St. Croix Savanna SNA


Area and County

    Washington County
    Metro Area

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148 acres reported, 154 acres actual (see Comments below)


Detail map (MN DNR)


 Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

There are two designated parking locations for this SNA. The first is a hard-packed area at the end of Prairie Way S. near the northwest boundary (north parking).

North Parking (Prairie Way S.)
N45 0.427, W92 47.169

The second parking spot is the paved shoulder of MN Hwy 95 near the southeast boundary (south parking). MN Hwy 95 is a busy highway. A guard rail has been erected on the shoulder preventing vehicles from pulling off of the pavement.

South Parking (paved shoulder of MN Hwy. 95)
N44 59.688, W92 46.673

Hiking Trails

No maintained trails


No hunting

Ecological Classification Province  

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

Ecological Classification

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal


St. Paul-Baldwin Plains

Land Type Association(s)

Stillwater Alluvial Plain

Native Plant Communities1

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern)

Ownership Minnesota DNR logo        

Minnesota DNR


This 148-acre Scientific and Natural Area offers a diversity of habitats just minutes away from the Twin Cities. On the south part of the site there is a high quality oak savanna on a steep, southwest facing hillside. An oak woodland bordering an intermittent stream forms the southwest boundary. On the west, an upland prairie is undergoing restoration on a former gravel pit. The isolated north sections are on an oak forested river bluff.

There’s More!
There is an additional seven-acre section of this SNA just west of the north parking area. It is shown on the map (see Maps above), but it does not appear on the Minnesota DNR’s Web page for this site, on the Detail Map, or on the Recreation Compass. However, it is marked on the ground by SNA boundary markers. The DNR confirmed that it is in DNR ownership, and “was previously administered by Wildlife, but is in the process of being transferred to Eco and Water Resources/SNA for stewardship.”

In 2005 the Minnesota DNR attempted to reestablish prairie larkspur on the site. In 2014 it appears that few if any of those plants had survived. In 2013 volunteers participated in a day of buckthorn removal. In June, 2014, leafy spurge was was treated with herbicide.



  6/14/2006   6/17/2014






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North Parking

  St. Croix Savanna SNA   St. Croix Savanna SNA

Wood Routed Sign, North Parking

  St. Croix Savanna SNA    

Interpretive Sign, North Parking

  St. Croix Savanna SNA    

South Parking

  St. Croix Savanna SNA    

Wood Routed Sign, South Parking

  St. Croix Savanna SNA   St. Croix Savanna SNA

Restored Prairie on Former Gravel Pit

  St. Croix Savanna SNA    
  St. Croix Savanna SNA

Oak Woods

  St. Croix Savanna SNA   St. Croix Savanna SNA

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern)

  St. Croix Savanna SNA   St. Croix Savanna SNA
  St. Croix Savanna SNA    

Prairie Restoration on Former Agricultral Field

  St. Croix Savanna SNA    





  St. Croix Savanna SNA
  St. Croix Savanna SNA  

The St. Croix Savanna occurs along the top and side of a south-facing bluff, with views of the St. Croix River. Its slopes of loamy sand have eroded extensively, their soils now supporting an alluvial forest along the bottom. Scattered bur oak and pin oak on the open gravel prairie become increasingly dense toward the northeast and northwest, forming first oak woodland and then oak forest.





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Three bird species with conservation status in Minnesota and one tracked species have been seen here:


Special concern

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)



Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


Minnesota DNR Bird checklist


American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Eastern Wood-peewee (Contopus virens)

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Veery (Catharus fuscescens)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)

American Goldfinch

Brown-headed Cowbird

Mourning Dove

Northern Cardinal

Pileated Woodpecker

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Song Sparrow

Wild Turkey

Fungi and Lichens

False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)

Oat Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae)

Oat Crown Rust

Insects and Arachnids

American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae)

common green darner (Anax junius)

common ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)

eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

elm finger gall mite (Eriophyes parulmi)

goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

leaf miner fly (Liriomyza eupatoriella)

least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)

little wood satyr (Megisto cymela)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

northern cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)

northern crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

pronghorn clubtail (Gomphus graslinellus)

red-blue checkered beetle (Trichodes nutalli)

silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

sulphur-winged grasshopper (Arphia sulphurea)

sumac stem borer (Oberea ocellata)

twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

common green darner


northern crescent


twelve-spotted skimmer

widow skimmer



eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

whitetail deer


Three plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:



James’ polanisia (Polanisia jamesii)

narrow-leaved pinweed (Lechea tenuifolia)



kitten-tails (Veronica bullii)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern) UPs14b



Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)

alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

American elm (Ulmus americana)

American hazel (Corylus americana)

American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata var. bracteata)

American red raspberry (Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus)

American vetch (Vicia americana ssp. americana)

annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Balkan catchfly (Silene csereii)

baneberry (Actaea sp.)

bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus var. corniculatus)

black bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus)

black cherry (Prunus serotina var. serotina)

black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

black medick (Medicago lupulina)

black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

black walnut (Juglans nigra)

black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima)

black-seeded plantain (Plantago rugelii var. rugelii)

bland sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii)

bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

boxelder (Acer negundo var. negundo)

bracted spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata)

bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior)

Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Canadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis)

Canadian tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense)

Canadian woodnettle (Laportea canadensis)

cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)

cleavers (Galium aparine)

common blue violet (Viola sororia)

common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

common burdock (Arctium minus)

common chickweed (Stellaria media ssp. media)

common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca ssp. cardiaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common plantain (Plantago major)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

crown vetch (Securigera varia)

Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

downy phlox (Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida)

downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

early figwort (Scrophularia lanceolata)

early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana)

eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)

field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)

field sagewort (Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata)

fragrant bedstraw (Galium triflorum)

garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida var. trifida)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Great Plains flat sedge (Cyperus lupulinus ssp. lupulinus)

ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

hairy false goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa)

hairy puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum)

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

heart-leaved four o’clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana)

hoary frostweed (Helianthemum bicknellii)

hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)

hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

ironwood (Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana)

June grass (Koeleria macrantha)

large-flowered beardtongue (Penstemon grandiflorus)

large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

leafy spurge (Euphorbia virgata)

lyre-leaved rock cress (Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. lyrata)

marijuana (Cannabis sativa)

Maryland black snakeroot (Sanicula marilandica)

Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)

musk thistle (Carduus nutans)

narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard (Crepis tectorum)

narrow-leaved hawkweed (Hieracium umbellatum)

northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum)

northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

paper birch (Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera)

Parlin’s pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii)

plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera)

pointed-leaved tick-trefoil (Desmodium glutinosum)

porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea)

prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)

prairie fleabane (Erigeron strigosus)

prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescens)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

recurved blackberry (Rubus recurvans)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

rough false pennyroyal (Hedeoma hispida)

rough-fruited cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)

silky aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum)

slender beardtongue (Penstemon gracilis var. gracilis)

slender willow (Salix petiolaris)

smooth brome (Bromus inermis)

smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum)

smooth sumac (Rhus glabra)

spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida ssp. rigida)

stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis)

tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta)

tall thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

touch-me-not (Impatiens sp.)

tower mustard (Turritis glabra)

twoflower dwarfdandelion (Krigia biflora)

upright carrionflower (Smilax ecirrhata)

veiny pea (Lathyrus venosus)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia pepper grass (Lepidium virginicum var. virginicum)

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum)

western marbleseed (Lithospermum occidentale)

western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)

white campion (Silene latifolia ssp. alba)

white clover (Trifolium repens)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima var. altissima)

wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

wild mint (Mentha arvensis)

wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)

winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

winter vetch (Vicia villosa ssp. villosa)

wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca ssp. americana)

woolly plantain (Plantago patagonica)

yellow goat’s beard (Tragopogon dubius)

yellow star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta)

yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis)

yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)


Acer negundo var. negundo (boxelder)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Actaea sp. (baneberry)

Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Ambrosia trifida var. trifida (giant ragweed)

Amelanchier arborea (downy serviceberry)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Amphicarpaea bracteata var. bracteata (American hog peanut)

Anemone canadensis (Canada anemone)

Antennaria neglecta (field pussytoes)

Antennaria parlinii (Parlin’s pussytoes)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. lyrata (lyre-leaved rock cress)

Arctium minus (common burdock)

Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata (field sagewort)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior (butterfly weed)

Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)

Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum (northern lady fern)

Berteroa incana (hoary alyssum)

Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera (paper birch)

Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)

Campanula rotundifolia (harebell)

Cannabis sativa (marijuana)

Carduus nutans (musk thistle)

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)

Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)

Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)

Coreopsis palmata (prairie coreopsis)

Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood)

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)

Corylus americana (American hazel)

Crepis tectorum (narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard)

Cryptotaenia canadensis (Canadian honewort)

Cyperus lupulinus ssp. lupulinus (Great Plains flat sedge)

Desmodium canadense (Canadian tick-trefoil)

Desmodium glutinosum (pointed-leaved tick-trefoil)

Erigeron annuus (annual fleabane)

Erigeron strigosus (prairie fleabane)

Euphorbia virgata (leafy spurge)

Fallopia convolvulus (black bindweed)

Galium aparine (cleavers)

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw)

Galium triflorum (fragrant bedstraw)

Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy)

Helianthemum bicknellii (hoary frostweed)

Hesperis matronalis (dame’s rocket)

Hesperostipa spartea (porcupine grass)

Heterotheca villosa (hairy false goldenaster)

Hieracium umbellatum (narrow-leaved hawkweed)

Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Koeleria macrantha (June grass)

Laportea canadensis (Canadian woodnettle)

Leonurus cardiaca ssp. cardiaca (common motherwort)

Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy)

Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon)

Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum (hairy puccoon)

Lonicera morrowii (Morrow’s honeysuckle)

Lotus corniculatus var. corniculatus (bird’s-foot trefoil)

Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)

Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum (common false Solomon’s seal)

Medicago lupulina (black medick)

Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)

Mirabilis nyctaginea (heart-leaved four o’clock)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Osmorhiza claytonii (bland sweet cicely)

Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana (ironwood)

Penstemon grandiflorus (large-flowered beardtongue)

Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida (downy phlox)

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine)

Plantago major (common plantain)

Plantago rugelii var. rugelii (black-seeded plantain)

Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera (plains cottonwood)

Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Ratibida pinnata (gray-headed coneflower)

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry)

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (American red raspberry)

Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Sanicula marilandica (Maryland black snakeroot)

Scrophularia lanceolata (early figwort)

Securigera varia (crown vetch)

Silene csereii (Balkan catchfly)

Stellaria media ssp. media (common chickweed)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow rue)

Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Tradescantia bracteata (bracted spiderwort)

Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)

Ulmus americana (American elm)

Uvularia grandiflora (large-flowered bellwort)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Verbena stricta (hoary vervain)

Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root)

Vicia americana ssp. americana (American vetch)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)

Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescens (prairie larkspur)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Rubus recurvans (recurved blackberry)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Hedeoma hispida (rough false pennyroyal)

Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)

Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)

Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm)

Symphyotrichum sericeum (silky aster)

Penstemon gracilis var. gracilis (slender beardtongue)

Salix petiolaris (slender willow)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome)

Equisetum laevigatum (smooth scouring rush)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Solidago rigida ssp. rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (stinging nettle)

Drymocallis arguta (tall cinquefoil)

Anemone virginiana (tall thimbleweed)

Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)

Turritis glabra (tower mustard)

Krigia biflora (twoflower dwarfdandelion)

Smilax ecirrhata (upright carrionflower)

Lathyrus venosus (veiny pea)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Lepidium virginicum var. virginicum (Virginia pepper grass)

Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum (Virginia waterleaf)

Lithospermum occidentale (western marbleseed)

Toxicodendron rydbergii (western poison ivy)

Ambrosia psilostachya (western ragweed)

Silene latifolia ssp. alba (white campion)

Trifolium repens (white clover)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Ageratina altissima var. altissima (white snakeroot)

Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

Mentha arvensis (wild mint)

Dioscorea villosa (wild yam)

Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress)

Vicia villosa ssp. villosa (winter vetch)

Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia (wood anemone)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Fragaria vesca ssp. americana (woodland strawberry)

Plantago patagonica (woolly plantain)

Tragopogon dubius (yellow goat’s beard)

Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass)

Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)

Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)

Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod)

alsike clover

American hazel

American vetch

black bindweed

black raspberry

black-eyed susan

bracted spiderwort

bur oak

Canada anemone

Canadian tick-trefoil

common blue violet

common evening primrose

common mullein

common St. Johnswort

common yarrow

dame’s rocket

early meadow rue

field pussytoes

gray dogwood

hairy puccoon

hairy puccoon

large-flowered bellwort


musk thistle

northern bedstraw

oxeye daisy

prairie coreopsis

prairie rose

red clover

rough-fruited cinquefoil

silky aster

smooth scouring rush

tall cinquefoil

upright carrionflower

Virginia waterleaf

white clover

wild geranium

wild mint

wood anemone

woolly plantain

yellow wood sorrel





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