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Minnesota State Parks

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USA Parks
Twin Cities - Metro Region
Fort Snelling State Park
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Fort Snelling State Park Piebald deer © Cindy
January 19, 2021 Fort Snelling State Park
Fort Snelling State Park Piebald deer © Cindy
January 19, 2021 Fort Snelling State Park
Fort Snelling State Park Tower at Ft. Snelling © Carrie Weston
This tower at Ft. Snelling is now open for tourists to visit and gives wonderful views of the river, the fort and in the distance, Minneapolis.
Fort Snelling State Park Educating the tourists about the cannon © Carrie Weston
Costumed historical interpreters tell tourists about the cannon prior to firing a demonstration shot.
Fort Snelling State Park © Carrie Weston
Fort Snelling State Park Ft, Snelling Gate © Carrie Weston
This gate is the entryway to the fort. Historical interpreters greet tourists upon their entrance.
Fort Snelling State Park © Carrie Weston
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101 Snelling Lake Road
St. Paul, Minnesota   55111

Phone: 612-725-2389
Toll Free: 888-646-6367
Email: park email button icon
Located in the heart of the Twin Cities, this park offers extensive hiking, bike and ski trails that link to Minnehaha Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Canoe on Gun Club Lake, play golf, swim in Snelling Lake, or hike on Pike Island where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers converge. Interpretive exhibits and films on display in the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center give visitors a good background on the history and resources of the park and area. Trails also allow visitors to hike up to the historic Fort Snelling for a view of military life in the 1820s. This is a day-use only park; no camping is available.
Nature of the Area
The park is located in the Mississippi River Sandplains Landscape Region at the confluence of two great rivers, the Minnesota and the Mississippi. Most of the park is on the Minnesota River floodplain. The riverine environment hosts large cottonwood, silver maple, ash, and willow trees along the braided channels of the Minnesota River. Numerous picnic sites, a beach, and river and lake fishing invite visitors to enjoy the recreational opportunities offered by this historic and beautiful park nestled in the shadow of city freeways and airport flyways.

During the last Ice Age, retreating glaciers left thick moraine deposits over the bedrock in the area. As the glaciers melted, torrential meltwaters carved through the deposits to form the valleys of what are now the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.

The forest bottoms and marshes have an abundance of wild life consisting of white-tailed deer, fox, woodchucks, badgers, and skunks. Visitors might also come across a fox snake which is almost identical in appearance to a rattle snake, but is not poisonous. Snapping, soft-shelled and painted turtles can be seen basking in the sun along the river or in one of the lakes.
History of the Area
For hundreds of years before Europeans arrived, generations of Dakota people lived in villages along the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers that meet in Fort Snelling State Park. The river confluence was believed to be the place of origin and center of the earth by the bands of Mde-wa-kan-ton-wan Dakota, the "Dwellers by Mystic Lake." By the late 1600s, Europeans had visited the area. In the 1820s, historic Fort Snelling was built on the bluff above the two historic rivers to control the exploration, trade, and settlement on these waterways. The area was established as a state park in 1962. The swimming beach, added in 1970, remains a popular recreation attraction in the park. In 1997, a new visitor center opened to the public.
1. Fort Snelling State Park offers swimming in the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.
2. Lifeguards are not present; swim at your own risk.
3. Swimming is allowed during park hours, 8 a. m. -10 p. m. , daily.
4. The beach area provides easy access to water for swimmers of all ages and abilities.
5. Picnic tables near the beach make it convenient for families or groups spending a day out swimming.

The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, allowing guests to explore the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers that border the park. There's also a boat ramp provided for those who bring their own watercrafts, but motorized boats must adhere to certain restrictions in order not to disturb wildlife habitats or interfere with canoeing areas. Fishing is popular on these waters as well; however, all state fishing laws apply within this area.
Enjoy fishing in the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, with species like walleye, northern pike, sunfish and catfish. There's also trout fishing available at Snelling Lake during winter months. Fishing equipment is provided for free use within park boundaries. A valid state license is required to fish here.

Fort Snelling State Park is located near Burnsville, Cottage Grove and Eden Prairie

Fort Snelling State Park offers picnic tables, fire rings and grills. There are also reservable shelters for larger gatherings.
Biking enthusiasts can explore a 5-mile paved trail, but be aware it's shared with pedestrians. Safety is paramount.

The park offers bike rentals during summer months; however, availability may vary so plan accordingly.

For those seeking more challenge, there are unpaved trails available too. Be cautious as these paths can get rough and muddy at times.

Winter biking isn't officially supported due to snowfall conditions making the terrain potentially hazardous for cyclists.

Remember that helmets are strongly recommended while cycling in order to ensure safety on all routes within this natural haven.

Please note: Bicycles must stay on designated trails only - respect nature by not venturing off-path!
The park offers a variety of birding opportunities, with over 200 species recorded. It's home to waterfowl, warblers and eagles. Birdwatchers can explore trails along the Mississippi River or Pike Island for sightings. The Thomas C Savage Visitor Center provides binoculars and field guides for use within the park boundaries.

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Area Campgrounds
Town & Country Campground
12630 Boone Avenue South
Savage, MN
Nearby Hotels

Take the Post Road exit off Highway 5 and follow the signs.

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Minnesota State Parks