The Governor Knowles State Forest acts as a resource protection zone for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The forest is 55 miles long and up to two miles wide. It encompasses 32,500 acres, of which 19,343 acres are currently state-owned. More than 100,000 acres of county forests and two large wildlife areas, the Fish Lake Wildlife Area and Crex Meadow Wildlife Area, border the forest.
The St. Croix River winds the canoeist through a wild and scenic countryside. This is an excellent way to view geologic formations left by two ice ages.
Wildlife is the focus of attention for both the hunter and sightseer. Hunters will find whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, black bear, snowshoe hare, squirrel and woodcock on the forest. For visitors more interested in watching wildlife, the varied habitat on the forest afford opportunities to see a wide variety of animals, including sharp-tailed grouse, common yellow throat, bald eagles, pocket gopher, mink and muskrat.
Governor Knowles State Forest offers a wealth of recreational activities. Our forests can be enjoyed by campers, horseback riders, hikers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers. Bordering the St. Croix River, the forest offers nature enthusiasts spectacular beauty during each season.
(Open the 1st Friday of May through October 15th)
A National Park Service ranger gives a talk at the St. Croix campground.
Located east of the St. Croix River on State Hwy. 70, our campground includes 30 rustic sites. Camping is available on a “first-come, first served” basis. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table and tent pad. Campers are welcome to gather wood from in and around the campground for their campfire use. A short quarter-mile hike will bring you to the beautiful St. Croix River. Nature enthusiasts can also enjoy the Wood River Interpretive Trail, a mile-long walk that overlooks the scenic Wood River.
Trade River Campground
(Open April 15th – November 15th)
Aerial view of the new Trade River campground.
The Trade River Campground is traditionally used by horseback riders. The campground is nestled along the banks of the Trade River, 6 miles west of Hwy. 87 on Evergreen Avenue. The current campground is an undeveloped camp, with camping permitted in all areas, except where posted closed. Water and sanitary facilities are provided.
Our new campground will offer 40 designated campsites, each with a fire ring, picnic table and horse tie post. Anticipated completion date is Fall 2008.
Fees: Self-registration is required. Fee envelopes provided at the campground.
Current camping fees are available here [PDF, 51KB] (be sure to scroll all the way to the end if you don't see your desired campsite).
For those who enjoy backpack camping, a special camp permit can be obtained from the Governor Knowles State Forest Headquarters. Campsites are primitive and located on both the north and south segments of the hiking trails. (Permits should be obtained 7 days prior to occupying the site.)
Sioux Portage Group Campground
This camp is available only by reservation through Governor Knowles State Forest Headquarters. It can accommodate up to 60 campers and has fire rings, picnic tables, a pit toilet, drinking water, and is handicaped-accessible. A fee is required. Current camping fees are available here [PDF, 51KB] (be sure to scroll all the way to the end if you don't see your desired campsite).
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