Minnehaha Creek Preserve

Restoring one of the most degraded sections of Minnehaha Creek
7341 Oxford Street, St. Louis Park.

Project Type:

Project Status: 
Completed
Construction Cost: 
$849,113.34 (excluding trails)
About this project: 

Minnehaha Creek is back at center stage in St. Louis Park.

The Minnehaha Creek Preserve officially opened in July 2015, a major step in the renaissance of the iconic waterway and one of the largest urban stream restorations in Twin Cities’ history. The Preserve features 2,200 feet of boardwalk and 4,600 feet of paved trail around a restored stretch of Minnehaha Creek between Meadowbrook Avenue and Louisiana Avenue in St. Louis Park. It is the cornerstone of the Minnehaha Greenway, a stretch of more than 50 acres of continuous green space constructed or planned for construction along Minnehaha Creek. 

The project is a partnership between the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) and the City of St. Louis Park that was financed, in part, by a grant from the Clean Water Fund. It is part of a larger effort to improve Minnehaha Creek through its most degraded stretch in St. Louis Park and Hopkins, where the stream had historically been straightened and hidden from sight. The Preserve creates access to 39 acres of green space that was previously inaccessible and provides a range of benefits for both water quality and the community.

The restoration work, which was completed in 2013, returned natural curves to the previously-straightened stream, lengthening the creek by 1,600 feet. The project treats polluted stormwater from more than 80 acres of surrounding area that previously flowed untreated into the creek, prevents erosion by slowing down water, creates fish and wildlife habitat, and connects the creek to its historic wetlands. It has a significant impact on water quality in Minnehaha Creek and downstream Lake Hiawatha, both of which are on the state’s list of impaired water bodies.

Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment logoAn outdoor education area tells the story of the creek and how to protect it, and creates an outdoor classroom space for schools and community groups. Located behind Meadowbrook Manor, the trail system brings more than 600 housing units within walking distance of transit connections. There are locations for learning, sitting and peaceful reflection, as well as two new canoe launches. 

Additional support for the project was provided by Excelsior Townhomes, Japs-Olson Company, Meadowbrook Manor and the Minnetonka and St. Louis Park Sunrise Rotary Clubs.

Project details: 

  • Extended Methodist Hospital re-meander upstream from Louisiana Avenue to Meadowbrook Road
  • Returned 3,000 foot long section of the creek to a more natural shape
  • Water Quality Results:
    • Treats polluted runoff from more than 80 acres surrounding urban area that previously flowed untreated into the creek
    • Slowed down the water, which prevents erosion
    • Created fish and wildlife habitat, and improve water quality.
    • Created an additional 1,600 feet of creek length
    • Connected the creek to some of its historic floodplains
  • Community Results:
    • Provides 2,200 feet of boardwalk and 4,600 feet of paved trail
    • Created access to 39 acres of previously inaccessible green space
    • Brings more than 600 housing units within walking distance of transit connections
    • Creates outdoor education area for schools and community groups
    • Reconstructed canoe launches at Creekside Park and Louisiana Avenue

Minnehaha Creek before and after restoration (hover mouse over photo):

Before and after remeandering the creek in the Preserve

Trails Map

Minnehaha Creek Preserve trail map

The trails can be accessed from three main trailheads, on the west, north and south sides. If you are driving, the easiest access point is at Creekside Park, 7341 Oxford Street, St. Louis Park, or from the south off Excelsior Boulevard. There is pedestrian access from the west where Powell Road crosses the creek on both the north and south sides, and from the east on Louisiana Avenue, just south of the creek. 

A full trail map is available below. 

Video overview