Mississippi River St. Anthony Falls Pool

Quick Facts

Mississippi River St. Anthony Falls Pool

Minnesota

(612) 333-5336

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

St. Anthony Falls is the head of a section of the Mississippi River that's part of the Corps of Engineers Nine Foot Navigation Project and is located in downtown Minneapolis. The USAF Visitor Center is located at the Upper Lock and is open to the public year around. The visitor center provides an excellent view of the historic falls, the Minneapolis skyline and the historic mill ruins along the banks of the river. This area is within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Authorized in 1930 to provide a 9-foot navigation channel between Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN and St. Louis, MO, the Upper Mississippi River System offers extensive opportunities for water-based recreation, ranging from backwater hunting and fishing to long-distance cruising in the main channel.

In the St. Paul District, the project flows through three National Wildlife Refuges, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, many State and local wildlife and recreation areas. Designated an American Heritage River, it offers visitors many recreational opportunities, including sightseeing along the river, visiting quaint river towns, viewing the wooded bluffs along the river, and watching bald eagles soaring.

St. Anthony Falls is the birthplace of present day Minneapolis. Early settlers, including the soldiers at Ft. Snelling, used the falls for hydropower. By the mid 1800s, lumber mills and grain mills crowded the shores of the area, each wanting the power of the falls. In 1876, a tunnel collapse threatened the existence of the falls. The Corps became involved in the efforts to save the falls and constructed an underground cutoff wall, two roller dams and other protective works. After an absence of nearly a century, the Corps returned to constructing a series of locks and dams.

Activities

  • Boating

    Nearby Boom Island Park (operated by the city) offers access to the river.

  • Bicycling

    Biking opportunities abound in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The nearby Boom Island Park offers a bike path. Also worth exploring are the many miles of bike trail that accompany the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.

  • Fishing

    The Mississippi River gives anglers many opportunities. Several boat access ramps exist throughout the area. The Eau Galle Recreation Area in Wisconsin offers camping and a boat ramp.

  • Historic Sites

    The surrounding area has a rich history. The St. Anthony Falls Historic District, which includes the locks, was created to preserve and interpret the many historical features in this location. One of the key features in the district is the Stone Arch Bridge. Constructed as a railroad bridge in 1883 by James. J. Hill, it has been converted to a pedestrian/bicycle/trolley bridge and offers yet another outstanding vantage point. The ruins of some of the mills have been excavated for the development of Mill Ruins Park, which interpret how the mills operated.

  • Picnicking

    Several parks along the river within the metropolitan area offer picnicking opportunities. The main day-use area at Eau Galle Recreation Area offers two reservable group shelters and a smaller non-reservable shelter. Amenities here include a playground, flush toilets, horseshoe pits, vending machines, large open area, a boat ramp, pay phone, a swimming beach with change house, volleyball courts, two fishing docks, and hiking trails.

  • RVing

    The nearby Eau Galle Recreation Area has 45 campsites; 35 electric, 3 non-electric and 7 walk-in tent sites. Other amenities include a dump station, hot showers, pay phone, playground, hiking trails and a group shelter. Gull Lake Recreation Area also offers campsites (all have electric service).

  • Water Sports

    The Main Day Use area at Eau Galle Recreation Area offers a swimming beach with changing house.

  • Winter Sports

    Ice fishing is a popular activity on lakes in the area. Some parks in the metro area also welcome snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

Seasonality/Weather

The Visitor Center at Upper Saint Anthony Falls offers daily dam tours May 1 through October 1. Tours are offered year-round, but are subject to availability October 2 through April 30.

Directions

Driving

The visitor center at the Upper St. Anthony Falls is located in downtown Minneapolis, at 1 Portland Avenue off the West River Road Parkway.

Flying

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is less than eight miles from the Upper St. Anthony Lock and is approximately a 20-minute drive away.

Public Transportation

The twin cities boast an excellent public transportation system and visitors to the area can see most of the area's attractions by using the system.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(612) 333-5336

Links