Minnehaha Park is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Each season offers different landscapes and activities, but no matter what the time of year, the park is always popular. Residents and visitors from Minneapolis and St. Paul come here to relax with a picnic, and swim and walk in spring, autumn or summer. In winter the waterfall freezes and the trees are covered in snow, drastically changing the scenery and range of activities.
The native Dakota people inhabited this area for centuries before it became a park. The name Minnehaha means “falling water” in the Dakota language. European settlers discovered the waterfall here around 1820 and it featured in a 1855 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who had seen images of it. The waterfall is still a big feature today, cascading down 53 feet (16 meters) of rock in summer and freezing up into stagnant icicles in winter.
Hike along the crisscrossing trails that cover the park. A nice option is to wander down towards the junction of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River. There is a small, sandy beach here that provides a spot to rest and watch the river flow by.
Rent bikes inside the park for a small fee and cover more of the area. The wading pool and picnic areas at nearby Wabun are fun places in spring and summer. There are toilets and change rooms located near the pool.
Bring the children to one of the large playgrounds with plenty of equipment to enjoy year-round. Listen to jazz, Latin, rock and folk music at free concerts held during summer weekends. Bring sleds if you visit after snowfall, as there are some good slopes around.
Minnehaha Park is located just above the sharp river bend between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Entry to the park is free and there is plenty of spaces to park for a fee, or free.