instructions on using a trail map printout
Trails in the surrounding area
Area map for Minnesota and Wisconsin (1 additional trail)
Area map for Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (6 additional trails)