Minnehaha Regional Park
Minneapolis, MN (44.91729, -93.21152)
Length: 2.1 miles
Difficulty: 2/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: July 2012
Overview: An urban hike featuring famous
. Minnehaha Falls
Park Information: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/parks__lakes/minnehaha_regional_park/
Hike Route Map: https://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=724037
Directions to the trailhead: Southeast of downtown
Minneapolis, take SR 55 ( Hiawatha Avenue) to 46th Street. Head east on 46th St. Take 46th St. 2 blocks to Minnehaha Avenue and turn right on Minnehaha Ave. Take Minnehaha Ave. to the Godfrey Street traffic circle and enter east (left) on Godfrey Street. Park in one of the large parking lots on either side of Godfrey Street. There is no park entrance fee, but the parking lots require feeding a parking meter.
The hike: The idea for
started with George Brackett, the state of Minnehaha Park Minnesota, and the newly-created Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners in the mid 1880’s. At that time, New York state was the only state to operate a park, and was located well outside the city limits of Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis. When the state legislature failed to come up with the promised funds to buy the land, Brackett personally signed a $100,000 promissory note and gave the money to the state for the land purchase. In 1889, the dedication of marked the creation of one of the first state parks in the Minnehaha State Park United States. The name Minnehaha comes from the Dakota Indian word for “waterfall.”
Although it bore the state’s name, the city of
Minneapolis performed all required tasks to maintain and operate the park. In 1906, the land officially became part of , owned and operated by the city. Depression era work programs put in months of labor to build park facilities, and much of their work can still be seen today. Mississippi Park
Many picnic areas and other structures have been added since the Depression, but 53-foot Minnehaha Falls remains the 193-acre park’s centerpiece. The falls can be seen from an overlook on a park road, but the best view of the waterfall will be gained by hiking to its base. The hike described here takes you to the base of the falls and then tours the glen below the falls, a green oasis in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
From the parking lots along
Godfrey Street, walk southwest past the picnic shelters and pavilion to a blacktop road with a stone wall at its opposite side. This road is closed to vehicle traffic, and the stone wall provides the topside overlook of . With enough water, the 53-foot ledge-type waterfall is very impressive: a large column of water takes a single drop into a large plunge pool with horseshoe-shaped glen. Minnehaha Falls
|Minnehaha Falls, as seen from roadside overlook|
|Minnehaha Falls, as seen from base|
|Boardwalk through glen below waterfall|
1 mile into the hike, you reach the final bridge over Minnehaha Creek just before the creek empties into the
Mississippi River. The trail crosses the bridge to arrive at a sandy area along the river. From this point on the outside of an eastward bend, great views can be had both up and down the river.
|Mississippi River, looking downstream|
At 1.7 miles, leave the creekside behind and angle right to begin the moderate ascent out of the glen. About half way up the hill, the gravel trail joins the blacktop trail that leads to the wading spot you passed on your way down the glen. After climbing out of the glen, continue straight on the paved park road, following signs for
Godfrey Street. A deep hollow now lies to your left. At 2 miles, you arrive at Godfrey Street with the large parking lots, one of which contains your car, to the left, thus signaling the end of the hike.