Recreation

Washington County Parks is committed to preserving natural open spaces. These areas help to maintain wildlife habitat, clean water, and provide a refuge for people to retreat from the usual bustle of daily life. To find more information on enjoying these open spaces, select an activity to learn more.

Activities Available in Washington County Parks

Archery

A 12 target archery range with yard markers and shooting stands is located near the Equestrian Center at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The range is open year round weather permitting. 

Bicycling

Tune up your bike and hit the trails in one of our parks including Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Pine Point Regional Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Boating

Washington County has several motorized boat launches. Access to all boat launches is included with a Washington County Parks vehicle permit. No launching is allowed if there are no current open trailer parking spaces, even to just drop-in. The St. Croix Bluffs Boat Launch is only suited for boats 19 feet or shorter, and is closed in the winter once snowfall occurs due to the steep slope of the hill.

Camping

Washington County offers two beautiful campgrounds for a relaxing getaway, one located within Lake Elmo Park Reserve and the other within St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Find a campsite that suits your needs, from sites with electric and water hook-ups, to group sites, to rustic hike-in sites. Enjoy all the other amenities the parks have to offer, including hiking, fishing, boating, and more.

Canoeing and Kayaking

A canoe/kayak launch access is available at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Point Douglas Park, Square Lake County Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Park visitors can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from their smartphone or other online device. These rental stations, known as iPaddlePorts, offer a contactless outdoor adventure at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park and Square Lake County Park. Visit the equipment rentals page for more information and to reserve.

Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing is a great way to stay active in the winter months. Washington County grooms ski trails when conditions allow at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Pine Point Regional Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Skiers must purchase a Washington County ski pass online, at a pay station, or at a park office.

Nordic Rocks Ski rentals are also available at Lake Elmo Park ReserveThese introductory level cross country skis come in youth and adult size and are worn over a traditional winter boot.  As part of the rental package, adjustable poles are included.  

Please note that ski rentals will not be available when the trails are in poor condition and there is not enough snow. We strive to ensure an enjoyable and safe skiing experience for beginners and for our equipment. The last rental time for a guaranteed 3-hour rental will go out at 2:45 p.m.  If under the age of 18, you will be charged the youth rate of $5/rental and if 18 and over you will be charged $10/rental.  

Nordic Rocks Skis provided by grant funding through NSSTC.  

Fishing

Fishing piers are available at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Point Douglas Park, and Square Lake County Park. Fishing pole loaners are available through the MN DNR FIN Program at select locations and the park offices.

Geocaching

Visit a geocache app or website to hide and seek caches at specific locations marked by coordinates within the parks. Geocaching is available in all of our parks. 

Hiking

A great way to explore the vast nature in our parks, hiking can be done at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Pine Point Regional Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Horseback Riding

Equestrian trails are available to enjoy at Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Pine Point Regional Park.

Paved Trails

Paved trails provide a perfect surface for walking, running, biking, in-line skating, and more. Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Pine Point Regional Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park all provide paved trails.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bike trails are available in Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Pine Point Regional Park.

Orienteering

Orienteering is a great way to explore Lake Elmo Park Reserve. All you will need is a map and a compass. Three different levels of orienteering courses traverse the park and originate at the Eagle Point trailhead parking lot. Maps are available for purchase at the Lake Elmo Park office.

Picnicking

Enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the beautiful scenery of one of our parks. Picnic areas are available at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Point Douglas Park, Square Lake County Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Play Areas

Playing free in the outdoors is one of the greatest joys of childhood. Washington County Parks provide play structures at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve. and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park to keep youngsters moving and intrigued for hours of play.

Skijoring

Grab your furry friend and try out this winter sport at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, or Pine Point Regional Park.

Snowshoeing

Stay active in the winter months by snowshoeing in one of our scenic parks. Snowshoeing is offered at Big Marine Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Pine Point Regional Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Swimming

Sandy beaches are available at Big Marine Park Reserve, Point Douglas Park, Square Lake County Park, and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. A man-made two-acre swim pond that s chlorinated and filtered is also available at Lake Elmo Park Reserve.