Audio Tours of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Ranger On Call - full size - logos removed - resized
Ranger on Call is an audio tour of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
 
Ranger On Call station sign at Coldwater Spring site
What is Ranger on Call?
Ranger on Call is a self-guided audio tour of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. There are six tour locations that take you to some of the most scenic and historic spots in the national park. Follow the river to follow the story of this iconic place that has been a home, a highway, and a lifeline for thousands of years. If you are unable to visit the Mississippi National River and Recreation area, you can explore the river virtually on this, and other, pages.
 
Ranger On Call station and sign at the Science Museum of Minnesota and Mississippi River Visitor Center
All Walking, Some Bicycling
All the tours are walkable while some are designed to explore by bike. Walking tours are accessible year round and are located at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, Coldwater Spring, and the Hastings riverfront. Biking tour signage is posted from late spring to early fall and are located in downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul, and Fort Snelling. If you would like to do the biking tours during the off season visit rangeroncall.com for detailed maps and calling information.
 
RangerOnCall_tour-map_Coldwater-Spring
How do I Use Ranger on Call?
A map of each tour and the associated stations can be found on the Ranger On Call website. Tour maps look like the example of the Coldwater Spring tour map on the right. For this site, you could locate the station near the Parking Lot titled "Welcome To Coldwater", station 20. To access the ranger story you would call 1-877-727-1172, after a brief introduction, you would enter the two digit station ID (20) to hear the story for that location. Using the map as your guide, you would then proceed to the the next station before once again calling the Ranger On Call number and entering the two digit station ID. Although being on site will certainly enrich the story experience, you can call the audio tour number for any location at anytime or hear any of the stories (without a phone) at rangeroncall.com.
 
Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary
Bruce Vento Walking Tour
Just minutes from the heart of Saint Paul you can find towering bluffs, spring-fed wetlands, and a restored prairie. The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary offers an escape from the city concrete and offers folks the story of a changing Minnesota.

  • Trail Condition: mostly level
  • Total Distance: 0.95 miles
  • Total Walk Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Number of Stops: 3 stops
Note: Bicycles may not be ridden through Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. Bicycle racks are available near the parking lot.
 
Coldwater Spring
Coldwater Spring Walking Tour
For centuries, Coldwater Spring has played an important role in the lives of people living along the Mississippi River. Today, it's a national park boasting restored oak savanna and prairie. Take a walk and learn about its important place in Minnesota history.

  • Trail conditions: Mostly level
  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Walk time: about 30 minutes
  • Total number of stops: 5
Note: Bicycles may not be ridden through the Coldwater Spring site. Bicycle racks are available near the parking lot.
 
A river flows under an old bridge surrounded by city.
Downtown Minneapolis Bicycle or Walking Tour
Home to the only waterfall on the Mississippi River, you'll find the view of Saint Anthony Falls from the Stone Arch Bridge breathtaking. Explore this iconic spot nestled below the downtown skyline, and learn why Minneapolis used to be called the Mill City.

  • Trail Condition: flat
  • Total Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Total Bike Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Walk Time: 1 hour & 30 minutes
  • Total Number of Stops: 4 stops
Note: If you do not own a bicycle or do not wish to bring your bicycle to complete this tour, Nice Ride Minnesota bicycles are available for rent at each of the stations along this tour from late spring to late fall. To bike this route from late fall to early spring, you would need to acquire a bicycle.The station signs for this tour are attached to the Nice Ride Minnesota bicycle rental kiosks. During Nice Ride Minnesota's off season, there will be no station signage available for this tour. However, a map can be printed from or viewed on the Ranger On Call website showing approximately locations to call from to enrich the story being told.
 
Downtown Saint Paul
Downtown Bicycling or Walking Tour
The Mississippi River flows 2,320 miles—Harriet Island is a lovely place to learn about it. If you want to talk to a real park ranger, stop by the Mississippi River Visitor Center in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota—it's free!

  • Trail Condition: hilly
  • Total Distance: 4 miles
  • Total Bike Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Walk Time: 1 hour & 30 minutes
  • Total Number of Stops: 5 stops
Note: If you do not own a bicycle or do not wish to bring your bicycle to complete this tour, Nice Ride Minnesota bicycles are available for rent at each of the stations along this tour from late spring to late fall. To bike this route from late fall to early spring, you would need to acquire a bicycle. The station signs for this tour are attached to the Nice Ride Minnesota bicycle rental kiosks. During Nice Ride Minnesota's off season, there will be no station signage available for this tour. However, a map can be printed from or viewed on the Ranger On Call website showing approximately locations to call from to enrich the story being told.
 
Fort Snelling
Fort Snelling Bicycling Tour
Come explore our state's proud and sometimes painful history on this tour. Some of the sites it will lead you past are: Historic Fort Snelling, Coldwater Spring, and the lovely Minnehaha Falls.

  • Trail Condition: mostly flat
  • Total Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Total Bike Time: 1 hour & 30 minutes
  • Total Walk Time: 2 hour & 30 minutes
  • Total Number of Stops: 4 stops
Note: If you do not own a bicycle or do not wish to bring your bicycle to complete this tour, Nice Ride Minnesota bicycles are available for rent at each of the stations along this tour from late spring to late fall. To bike this route from late fall to early spring, you would need to acquire a bicycle. The station signs for this tour are attached to the Nice Ride Minnesota bicycle rental kiosks. During Nice Ride Minnesota's off season, there will be no station signage available for this tour. However, a map can be printed from or viewed on the Ranger On Call website showing approximately locations to call from to enrich the story being told.
 
Hastings
Hastings Riverfront Bicycle Tour
The history of Hastings is intimately entwined with the Mississippi River. Jaycee Park boasts excellent fishing, boating, and bird watching opportunities. See wildlife such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons while enjoying a walk on the Hastings riverfront.

  • Trail Condition: mostly flat
  • Total Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Total Bike Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Walk Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Number of Stops: 2 stops
Note: There are no bicycles for rent at these stations. In order to bike this tour, you would need to acquire a bicycle.

Last updated: April 22, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Phone:

(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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