Opening Dates Announced
As of June 1st at 8am, the entire St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail is officially complete. The final span of this 4.7 mile loop trail in downtown Stillwater, Minnesota opens Monday welcoming people and bikes to a renovated historic lift bridge. The old bridge was converted from state highway 36 to a multi-use trail that connects downtown Stillwater across the St. Croix River to Houlton, Wisconsin’s hilltop trail-head. The lift bridge schedule will resume to normal for boaters Monday as well. View official press release from MNDOT.
Pedestrians can now walk or bike over the St. Croix River to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of the river valley while admiring this new view of Stillwater’s riverfront historic district from the Wisconsin side of the river. The entire loop is a safe trail off of the road, so bring the kids!
Both the lift bridge and the adjoining concourse of Chestnut Street are on the national historic register of historic places so the renovation included the installation of 1931 street lamp post replicas as well as a return to the original green color of the lift bridge. This three-year project meticulously converted a motor vehicle highway to a pedestrian-friendly trail while also updating the mechanics of the lift operation for the passing boat traffic on St. Croix the river. The connecting trail section on the Wisconsin side of the river is also finished.
Design & Construction of Loop Trail
To learn more about the construction of this new loop trail system in Stillwater, visit Minnesota Department of Transportation’s website or watch this project animation video below.
Exploring the Trail
The Loop Trail initially opened in August of 2017 when the new St. Croix Crossing bridge with a rare extradose design was unveiled. Sections of the trail were added through the last few years including amenities such as parking lots, landscaping and trailheads in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visitors and locals are encouraged to enjoy the trails by bringing their own bicycles or renting cruiser, electric-assist or even fat tire bikes right downtown.
- Mike’s Electric Bikes (& Green Bridge Coffee Shop)
- Big River Bikes
- DIRO Outdoors (Self-Rental station not open yet, awaiting state approval due to COVID)
- Wahoo Adventures
- Ask your hotel or vacation rental if they have bikes to borrow, too!
The Loop Trail was created as part of the new St. Croix Crossing bridge and historic lift bridge renovation project. This nearly 5-mile loop trail connects the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the St. Croix River. About three quarters of the trail has been enjoyed by many in the last two years but now you can officially complete the entire loop.
Park downtown Stillwater or at the Wisconsin trailhead lots to enjoy amazing views riverside and up above on the new bridge where three lookout points share education information about the ecosystem in the river valley. The view from the St. Croix Crossing bridge was named Best View 2018 by CityPages viewers.
Insider tip – See if you can find the official MN/WI state line!
Bike trail maps are in the center of the Official Stillwater Visitor Guide, so pick up one up at your hotel, local tourism business or order a complimentary copy mailed to you here.
Bike Trails in Stillwater
- St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail
- Brown’s Creek State Trail
- Gateway State Trail
- City of Oak Park Heights Trails including a single track mountain bike trail in Valley View Park
- City of Stillwater Trails
Tours on The Loop Trail
- St. Croix Valley Segway (will be adding ‘Old Lift Bridge 5 Mile Tour’ soon)
- Lens Flare Stillwater Self-Guided History Tour of the Loop
Trails & Take-Out & Outdoor Dining
The proximity of the St. Croix River Crossing Loop trail to the downtown dining and retail shopping district is such a convenience – see what’s open. From the trails you can enjoy a dinner on an outside patio (starting June 1st) or take-out picnic with a bottle of wine in Lowell Park‘s grassy riverside. This downtown destination is home to over 20 restaurants and pubs.
While you ride the trails you’ll pass The Oasis Cafe, The Dock Cafe, Papa’s Rooftop & Charlie’s Pub at the Water Street Inn, The Freight House, Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, MN Nice Cream, The Daily Grind Espresso Cafe, Maple Island Brewing, and the seasonal marina spot PD Pappy’s.
Hop on the trails just outside your hotel room with four downtown hotels and many more nearby bed & breakfasts, vacation home rentals or economy hotels. The Water Street Inn, Stillwater’s only waterfront hotel & restaurant rooftop is quite literally at the base of the historic lift bridge and loop trail.
Several VRBOS are also just a block away – The Downtown, Alesci on the Croix, Union Alley Escape, Downtown Loft Getaway, or Excelsior Escape. And don’t forget about the two new modern boutique hotels book-ending main street – Lora, Hotel Crosby.
All Stillwater bike trails are shared spaces, so please be courteous of people no matter how they decide to enjoy the trail – walk, bike, scoot, segway, stroller, wheelchair, electric-assist bike or roller blades! Remember to yield to pedestrians and slower trail users, and give an audible signal if passing. The maximum speed limit on trails is 20mph – here’s a few guidelines from the Minnesota State Trail System to help you as well as COVID updates from MN DNR. In addition, please be aware of current social distancing guidelines in Minnesota and respect the health and safety of others.