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Driving Directions to Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley

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Better Place Forests creates and maintains conservation memorial forests for people who choose cremation and don’t want their ashes to end up in a traditional cemetery.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely preparing to visit the St. Croix Valley Forest. In this post, we’ll explain how to get to the forest and share our local recommendations.

Please save these directions before heading to the forest as cell phone service may be unreliable.


Forest Address


12630 Lakamaga Trail N, Scandia, MN 55047

Most people use Google Maps to get to the forest. Below is the link to the exact forest location.

Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley (Google Maps)

Directions from the West, South, North

  1. Take I-35 to Highway 97 (2 miles south of Forest Lake)
  2. Exit Highway 97 and follow east to Lofton Ave N (about 8.5 miles)
  3. Turn right (south) onto Lofton Ave N (.25 miles) and turn right onto Maxwill Ave.
  4. Once on Maxwill Ave., go about 1.25 miles to a stop sign
  5. Turn left onto Lakamaga Trail, and drive 0.4 miles
  6. The entrance to Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley will be on your left

Directions from the East

  1. Take Highway 95 north from Stillwater (or north on Highway 95 from I-94 near the Hudson Bridge) to Highway 96 (near Scandia)
  2. Take Highway 97 west 4.5 miles to Lofton Ave N.
  3. Turn left (south) onto Lofton Ave N, and turn right onto Maxwill Ave.
  4. Once on Maxwill Ave, go about 1.25 miles to a stop sign
  5. Turn left onto Lakamaga Trail, and drive 0.4 miles
  6. The entrance to Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley will be on your left

Important Tips

  • The forest is incredibly peaceful, but cell phone service can be unreliable.
  • We recommend wearing sneakers or hiking boots and bringing a jacket. We have walking sticks, hand-warmers, and umbrellas in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • Please save these directions as service on the way to the forest may be unreliable.



You’re sure to rest easy in one of these nearby accommodations. 

  • Rivertown Inn: Located just three blocks from historic downtown Stillwater, the Rivertown Inn boasts elegant furnishing and antiques. Built in 1884, the bed and breakfast is a restored lumber baron mansion offering a full-service, first-class venue.  
  • Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack: This hotel is in Forest Lake, a 19-minute drive from Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley. The Scandinavian design gives it a cozy feel while providing modern amenities like free Wi-Fi, room service, gym, indoor pool, and a hotel bar. Enjoy the casino, racing, live comedy shows, or a Sunday Brunch Bingo game during your visit.
  • Country Inn & Suites: Also located in Forest Lake, this hotel property is owned by Radisson and has everything you need for a convenient and comfortable stay, including in-room refrigerators and microwaves. 



Grab a bite at one of these local favorites.

  • Meister’s: Located in downtown Scandia, Meister’s is just a 6-minute drive from Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley. Since 1959, Meister’s has been serving tasty comfort food like hand-battered walleye, cheese curds, and their famous Meisterburger.
  • Rustic Roots Winery: After a visit to our forest, take an 8-minute drive to this lovely local winery and unwind with a glass of wine or cider. Pair your vino with a seasonal flatbread, cheeseboard, or strawberry and feta salad. 
  • Nelson’s Ice Cream: You don’t want to miss out on a scoop or two of Nelson’s delicious confections when you are in the area. This family-owned and operated ice creamery has an almost 100-year history in the Stillwater area.

Things To Do


There’s something fun to do for all members of the family in this beautiful region of Minnesota. 

  • Historic downtown Stillwater: One of America’s most beautiful small towns, Stillwater is considered to be the birthplace of Minnesota. In 1848 the first convention to establish Minnesota as a state was held in Stillwater, and soon Stillwater became a busy lumber hub that brought railroads, steamships, gas lights, and prosperity to the town. Stroll down historic main street and pop into one of the 100+ shops and restaurants, or get some exercise by walking up and down one of Stillwater’s five sets of historic staircases. Don’t miss the Historic Lift Bridge — one of only three lift bridges remaining in the US today! 
  • Big Marine Lake Park Reserve: Located just a 12-minute drive from our forest, Big Marine Park Reserve is on the southern shores of Big Marine Lake. The park is known for its excellent natural resource features, including high-quality upland and wetland wildlife habitat. The park opened in 2008 and, when completed, will be 1,800 acres, with 80% of it reserved for preservation and protection. Take your swimming trunks and a picnic lunch, and enjoy the beach, playground, and hiking trails. Parking is free on Tuesdays, $7 the rest of the week. 
  • William O’Brien State Park: Another beautiful park just 10 minutes from our forest, this 1,520-acre state park on the banks of the St. Croix River offers many things to see and do including camping, fishing, canoeing, cross-country skiing, and bird watching. Watch for wildlife like minks, beavers, woodchucks, white-tail deer, and a variety of woodland creatures living along the riverbanks, upland meadows, and among the trees in the woods. 
  • Gammelgarden Museum: Learn about the Swedish heritage so prevalent in Minnesota at this open-air museum devoted to preserving and sharing the Swedish immigrant history. Just a 5-minute drive from our forest, it’s well worth dropping by and taking a tour or a Swedish language lesson.  
  • Theatres, Live Music, and Nightlife: Make sure to save some energy after a day of exploring because there are many fun things to do at night in St. Croix Valley! See a play at The Zephyr Theatre, listen to live music at one of the 14 music venues in Stillwater, or grab a cocktail at one of the many bars, taverns, and distilleries throughout the valley


Contact Information


If you have questions leading up to your tour, you can reach our team directly at:

Phone/Text: 415-851-7138

Email: [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you in the forest soon!

All forest visits require a reservation. If you haven’t made one yet, please reach out to our support team to schedule yours today.


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