Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - Twin Cities, MN

In the middle of a bustling urban setting, this 72 mile long river park offers quiet stretches for fishing, boating and canoeing. Other spots are excellent for birdwatching, bicycling and hiking. And there are numerous visitor centers and museums that highlight the history and science of the Mississippi River. If you are interested in the Mississippi, this park is a great place to start.

Unlike most other national parks, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a "partnership" park. We own only 67 acres of the 54,000 acres within our borders. The rest is composed of city parks, regional parks, a state park, a national wildlife refuge, state scientific and natural areas, along with private businesses and homes. We work in partnership with those other units of government to bring additional services to both them and visitors and to preserve and protect the natural and cultural history of this great river.

Disclaimer: The below map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only.

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Latitude: 44.943356 Longitude: -93.097913

Recreational Opportunities

  • Bicycling
  • Boating & Canoeing
  • Camping
  • Fishing & Hunting
  • Geocaching
  • Hiking & Walks
  • History & Culture
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Museums
  • NPS Passport Stamps
  • Photography
  • Visitor Centers
  • Volunteer Events
  • Watchable Wildlife

For more information click here. For volunteer opportunities click here.

Seasons Accessible

We are a partnership park that overlaps many parks (regional, city, state), other public lands, museums, and historical sites. Check with the specific park site you plan on visiting for their hours. Click here for more information. The National Park Service does not control the visiting hours for the partner sites.

Mississippi River Visitor Center: 120 Kellogg Blvd West, St. Paul, MN 55102

  • Monday: Closed except for some holidays (Memorial Day, Labor Day). Call the visitor center for holiday specific hours at (651) 293-0200.
  • Tuesday - Thursday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday - Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.
  • Closed one or two weeks in September when the Science Museum closes for maintenance and exhibit updates.
  • Schedule changes occur due to special events and severe weather. Call (651) 293-0200 for more information.
  • Parking: 100-198 N Chestnut St, St Paul, MN 55102

Saint Anthony Falls Visitor Center: 1 Portland Avenue Minneapolis, MN 54401

  • Monday - Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Tours of the lock and dam are offered daily at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm.
  • Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend
  • Contact information: (952) 303-2706

Coldwater Spring: 5601 Minnehaha Drive South, Fort Snelling, MN 55111

  • Monday - Sunday: 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Other Visitor Centers:
There are other visitor centers within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area which are operated by state and local governments and private agencies. Operating hours of these facilities vary from season to season. You can find more Information on other visitor centers and museums on our website.

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Headquarters: 111 Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105, Saint Paul, MN 55101

  • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • The headquarters' offices are closed on federal holidays.


We do not charge any fees for entrance, parking or Ranger programs. However, some of our partner sites do and those specific sites should be contacted for more information about their fees. nps.gov/miss/planyourvisit/fees.htm

Accessibility Notes

NPS property and rented facilities within this large park are accessible, with the exception of our river islands. This includes a short trail at Coldwater Spring, which is packed hard-surfaced gravel with gentle grades acceptable for wheelchair use. Other trails at this location are informal dirt paths, sometimes with steep slopes, which are rough and muddy after rains. The Mississippi River Visitor Center is accessible from the Science Museum of Minnesota's parking ramp via elevators. The Saint Anthony Falls Visitor Center is accessible from the Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam parking lot and the adjacent Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board lot. Limited handicapped parking is available at the lock and dam parking lot. Please park in those spots designated for visitor parking; other spots are contract parking. Parking may also be found on the streets in the area and at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board parking lot just north of the lock and dam lot on West River Parkway.

Because the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is made up of many local, regional, state, and national entities, it is difficult to describe the accessibility of all facilities and trails, especially those managed by other units of government and private organizations. Museums, such as the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Mill City Museum, are up to modern accessibility standards. Trails that run through parks are sometimes made of mixed surfaces, although many are paved.

Pet Friendly Notes

There are many places within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area to enjoy the Mississippi River with your pet.

Pets are permitted at Coldwater Spring provided they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 meters). Other partner parks and areas within our borders may have additional restrictions. Please pick up after your pets; keep our parks clean for other visitors. Also remember that not all people like dogs and off-leash dogs--even friendly dogs--may alarm other visitors, as well as having detrimental effects on wildlife.

There are a number of dog parks within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area where your pet may run loose. Click here for more information.

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