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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.
As others have stated, the trail is definitely neglected and very rough in some places but the scenery is beautiful. The most negative thing about the trail is that NO ONE has their dogs leashed. I passed SIX unleashed dogs. On a bike, it's not easy to get out of the way of a dog that may dart out- dangerous for me and the dog. Very disappointed in the dog owners sharing the trail.
If you want to ride this, do it from North to South. The poor condition of the trail in the woods will be all down hill. If you choose the South to North, buckle down and go straight up the VERY steep trail to the left after passing the Fort Snelling visitors center building.before you start the woods trail.
This used to be a very good trail. Rode on it once this summer and were amazed at how bad it is. It seems that all maintenance on the trail must have stopped for at least a few years. Some areas are actually hazardous to ride on. I will no longer ride on this trail unless they completely repave it. Don't waste your time.
The fort road is now open . All the way to visitor center .
The fort side of this trail is still closed from the flooding .
Lots of shade, pretty scenery, and good eating at Sea Salt restaurant.
This was my first time on this trail and I was so pleased. The hill coming down from Fort Snelling was a bit unnerving, but I took it slow and everything was fine. I'd hate to climb that so I think this will be a one way trail in my catalog. I did not encounter a soul on my trip except when I was at Minnehaha park. It's a really fantastic trail. Nice and cool to ride during the hot summer. Bonus, it leads you to some great historic sites and the light rail so you can jaunt into downtown to see some more.
I have had the good fortune of riding on this trail for the past 20 years. In its many incarnations, one thing has remained constant, it is the ultimate quick urban getaway. You will follow a meandering creek from Minnehaha falls, one of the inspirations for the "Song of Hiawatha". The path is not for fast riders, on a training ride, as people of all skills and ages ride on it. On nice weekends you will run into families and lots of small children. There is ongoing construction under 35W but there are well posted detour routes. The first 2.5 miles go through city parks and old gentrified neighborhoods, then you will run into some construction. Past 35 W you go through some open green space then crossing a busy street, a nice surprise awaits you! You go into a ravine, where you will see giant cottonwoods, elm and maple trees all forming a cool canopy! for about .75 miles you will forget you are in a major metropolitan area! Coming out of the ravine area, you cross a few more streets where the trail connects with Lake Harriet, part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes! The whole trail is about 5.5 miles long and is considered part of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds.
"This trail has just been redone in 2002 (two two-block portions are still being worked on, but can be bypassed) and the reconstruction was well-planned from the start of the trail in Fort Snelling, curving through the busy Minnehaha Park, and crossing over the new bridge to the creek trail into the Minneapolis Lake District. Few, if any, cities can boast of such an extensive multiple use trail. The ride is smooth, twisting at times, varied, and usually busy with bike and rollerblade traffic. If you haven't spent some time with the trail view of the lake district, you've missed one of the country's prettiest city landscapes."
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