Minnehaha Falls

Tucked within the network of city streets and freeways in Minneapolis one of the most precious city jewels can be found at Minnehaha Falls. This Minnesota Parks urban situation remains unmarred by city development as it snakes languidly through Minneapolis on route to the Mississippi River. Though so close to urban activity Minnehaha Park makes you feel as if you're a million miles away from the hectic bustle, much like Lake Calhoun.

The park is home to the famous Minnehaha Falls, the centerpiece of the park, where you realize how precious the undeveloped panorama is. The extreme contrast of green landscape surrounded by busy freeways and towering skyscrapers lends to the realization of just how important Minnehaha Falls Park is.

Minnehaha Park is an outdoor adventure with many things to do within 170 sprawling acres. Between Minnehaha Falls and the river a beautiful park unfolds in natural beauty. The park is a family favorite where picnics are popular pastimes. There are snack bars, picnic tables, public grills, a playground and information kiosks.

From Minnehaha Park make your way over this Minnesota parks main attraction, the waterfall. The falls span 53 feet high and spill in from Minnehaha Creek. Terrific views are a few steps away on the bridge above the falls. On both sides there are trails leading down into the gorge to a second bridge situated below the waterfall. Continuing along the creek the trail makes for excellent hiking but note it's not that great for small children.

During a hike around the Minnesota parks creek you'll be surrounded by streams, springs, marshes and oak savannas. Many people enjoy kayaking along the creek in optimal conditions. Fishing is also an option in designated areas. The historic trail provides a glimpse into the history of pre-settlement days and what the natural area once looked like. Many people go mountain biking on warmer days and others take their canoes for a lazy paddle down the river. During a visit to Minnehaha Falls Park you'll be able to see wildlife such as the black-crowned heron and many other wild birds.

If your hankering for a challenging game of Minnesota golf, walk across Minnehaha Park to the Highland Park Golf Course. The initial nine holes of the course opened in 1928 and the second nine were added a year afterwards. Undulating greens and small trees are featured throughout, complimented by a twisting creek through the center the course. The longest yard is 6200 feet.

Though camping isn't permitted inside the park there is plenty that makes up for it. Formal gardens are a treat to tour. There are also four staircases, made of native stone, that make their way from higher terrain to different spots along the bottom of the creek. Here they meet with a trail that leads to its convergence with the river. The river is across from Hidden Falls Park in St Paul.

An example of a pioneer home can be seen when visiting the John Stevens House, one of the original Minneapolis homes, inside Minnehaha Falls Park. Tours are available on the weekends. In the winter months blankets of snow and ice create a stunning vision at Minnehaha Falls. Transportation to the falls via skiing is permitted and the trip is even more majestic when icicles hang precariously from tree branches and the snow falls softly. No matter which time of year you choose to go, the Minnehaha Falls magic always shines through.

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