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This is one of the most spectacular urban delights of south Minneapolis. Winding its way from the south shore of Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Creek cuts a 5-mile path along 50th Street on its way to the Mississippi River. Picturesque Minnehaha Parkway, running parallel to the creek, is a splendid drive featuring lush gardens and large shade trees. The route can also be traversed by foot or bike via the trails. The culmination of the gurgling and bubbling creek as it rushes to meet the mighty Mississippi is the cascading splendor of Minnehaha Falls and 170-acre magnificent Minnehaha Park. One of the city's most-used stretches of parkland, it features several large picnic grounds, formal gardens, playing fields, hiking trails, and undeveloped natural areas. Four different staircases, made of local stone, lead from the uplands to various spots along the creek bottom. There they connect to a trail that follows the creek to its confluence with the river across from St. Paul's Hidden Falls Park. A separate paved trail connects the park to historic Fort Snelling State Park. Of special historical significance is the John H Stevens House Museum that was recently moved to park grounds south of the Falls.
Enjoy a stroll on the intertwining walkways that wind through this park. A man-made stream is the center of attention for many who visit. During the warm spring and summer months, listen to recorded and live music from the bandstand. In winter, the park twinkles as thousands of lights decorate the trees. Many people meander through the park and hang out, unwinding from the tough day at work. Look out for the annual Music in Mears, a series of summer concerts, all of which are free.
A great place to hike, bike, ski, fish, canoe or just take in nature, Fort Snelling State Park offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Filled with trails that link Minnehaha Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, other attractions here include Gun Club Lake, Snelling Lake, and Pike Island, which sits at the convergence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. The park also hosts numerous events, and one popular trail leads hikers to the historic Fort Snelling. A day-use only park, visitors should consider beginning their visit with a trip to the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center.