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The “Great Rivers Confluence Area” is so much more than a catchy name. It is a not only a place where the scenic and majestic St. Croix River meets the mighty and powerful Mississippi River, it is a special area where the State of Minnesota and the State of Wisconsin (including Washington County, MN, Dakota County, MN and Pierce County, WI) shake hands and are not divided as just separate geo-political locations. By description, it is roughly sixty-four square miles where citizens and visitors share the common love and respect of two great rivers. The historic river communities of Hastings, Minnesota and Prescott, Wisconsin are located along the shores of the two rivers and can literally see one another from both land and water. In addition, the Great River Road Learning and Visitor Center is virtually located (Prescott, Wisconsin overlook) on the bluff area of this Confluence and is a key destination for visitors and local citizens.
In a larger geographic and identifiable sense, the “Great Rivers Confluence Area” does not stop just at the physical location where the St. Croix and Mississippi meet. Approximately 8 miles upstream (North) along the St. Croix, on the Wisconsin side, the cold and trout laden Kinnickinnic River (commonly called the “Kinni”) flows quickly and sometimes calmly into the St. Croix. This spot is a place that is known both locally and regionally as a picturesque boating, fishing, and camping location very reachable to and from the “Confluence “. Approximately eight miles upstream on the “Kinni” the City of River Falls, WI is found which is a community that also finds the “Great Rivers Confluence” as a shared area attraction.
Now, not forgetting the Minnesota side, about the same distance as the “Kinni “ on the St. Croix, the small and picturesque City of Afton, MN is located. Here, farther downstream the Confluence of the two great rivers is easily reached by land or water. Going south from Afton we find Afton State Park (part of the Minnesota State Park System), St. Croix Bluffs County Park (Washington County) and Carpenter Nature Center. All of these areas will someday be connected by the approximately 13 mile St. Croix Valley Trail. Continuing west the anticipated Point Douglas Trail is found. This two mile trail segment will run along the Mississippi River and provide a significant connection to area Hastings, MN and Prescott, WI trail systems as well as a great beach and resting area called Pt. Douglas Park, nearby from the Mississippi on the St. Croix. Going back a few miles upstream west on the Mississippi is the Hastings Lock and Dam Hydroelectric Facility, a partnership between the City of Hastings and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And let’s not leave out going south from the Confluence along the Mississippi river. The relatively small Vermillion River runs parallel to the Mississippi from Hastings, MN and enters the river six miles downstream
So you can see that the “Great Rivers Confluence Area” takes in a large geographical description. You are encouraged to view and explore the interactive Great Rivers Confluence area map within this website.