The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is a federally protected system of riverways located in eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin
. It protects 252 miles (406 km) of river, including the St. Croix River (on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border), and the Namekagon River
(in Wisconsin), as well as adjacent land along the rivers. The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is one of the original eight National Wild and Scenic Rivers, largely as a result of legislation by Senator Walter Mondale (MN) and moreso by Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI). The largest scenic riverway east of the Mississippi River, it lies within parts of eight counties in Wisconsin: Bayfield
, Burnett, Douglas, Pierce, Polk, St. Croix, Sawyer, and Washburn
; and three in Minnesota: Chisago, Pine, and Washington.
The upper St. Croix is a nationally renowned smallmouth bass fishery. Other fish species present in the riverway include walleye, northern pike, sturgeon, muskellunge, and catfish. The Namekagon River upstream of Hayward
, Wisconsin is well known for its brown and brook trout fishing. Besides fishing, the riverway is a popular destination for canoeing, boating, camping, tubing, and hunting. Camping is provided at two National Park Service-designated sites, at state parks along the river, and, in certain sections, anywhere users wish to camp. The riverway also includes numerous hiking trails, some of which are designated in winter for cross-country skiing.