The river flows south and southwest below the dam at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. After first passing through the rocky, cliff-enclosed narrows in Interstate State Park, the river broadens out and slows down. This section is then characterized by numerous channels, sandbars, marshes, and back waters. The Arcola Sandbar at the southern end of the section blocks the big boats of the lower part of the river from going farther north. North of the sandbar, the river craft are canoes, kayaks, small fishing boats, and pontoons. The exceptional big craft are the river boats that give tours through the narrow defile at Taylor's Falls, Minnesota.

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. . . . The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. . . . and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

          — Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows