State Park Information
William O'Brien State Park
  3.5 Stars (6 Ratings)
  16821 O`Brien Trail North
      Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota 55047
  United States
  (651) 433-0500
  Unknown
Description

A great 'get away' park only one hour from the Twin Cities, William O'Brien provides a beautiful setting for quality recreation along the banks of the St. Croix River. Hiking trails offer quiet exploration of the park's rolling, wooded hills. For anglers, the channels of the St. Croix have northerns, walleye, bass and trout. Ideal for canoeing, the river is also a migratory pathway that offers visitors an exciting diversity of sights and sounds. In the winter, snowshoeing, skiing and camping attract enthusiasts.

Wildlife
Racoon, mink, beaver and woodchucks are prevalent. Upland meadows and woods provide a great environment for white-tail deer and fox. Birdwatchers frequently spot woodpeckers, bluebirds, orioles, herons, raptors and a variety of warblers.

History
The Dakota and Ojibwe Indians utilized the resources of the valley rich in fur-bearing animals, wild game, and useful plants. In the 1600s, European trappers arrived to engage in the lucrative fur-trade industry. Later, lumberjacks began to harvest the stands of white pine. Sawmills began to dot the St. Croix riverway and the industry flourished in the mid-1800s until the valley was cleared of white pine. William O'Brien, a lumber baron, bought much of the land once owned by the lumber companies. In 1947, his daughter donated 180 acres to be developed as a state park in memory of her father. Over the years, other privately owned pieces of land were added to the park which now totals 1,653 acres.

Geology
Sandstone outcrops formed millions of years ago by inland seas are found along the St. Croix River. Glacial activity played a major role in developing the picturesque valley. As the huge glaciers lumbered south, they scoured the sandstone and deposited soil and rocks of various sizes. As large masses of ice melted, the tremendous volume of released water cut through the soft sandstone, creating the St. Croix River and landscaping the wide, boulder-strewn valley.

Landscape
The variety of vegetation types, the St. Croix River floodplain, oak-hickory forests, scattered white pine areas, marshes, oak savanna, upland prairie and rolling meadows, provides habitat for diverse wildlife populations. Wildflowers give color to the spring woods and the summer fields. One of the best canoeing rivers in the nation, the St.Croix offers pristine scenery just minutes from a major metropolitan area.

Park Stats
Campgrounds: 5 Campsites: 135
Photos: 21 Reviews: 6
Views: 355 Likes: 0
   

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   William O'Brien State Park Reviews


Have you been here? What did you think of this Park? Submit a Review and Earn $$! Learn More >>
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Beautiful park, nice beach and clean facilities! Camie will love camping here over Memorial Day weekend!
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
This was a beautiful park and we had a great experience except the extremely rude park ranger on a power trip. He dealt with a very minor non-issue in a very aggressive manor. My husband and others camping with us are law enforcement with much more authority than this guy, yet he treated us like scum when we did nothing wrong.
Unknown
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
This was a great park. The campsites were nice and had some tree coverage for shade, most all of them you can see neghbor sites. The showers and restrooms were clean and nice, even the vault toilets were not very smelly and had hand sanitizer there. here was plenty to do for the familty. We went canoeing on Sat. Canoe rental right next to boat launch on far side of parking lots from swimming beach. Canoe rental was $11/hr with 2 hr min. It was beautiful canoeing with islands in the river. There are also shuttle canoe trips that shuttle to Taylors falls and float to here for longer canoe trips. Our 5 yr old grandson and the rest of us really enjoyed the swimming beach which was very nice and refreshing. There were a lot of people swimming (mid 80's heat), but there was plenty of room in the water and around the beach area. The visitors center had activities going on quite often for the kids, and the wildlife exhibit room was a real hit with our 5 yr old grandson (he had to go there twice during the weekend). We also went geo-cacheing with a free rental GPS from the ranger station, and it was fun for the whole family tracking down the clues on the geo-safari.
Unknown
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Unknown
4 Star Rating4.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Good hiking trails and had a cool night-time hike and activity.
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
The park has a lot of nice hiking trails. They also have a nice little beach at one of the lakes. There is no playground. The campgrounds are quite nice. Most of the sites have some nice tree coverage and are fairly spread out. The main bathrooms are clean and really quite nice. I'm only giving it three stars because there didn't seem like a whole lot to do other than hiking.
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