Wisconsin rivers from the road and sometimes kayak

Kinnickinnic River, crawling to the St. Croix

The Kinnickinnic River is tough to say, so most people just call it the "Kinni" for short. It's 22 miles long. It rises from the springs in St. Croix County up near I-94 southwest of Baldwin, and flows southwesterly to empty into the St. Croix River in Kinnickinnic State Park about one mile to the west of the park. She passes through River Falls, which is a fun town to visit.

River Falls


The City of River Falls is in both Pierce and St. Croix counties in western Wisconsin. It is the most populous city in Pierce County. The University of Wisconsin River Falls is here, a very attractive campus in the heart of the city. South Hall, on the campus is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Kinni runs through the city, having traveled perhaps 10-11 miles from the northeast to get here. My objective when I came here was to see Glen Park's Swinging Bridge over the south fork rapids of the river. The yellow arrow points to the bridge's location. If you come from the north, the best way to get there is to get on Main Street heading south, then turn right on West Cascade Ave. Now pay attention. After a very short while, Cascade will take an abrupt left. If you miss it, you'll go over a bridge crossing the river. This small section of Cascade is a nice place to park to see the swinging bridge, just steps away.


The Swinging Bridge is in Glen Park. It is a replica of one designed by the Minneapolis Bridge Company and constructed in 1925. It is a suspension bridge that spans the South Fork Rapids at the site of the former Cascade Mill and Dam. Below the bridge are fishing and picnic spots.

The main problem with the bridge is the rapids or cascades are seen best from down in the gorge. I decided not to climb down into the gorge so I'll give you the best I could come up with from the bridge. These come in no particular order. I shot through the woods, always looking for the best shot through the trees!


I took a path alongside the cascade and found this spot to grab a shot. I was going to walk down a very short path closer to the ledge overlooking the cascade bu two lover were standing there kissing, so I stayed away.


River Falls is about three hours from Wausau, so as usual, I was in a hurry because I still had to drive home. That said, I was irritated when I saw this guy down there standing in the cascade waters. I was irritated because I couldn't figure out how he got down there, and I could not stay long enough to survey the area closely enough.


I believe I took this shot looking down directly at the cascade from the Swinging Bridge. If you're not careful with his photo, one might think it is a very large falls flowing down the side of a mountain!


I swung around and looked out the other side of the bridge, as I recall. Again looking at the guy who got down there.


This was a shot from the bridge looking upstream, before the river meets the cascade.


The cascades flow from the South Fork Rapids of the Kinni River on its way to meet the St. Croix downstream. I've pointed out where the South Fork meets the KInni proper.


There are two dams, one produces Lake George, the other Lake Luise.

I had hoped I could follow the Kinni by road to where she met the St Croix, but there is no way that I could see. So I took Main St. south out of River Falls, jumped on CH FF headed to the west and came upon Kinnickinnic State Park, and parked. I also could not find a road that would take me to exactly where the Kinni met the St. Croix. The park would have to do.

So let me say something here. After you leave your car there is a very nice path down to the Kinni River. That's the good news. But it is a little steep heading down to the river, which was fine, but getting back up to the car was a real workout!


After my trek down I came to the Kinni River and a beach. People were swimming. But of course, I could not see the St. Croix as it was about a mile away, around that bend to the left. I was disappointed


But hey, it was a beautiful day, this is a wonderful shot looking upstream the Kinni. She's pretty wide here. I then prepared myself psychologically to slog up the path to my car. I made it and lived to tell about it. Ha! It's not that bad, it's just I was 72 years old when I did it.

There are some roads you can take that cross the Kinni to the northeast. Next time I'm in the area I will try to see what I can see.