Along the St. Croix River: Stillwater to Taylors Falls
By Greg Breining
The 50 mile from the Twin Cities up the St. Croix River to Taylors Falls takes in some of the most picturesque driving near the Twin Cities. You’ll see grand views of the St. Croix as well as some handsome towns.
Start in Stillwater. Enjoy the historic town’s quaint downtown, with its brick buildings and cobblestone streets, and peruse its many shops—chances are good you’ll find one-of-a-kind antiques along Main Street. Be sure to grab a cone for the road at Nelson’s Ice Cream on Olive Street.
Head north on Highway 95 through the pin-neat community of Marine-on-St. Croix. At the intersection of Highways 95 and 8, stop to see what new pieces of art have been erected at Franconia Sculpture Park. Head west 3.4 miles on Highway 8 for lunch at Eichten’s Market and Café. Try the Momba Chomba Tokeru Hoagie with garlic roast beef and Eichten’s peppercorn-garlic gouda cheese.
Continue on to Taylors Falls and, upon arrival, take a quick tour of the Angel Hill Historic District. Stop to tour the Folsom House (272 W. Government St.), an 1855 New-England style home of a prominent lumberman and state senator (open weekends through early October). Park at the Interstate State Park lot near downtown and hike the Pothole Trail along the Dalles of the St. Croix. More than 80 holes, with names like Bake Oven, Bottomless Pit, and Devil’s Parlor, were formed out of the river, as stones and sand cut holes out of hard basaltic rock. The sand also polished the rocks, leaving them smooth and slippery when wet. From atop the potholes, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the river and bluffs—the perfect end to your mini road trip.