BEST PLACE TO GO ROCK CLIMBING (1999)
This is where avid rock climbers go between mountain climbs. The granite feels like the rock out West, the cliffs are marbled with good climbing cracks, and it's the only place within quick-drive distance (about 45 minutes from the Cities) where you can engage in traditional climbing with full gear and top set ropes. Divided by the St. Croix River, craggy rocks line the canyon walls, giving this site the look of a mini Grand Canyon. This is not a place for novices, however. The climbs are challenging and dangerous. For intermediate to expert climbers, the cliffs on the Minnesota side run from easy to moderate climbs, while the Wisconsin side is somewhat more demanding; between the two, the park offers slab climbing, crack climbing, precarious overhangs, and breathtaking roofs. This is a state park complete with campsites ($12 a day), but reservations are hard to secure, so call weeks in advance. If you just want to spend the day, you can purchase a daily permit on-site for $4 or a statewide, annual permit for $20.