Minnehaha Trail connects two popular parks in the Twin Cities as it follows the course of the Mississippi River through a corridor that is a mix of woodland and open areas.
At the trail’s southern end, in Saint Paul, is Fort Snelling State Park, which offers many recreational opportunities, including canoeing, swimming, and fishing, as well as trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. At the trail’s northern end, in Minneapolis, is the 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, one of the city’s most stunning, must-see natural features. The surrounding Minnehaha Regional Park is also beautiful, with limestone bluffs and river overlooks.
The northern end of the Minnehaha Trail is within blocks of three major trails: the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System that encircles the Twin Cities and includes two trails that head into the heart of downtown; the Hiawatha Trail’s southern trailhead, which is just two blocks to the west along Minnehaha Parkway; and the West River Parkway’s southern terminus, which begins at the eastern end of Godfrey Parkway/West River Parkway and skirts along the northern boundary of Minnehaha Falls for a few blocks to the entrance to Lock and Dam No. 1 (small parking lot) on the Mississippi River.
As the trail exits Minnehaha Falls, it follows a wooded corridor along the bluff line above the Mississippi River, offering frequent views of the channel below. It comes into Fort Snelling State Park just north of the visitor center and blends into the Snelling Lake Trail, one of many trails that weave through the park. The Minnehaha Trail ends at the park’s south entrance.
Yet another trail spur at the south end of the Minnehaha Regional Park segment of the trail crosses the MN 55 bridge into Mendota, where trail users can pick up the Big Rivers Regional Trail.
Two Nice Ride bike-rental stations are located along this trail: one near the Coldwater Spring section of the trail at Minnehaha Falls and one at the visitor center in Fort Snelling State Park.
To reach southern parking near Fort Snelling State Park, take I-94 to Exit 237. Head south on Cretin Ave. N., and go 2.5 miles. Turn left onto W. Highland Pkwy., and in 0.3 mile turn right onto Cleveland Ave. S. Go 1.4 miles, and turn left onto Mississippi River Blvd. S. In 0.4 mile turn left onto the ramp for MN 5 W. In 2 miles, take the Post Road exit. Turn left onto Post Road; parking will be on the right in 0.5 mile.
Additional parking can be found along S. Minnehaha Drive south of the John H. Stevens House, along S. Minnehaha Drive farther south near where it intersects Minnehaha Ave., along Hiawatha Ave. near where it intersects with E. 54th St., and just off Godfrey Pkwy./W. River Pkwy. at the entrance to Lock and Dam No. 1.
The Wabun Picnic Area at Minnehaha Regional Park also has ample parking and facilities. Take I-94 to Exit 237. Head south on Cretin Ave. N., and go 2.6 miles. Turn right onto Ford Pkwy., and in 0.8 mile turn left onto 46th Ave. S. In 0.2 mile turn left into the picnic area.