• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area


    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Coldwater Spring Restoration Project

Coldwater Spring
Coldwater Spring is officially open to the public! Since mid-April National Park Service staff, Youth Conservation Corps members, and hundreds of volunteers have been hard at work removing invasive species such as Common Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard, seeding prairies, and planting wetland plants. Currently, 12 acres of prairie and about 1 acre of wetland have been seeded. On September 29th, as part of National Public Lands Day, over 200 volunteers helped plant more than 1,000 trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. As of October, 125 native plant species have been seeded or planted at Coldwater Spring in just the last four months (Plantings Table, PDF). Many of the wetland, prairie and shrub plants were chosen for their wildlife value. Sedges and rushes in the wetlands provide food for waterfowl. Many of the wildflowers are a nectar source for butterflies and bees. The shrubs and grasses provide nesting habitat and cover for birds. In early September over 500 fish were added to the reservoir. White suckers and fathead minnows will help control the algae growth. Recent wildlife sightings at the site have included bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, red foxes, fox snakes, white-tailed deer, woodchucks, and a variety of songbirds and butterflies.

What you need to know

Address & Directions:

5601 Minnehaha Park Drive South, Fort Snelling, MN 55111
From Highway 55, turn east onto 54th Street and then take an immediate right onto Minnehaha Park Drive South. Drive to the end of the road, and you will come to what appears to be a circular cul du sac. Continue through this and to your left you will see the entrance sign for Coldwater Spring. From Minnehaha Park, go south on South Minnehaha Drive to the south end of the park. Take a left on Minnehaha Park Drive South before just before the stoplight 54th Street and Highway 55. Follow the directions above from this point.


There is a small, gravel parking lot with 10 parking spaces, including two handicap stalls. These spaces are for those specifically visiting the Coldwater Spring unit and use is limited to two hours.


A handicap accessible gravel trail leads from the parking lot to Coldwater Spring and Reservoir. The distance is just under a quarter-mile. The trail continues to the property's southern end, but this stretch has a coarser gravel surface. A number of informal trails lead into and out of the property.


6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Official Rules and Regulations:

See the Superintendent's Compendium

Coldwater Spring Water - Access and Use:

The spring water flows from an outlet in the southwest corner. The Minnesota Department of Health and the National Park Service do not recommend drinking the water.

Continuing Restoration and Volunteering:

The National Park Service, its partners and volunteers will be working this fall and for many years to come on restoring the land. We will be planting hundreds of trees, removing invasive species, and nurturing wetlands. Learn about volunteer opportunities.


For more information contact:
Alan Robbins-Fenger
(651) 293-8438


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