Skip to main content

St. Croix River cliff jumping: Popular, dangerous, illegal


Following the death of a 20-year-old this week, officials are warning young daredevils that cliff jumping into the St. Croix River is dangerous – and prohibited by law.

“Cliff jumping is illegal,” and divers risk a ticket from the National Park Service, one official told the Star Tribune.

Officials on Tuesday found the body of 20-year-old Alex Vitalis in an underwater crevasse of the rock face that he had leapt from, FOX 9 reported. Vitalis was a former high school swim team athlete, the Star Tribune noted. He had jumped into 41-foot water from a rock ledge on the Wisconsin side of the river near Taylors Falls, FOX reported.

Cliff jumping is a popular summer sport in the area, especially with young thrill seekers lured to the picturesque rock walls that line the river, rising 200 feet in some spots, WCCO reports. The station notes that generations of youths have leapt from the cliffs – today's young jumpers often video the feats and promptly post them to social media.

The murky water poses lots of submerged dangers, officials say. A number of people have died cliff jumping into the St. Croix over the years, including a 26-year-old St. Paul man two years ago.

Cliff jumping has been outlawed more than a decade, WCCO notes. Why risk the danger – and a citation? "Adrenaline," one young local said, telling WCCO he won't cliff jump anymore.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.


Teenage boy dies cliff-jumping at popular Duluth swimming spot

Another tragic accident happens at "The Deeps."

Obama signs St. Croix River bridge bill

President Barack Obama signed the bill authorizing a $690 million bridge near Stillwater. He signed it over the objections of some federal officials who worry exempting the St. Croix from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sets a bad precedent.