• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area


    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers

Ford Bridge (river mile 848) downstream to Fort Snelling and the 35E bridge (river mile 843.3).

These five miles of river are home to some of the most historically important sites in the state.

Trails in this segment of the river are extensive and offer connections to over 20 miles of interconnected trails that take you to the sandy edge of the river or look down from the bluffs above. Bridges are at Ford Parkway (river mile 848), Highway 5 (river mile 845.6), and Sibley Memorial Highway (Minnesota River mile 1.5). Continuing downstream, gaps on the west bank start just past 35E and on the east bank of the river snarl on Shepard Road. There are no riverside bridges between Pike Island and the Wabasha St. Bridge at river mile 839.5 in downtown St. Paul.

For more information call:St. Paul Parks and Recreation at (651) 266-6400, Dakota County Parks (651) 438-4671.
Trail Notes and Gaps:
  1. TheHighway 5 Bridge connects Fort Snelling State Park with HiddenFalls/Crosby Farm Regional Park. On both sides a short staircase withbike gutters drops down to the walkway. On the Fort Snelling side thestaircase is located at the back of a small parking lot between theHistoric Fort and the History Center—look for the bike route signs. TheFort Snelling Historic Site and Fort Snelling State Park are twoseparate attractions.
  2. TheHistoric Fort is located off Highway 55 and the State Park entrance islocated off Post Road and Highway 5. A steep path that descends fromthe Historic Fort’s bluffs to the State Park Visitor Center connectsthe two. There is an entrance fee for the state park and a separate feeto tour the Historic Fort.
  3. A 3.2-mile hiking-only trailcircles Pike Island, site of treaties with the Dakota that allowed theestablishment of Fort Snelling.
  4. A half-mile walkway on the Mendota/Highway 55 Bridge connects Fort Snelling State Park with the Big Rivers Regional Trail. On the Fort Snelling side of the bridge a partially paved path leads south from the Historic Fort to the bridge. On the Mendota side of the bridge you must cross Sibley Memorial Highway. A sidewalk veers away from the bridge walkway toward Mendota. You can cross the highway here, or continue a half-mile along Sibley Memorial Highway into Mendota and cross at D Street. Use caution when crossing the highway.
  5. The Mendota trail, within Fort Snelling State Park, is a gravel trail accessible only from the Sibley House Historic Site. There is parking south of the site off Sibley Memorial Highway. Follow D Street past the Sibley House and go under the railroad trestle. The 5.8-mile trail follows the Minnesota River, making it a secluded trail with beautiful views of the river and wildlife. At times the trail can be muddy, if not completely washed out. At the southern end the Cedar Avenue Bike Ramp connects this trail to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
  6. The trailcomes to a "T" near the southern end of the Big Rivers Regional Trail.The path that continues southeast connects to Pilot Knob Road and bikeways throughout Dakota County. The path that continues north travels through Mendota and toward the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The path that turns south crosses Sibley Memorial Highway and connects to the southern trailhead/parking lot.


Did You Know?

Mississippi River Watershed

The Mississippi River Basin, or watershed, drains 41% of the continental United States including 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces.