Osceola Bluff, Cascade Falls Are Twin Attractions in Osceola By Dean S. Acheson

 OSCEOLA – For thousands of years, a limestone bluff (Simenstad Trail ) that overlooks the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway has been an area landmark. Chippewa Indians camped here along the “ginseng trail” that stretched from Balsam Lake in Polk County to New Richmond in St. Croix County.

The bluff is a resting place for resident bald eagles. White-tail deer walk its trails. Hepaticas, dogtooth violets and trillium grow in profusion. Today the bluff is owned by the Village of Osceola. You can hike to the top of the bluff, which rises 300 feet above the river.

The trailhead can be found behind the Cascade BP. Park on Depot Road. The trail is gated against motor vehicle traffic; walk up the hill to find the trailhead. The trail is approximately 0.7 mile in length and goes through a hardwood forest. Spectacular views of St. Croix River and downtown Osceola, especially during fall leaf colors.

Another natural attraction right in downtown Osceola is Cascade Falls, created by the drop of Osceola Creek some 25 feet. During evening hours the waterfalls is bathed in alternate colors of red, blue and yellow from spotlights on the bridge.

The falls was a stop for excursion steamboats in the late 1880s, according to a historical marker at the site. A set of stairs on the main road (Hwy. 35) takes you into Wilke Glen, which is the base of the falls. You can walk up and touch the water falling from up above. Follow the trail along the Osceola Creek to the St. Croix River.

Bring a fishing pole and be sure to have a trout stamp on your license if you want to fish for trout in Mill Pond or upstream above Mill Pond, which is on the opposite side of the highway from Cascade Falls.

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