Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Saint Paul

3.8
#8 of 9 in Outdoors in Saint Paul
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area protects a 72-mile (116 km) and 54,000-acre (22,000 ha) corridor along the Mississippi River from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey, Minnesota to just downstream of Hastings, Minnesota. This includes the stretch of Mississippi River which flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. This stretch of the upper Mississippi River includes natural, historical, recreational, cultural, scenic, scientific, and economic resources of national significance. This is the only national park dedicated exclusively to the Mississippi River. It is located in parts of Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties, all within the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area.

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a long name and therefore is frequently referred to as MNRRA (often pronounced like "minnra") or MISS (the four letter code assigned to the park by the National Park Service).

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS) was established in 1988 as a new unique type of National Park known as a partnership park. Unlike traditional national parks, MISS is not a major land owner and therefore does not have control over land use. MISS works with dozens of "partners" (local, state, and federal governments, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals) who own land along the river or who have an interest in the Mississippi River to achieve the National Park Service's mission to protect and preserve for future generations.

Some of the most prominent attractions within the park include the St. Anthony Falls Historic District (including Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, the Stone Arch Bridge, and Mill Ruins Park), the Historic Fort Snelling and the adjacent Fort Snelling State Park, Minnehaha Falls, and the rustic Winchell Trail. There are many additional attractions, trails, and programs all within the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area.

As of 2016 MNRRA has two visitor centers, one located inside the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN and the other at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam in Minneapolis, both of which are staffed by National Park Rangers. The Minneapolis visitor center offers three free tours daily of the Upper St. Anthony Lock and surrounding area.

Each year, the rangers manage community activities, including interpretive sessions, bike rides, and movies, that help to educate the local community about the natural and human history of the area.
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Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
20 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • While in St. Paul we were looking for a walking trail ans discovered the Mississippi River Gorge. Who knew that the famous river extended into Minnesota! There is a wonderful series of paths and...  more »
  • This is a cool national park describing the history of the Mississippi River and its relationship to the growth of these cities. We went to St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center and took a fascinating...  more »
Google
  • Currently the Science Center is undergoing renovations, which is where the visitor center was located. They have a temporary visitor center set up by Saint Anthony Lock and Dam. If you park near Mill Park or Mill City Museum and walk towards the Lock and Dam site they have signs pointing you in the right direction. We loved seeing St. Anthony Falls and got a lot of useful information from the ranger up on the observation deck. Lots of great pictures and I got my National Park Passport book stamped!
  • A wonderful park to visit and explore. Multiple play areas and pavilions with walking paths. When you visit the first time stop in at the visitor center, and cross the dam to the other side before leaving. If you think that you will be back again stop at the gate before leaving to purchase a yearly pass. The yearly pass is actually good in multiple other countries making it an even better value.

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