Mississippi
Destination Guide

Table of Contents

(Information also accessible
via the interactive map)

 

Headwaters Region

1. Itasca State Park
2. Lake Bemidji State Park
3. Schoolcraft State Park
4. Crow Wing State Park 
5. Charles A. Lindbergh House
Twin Cities Region
6. Oliver Kelley Farm 
7. West Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center
8. Coon Rapids Dam Activities Center
9. St. Anthony Falls Historic District
10. John H. Stevens House 
11. Historic fort Snelling 
12. Fort Snelling State Park
13. The Sibley Historic Site
14. Hidden Falls/Crosby Farm Regional Park
15. Science Museum of Minnesota
16. Spring Lake Park Reserve
Western Wisconsin Region
17. Frontenac State Park
18. Merrick State Park
19. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
20. Perrot State Park
21. Effigy Mounds National Monument
22. Villa Louis State Historic Site
23. Pikes Peak State Park
24. Wylusing State Park

Quad Cities Region

25. Bellevue State Park
26. Mississippi Palisades State Park
27. Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
28. Mississippi River Visitor Center
29. Black Hawk State Historic Site
Headwaters Region 

1. Itasca State Park
MN Dept of Natural Resources, Lake Itasca, MN 56460. 
Phone: 218-266-3654 or 218-266-3656 

Established in 1891, Itasca is the oldest Minnesota State park. In its vast pine forests, the Mighty Mississippi begins its long journey to the gulf of Mexico. Here, at the Mississippi source, the water is transparent and beautiful, flowing over rocks into what looks more like a little stream than a great river. Canoe, camp, bike and hike, following in the footsteps ofAmerican Indians, fur traders, and explorers. 

Located 20 miles north of Park Rapids on U.S. Highway 71. 
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2. Lake Bemidji State Park
MN Department of Natural Resources, 3401 State Park Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601.
Phone: 218-755-3843 

One of several places along the Mississippi where the river and a lake are as one. The park is located on the north end of the lake and offers boat tours of the lake and the river, focusing on ecology and local history, plus general programs on natural or cultural history and recreation and special interest programs in bog or aquatic biology, animal behavior, birds and weather. 

Located 5 miles north of Bemidji, off County 20. 
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3. Schoolcraft State Park
MN Department of Natural Resources, HCR Box 181, Deer River, MN 56636.
Phone: 218-566-2383 

Sometimes called Little Itasca, this beautiful park has its own giant pine forest.The Mississippi is a little wider as it flows through the park and visitors find it a much quieter spot than the busy headwaters. 

Located west of Grand Rapids, off MN Highway 6. 
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4. Crow Wing State Park 
MN Department of Natural Resources, 7100 State Park Road SW, Brainerd, MN 56401. Phone: 218-829-8022 

Situated at the confluence of the Crow Wing and the Mississippi Rivers, this area was important to the Ojibway and Dakota tribes and later to the fur traders and loggers. Now it is a serene, beautiful forested area with a variety of wildlife, lovely hiking trails and a self-guided interpretative trail. Saturday evening naturalist programs are available. 

Located nine miles south of Brainerd, MN off of MN Highway 371, then one mile west of County 27. 
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5. Charles A. Lindbergh House 
MN Historical Society, 1200 Lindbergh Drive South, Little Falls, MN 56345. 
Phone: 612-632-3154 

Most people know Charles Lindbergh as the quiet young aviator who completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic. He also had a deep commitment to the environment,which was spawned while he was a boy spending his summers in this cottage on the Mississippi River. 

Admission fee. Located two miles south of Little Falls, off MN Highway 27. 
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Twin Cities Region

6. Oliver Kelley Farm 
MN Historical Society, 15788 Kelley Farm Road, Elk River, MN 53330. 
Phone: 612-441-6896 

A complete working farm situated along the Mississippi, with 189 acres of fields, nature trails and restored prairies. This is a living history program, centered on agriculture in Minnesota during the Civil War era, where visitors may assist costumed interpreters in gardening, farming and domestic activities. Open May through October; activities and special events vary throughout the season. Admission fee. 

Located on U.S. Highway 10, 2-1/2 miles southeast of Elk River. 
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7. West Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center
Hennepin Parks, 10360 West River Road, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444. 
Phone: 612-424-8172 

This facility offers visitors a variety of experiences, from exhibits about theriver's habitats and creatures to live exhibits of river animals. Weekend programs by interpretative naturalists enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the river, while hiking trails offer opportunities to explore the 140-acres of fields, wetland areas and an especially good example of floodplain forest. More information and trail maps are available at the Visitor Center. 

Located on the Mississippi River in Brooklyn Park, off West River Road. 
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8. Coon Rapids Dam Activities Center
Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department, 9750 Egret Boulevard, Coon Rapids, MN 55433. 
Phone: 612-757-4700 

This center offers numerous environmental education programs for the public year round. A 29-acre trout lake managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is stocked annually. A scenic bike/hike trail enters the park on the south and connects to the Hennepin and Coon Rapids trails near the dam. 

Located in Coon Rapids, off Coon Rapids Blvd. 
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9. St. Anthony Falls Historic District
MN Historical Society, St. Anthony Main, 125 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, MN. 
Phone: 612-627-5433 

Take a walk through history, when Minneapolis could boast of being the largest milling district in the world. Explore the only falls on the Mississippi River, the restored Stone Arch Bridge and other landmarks of the era on a guided walking tour. One and two hour tours Saturday and Sunday; one-hour tours on Wednesdays through Fridays. Tour fee. 

Program office is located in St. Anthony Main building, across the river from downtown Minneapolis. 
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10. John H. Stevens House 
Stevens House Association 4901 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55417. 
Phone: 612-722-2220 

Built in 1850, the Stevens House is the first permanent settler's home on the west bank of the Mississippi in Minneapolis. As the home of Colonel John H. Stevens and his family, the house served as the social and civic hub of the new city. In 1896, 7,000 children participated in relays, pulling the from its original riverbank location to the Minnehaha Park. Restored to its original structural appearance, the Stevens House is open to the public as an interpretive history center. Admission fee. 

Located in Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis.
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11. Historic Fort Snelling 
MN Historical Society, St. Paul, MN 55111.
Phone: 651-725-2413 

Built on a commanding bluff above the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, the fort is a living museum that accurately depicts the lives of the men, women, and children of the 5th Regiment of Infantry on the 1820's frontier. Visitors watch real infantry drills, artillery firing, authentic cooking, trades and domestic crafts demonstrations. Open daily May-October. Admission fee. 

Located near the Mendota Bridge, off Highway 55. 
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12. Fort Snelling State Park
MN Department of Natural Resources, Highway 5 and Post Road, St. Paul, MN 55111. 
Phone: 651-725-2390 

Built in 1821, Fort Snelling was strategically located at the confluence of two great rivers, the Minnesota and the Mississippi, and offers a rich historical and cultural legacy, especially to Native Americans. The park landscape is the product of two major geological processes, glacial deposition and meltwater erosion and the forested river bottoms, marshes and wet meadows support a variety of wildlife. A naturalist conducts year round programs that focus on he geology, wildlife, vegetation and water resources of the park. 

Located off Post Road and MN Highway 5 near the International Airport. 
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13. The Sibley Historic Site
Sibley House Association, PO Box 50772, 55D Street, Mendota, MN 55150. 
Phone: 612-452-1596 

Located at the juncture of the Minnesota and the Mississippi Rivers, the site consists of 5 of 13 buildings original to the Sioux Outfit of the American Fur Company. It includes Sibley House, the oldest private residence in Minnesota, built for Henry Hastings Sibley - fur trader, governor, militia commander, treaty negotiator, businessman and territorial delegate to Congress. Tours from May through October. Admission fee. 

Located on Highway 13, just east of the Mendota Bridge (Highway55). 
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14. Hidden Falls/Crosby Farm Regional Park
St. Paul Parks and recreation, 2450 Crosby Farm Road, St. Paul, MN 55119. 
Phone: 651-266-6400 or 612-488-7291 

A beautiful setting for an afternoon's walk, run or roll. Trails (6.7 miles of which are disabled accessible) run along shady, wooded bottomlands next to the river, skirting the marshes of Crosby Lake and Upper Lake, and past a scenic picnic area. Open year round. 

Located along the Mississippi near I-35 and Shepard Road in St. Paul. 
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15. Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.., St. Paul, MN 55102.
Phone: 651-221-9488 

The Mississippi River program is scheduled to begin in the summer of 1996. Exhibits, laboratory activities, theater performances and demonstrations will continue to open periodically through June 1997. The program will highlight how watershed-based scientific inquiry provides insights into how to better manage our river. Exhibit admission fee. 

Located in downtown St. Paul. 
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16. Spring Lake Park Reserve
Dakota County Parks, 8500 127th Street East, Hastings, MN 55033.  

One of the most scenic rest stops along the Great River Road, the Spring Lake Park Reserve is a study of contrasts, from the majestic oak to woods to the highly rocky bluff tops, to the flood plain with its lush grasses and black walnut trees. Trails provide outstanding views of the Spring Lake section of the river, with elevations rising more than 100 feet above the Mississippi. 

Located 3 miles west of Hastings, off Highway 55. 
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Western Wisconsin Region

17. Frontenac State Park
MN Department of Natural Resources, 29223 County 28 Blvd., Lake City, MN 55041. 
Phone: (612) 345-3401

A beautiful park, with stunning vistas of Lake Pepin from its wooded slopes.Bald eagles may beseen nearly all year and the park is one of the best places in the UnitedStates to view migrating birds. 

Located off Highway 61, 10 miles south of Redwing.
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18. Merrick State Park
WI Department of Natural Resources, S2955 State Road 35, Fountain City, WI 54629. 
Phone: (608) 687-4936

Named for George Merrick, famous steamboat cub pilot and historian of Mississippi riverboat traffic, this beautiful park is open all year long for hiking, with excellent trails, including a 3-mile winter trail. Bird watchers flock to the park to enjoy the annual migration of waterfowl and eagles along the Mississippi. There are weekend naturalist programs during the summer. 

Located a few miles north of Fountain City, WI, off of WI Highway 35.
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19. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Route 1, Box 1602, Trempealeau, WI 54661. 
Phone: (608) 539-2311

Established in 1936 as a refuge and breeding area for migratory birds and other wildlife, this unique inland wetland is isolated from the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers. The isolation and protection makes it an ideal refuge for indigenous and migratory species.

Located 6 miles west of Trempeauleau, WI on WI Highway 35.
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20. Perrot State Park
WI Department of Natural Resources, Route 1, Box 407,Trempealeau, WI, 54661, 
Phone: (608) 534-6409

This park contains a rich collection of geologic history, with its exposed rocks and bluffs , aquatic habitats, marshlands, upland fields, wooded slopes, cool valleys, and pristine prairies. The wealth of landscape and habitat supports a wide variety of large and small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Weekend naturalist programs are offered. 

Located immediately north of Trempeauleau. 
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21. Effigy Mounds National Monument
National Park Service, RR 1, Box 25A, Harpers Ferry, IA, 52146. 
Phone: (319) 873-3491

These prehistoric Indian burial mounds along the high bluffs and lowlands of the Upper Mississippi River Valley are unique in North America. Only in these four midwestern states were these mounds built in the shapes of birds and other animals. The visitor center offers museum exhibits and an audiovisual presentation, plus trailside exhibits and markers, self-guided tours and scenic vistas along the 300-foot high bluff tops. Guided walks by park rangers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission fee. 

Located 3 miles north of Marquette on IA Highway 76.
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22. Villa Louis State Historic Site
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 521 N Villa Road, Prairie Du Chein, WI 53821. 
Phone: (608)326-2721

The Villa Louis estate, with all its original household furnishings, accessories, letters, photographs and documents, offers visitors an authentic look at Victorian life on the Upper Mississippi. The site includes other structures , including those that relate to the French-Canadian fur trade. Open May through October. Admission fee. 

Located in Prairie du Chien.
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23. Pikes Peak State Park
IA Department of Natural Resources, McGregor, IA, 52157.
Phone: (319) 873-2341.

Situated on the highest bluff on the Mississippi River, this area was missed by the glaciers that flattened and molded so much of Iowa. Its hills and valleys offer great vistas, painted sandstone walls, large timbered tracts, spring-fed streams and prehistoric earthen effigy mounds sculpted by Native Americans in the shapes of animals to celebrate their oneness with Mother Earth. Excellent picnic area and hiking trails. 

Located south of McGregor on IA Highway 340.
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24. Wylusing State Park
WI Department of Natural Resources, 13342 County Highway C, Bagley, WI 53801. 
Phone: (608) 996-2261.

Situated at the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, this park takes its name from the Indian word for Home of the Warrior . The 2,674-acre park is adjacent to the Upper Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Refuge with its wealth of wildlife and stunning vistas. The park offers about 22 miles of scenic trails, including winter ski and snow shoeing trails. Weekend naturalist programs are offered during the summer. 

Located 12 miles south of Prairie du Chien, WI.
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Quad Cities Region

25. Bellevue State Park
IA Department of Natural Resources, 24668 Highway 52, Bellevue, IA, 52031. 
Phone: (319) 872-4019.

This park is located in two separate tracts; the Nelson Unit is the immediate south edge of Bellevue, atop a 300-foot limestone bluff; the Dyas Unit is two miles further south. This park offers scenic views of the Mississippi, with timbered walking trails, a unique butterfly sanctuary and an enclosed nature center. 

Located south of Bellevue, off of U.S. Highway 52.
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26. Mississippi Palisades State Park
IL Department of Conservation, 4577 Route 84 North, Savanna, IL, 61074. 
Phone: (815) 273-2731.

Beautifully situated near the confluence of the Mississippi and AppleRivers, the 2,500-acre park is rich in American Indian history. The deep limestone caves, intriguing rock formations and wooded ravines add to the grandeur of the unglaciated terrain and the challenge of the rugged 13-mile trail system. 

Located 3 miles north of Savanna, off IL Route 84.
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27. Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, IA, 52804. 
Phone: (319) 324-1054.

The Putnum offers a spectacular view of the Mississippi and over 12,00 square feet of world-class exhibits. Visitors can learn about the natural history of the prairie and the rivers of the region, plus enjoy regional history, wildlife displays and extensive fossil and paleontology collections. Open year round Tuesday through Sunday. Admission fee. 

Located on Museum Hill at 12th and Division Streets in Davenport.
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28. Mississippi River Visitor Center
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 2004, Rock Island, IL 61204. 
Phone: (309) 794-5338.

An opportunity to experience the river as a great water highway, as towboats, barges, and recreational boats are brought through Mississippi River Lock and Dam 15. Free tours, exhibits and a theater available, with an on-staff park ranger to explain the transportation workings of the Upper Mississippi. Disabled accessible. 

Located off of IL Highway 92, in the Rock Island Arsenal Area.
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29. Black Hawk State Historic Site
1510 46th Ave., Rock Island, IL, 61201.
Phone: (309) 788-0177

This site boarders the Rock River near the confluence with the Mississippi. It includes the Hauberg Indian Museum which interprets the cultures of the Sauk and Mesquakie tribes, and the Black Hawk Forest Nature Preserve, one of the least disturbed forests in Illinois. The museum, lodge and restrooms are disabled accessible. Museum admission fee. 

Located on Blackhawk Road.
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Return to the River Days:
The Upper Mississippi Recreation Guide

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987
© 2001 CGEE. All Rights Reserved.