The Coon Rapids Regional Park is centered around the Coon Rapids Dam on both sides of the Mississippi River. There are visitor centers on both sides of the dam, but this narrative will concern itself with only the east side.
The Coon Rapids Dam was built in 1913 by the Northern Mississippi Power Company. It took about a thousand workers just a little over one year to complete the entire dam system. During construction, a small town grew up on the Anoka County side of the river, complete with barracks, hospitals, fire stations and even dance halls.
Some of the best bird watching in the metro area can be found in this park. An extensive trail system offers skiing/snowshoeing, bicycle riding, and walking. There are ten kilometers of relatively level ski trails. Cross-country skis and snowshoe rentals are available at the visitor center; call for fee information.
There are also shore fishing locations within the park on the Mississippi River. Fishing from shore below the dam yields fish of several different species and is a very popular fishing spot. Cenaiko Lake holds fish of several species, including trout. A fishing license is required of those 16 years of age and older and a trout stamp is needed when fishing Cenaiko Lake.
Prairie restorations dot the landscape and picnicking is a popular activity.
Hours, Directions, and Contact Information
Last updated: March 10, 2021