Tour of the Watershed
There is a lot to see and do in the 181 square miles of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed. This page introduces you to just a few of the many great places for recreation. Check them out and send us your own ideas and photos!
Minnehaha Creek Headwaters Park offers a great spot to launch a canoe, go fishing, and learn about nature. From the Gray's Bay boat launch on Highway 101 in Minnetonka, take Gray's Bay Blvd. all the way to the headwaters. Go there yourself or take a virtual tour of the interpretive signs at the site:
- A Secret Place
- Water's Journey
- Minnehaha Creek Canoe Route Map
- Minnetonka Parks and Trails
- Water Filter
- What is a Wetland?
- The Wetland Tour: Upland Zone
- The Wetland Tour: Transitional Zone
- The Wetland Tour: Aquatic Plant Zone
- The Wetland Tour: Open Water Zone
The Gideon Glen Wetland Restoration/Water Quality Demonstration Project offers an educational experience through interpretative signs and trails. Get a glimpse of the Big Woods. Gideon Glen is located on the northwest side of the intersection at Smithtown Rd and CR 19 in Shorewood. Go there yourself or take a virtual tour of the interpretive signs at the site:
Minnehaha Creek passes by Methodist Hospital on its way to the Mississippi River. You will find that the once-straight ditch now has a series of meanders that allows the creek to slow down and give life to a diverse ecosystem.
Find out more about the Methodist Hospital Minnehaha Creek Re-meander and Boardwalk.
Take a step back in time: Discover how the Edina Mill helped Union Soldiers during the Civil War and learn how this area was famous for its progressive farming techniques and for its fox fine strains of cattle. The interpretative signs are located near the Browndale Dam on Browndale Ave and 50th St. West in Edina.
Enjoy the sights of the creek. Go there yourself or take a virtual tour of the interpretive signs at the site:
Read more about the creek's history in Tom Balcom's article, Hennepin History Hiding in Plain Sight at Lyndale Avenue on Minnehaha Creek.
Minnehaha Creek offers a fun urban adventure for anyone wishing to escape the concrete jungle into a more fluid environment.
Starting at Gray’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka, the creek flows east through Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Edina and Minneapolis before tumbling 53 feet over its namesake falls and into the Mississippi. Along the way, 20 canoe landings maintained by MCWD provide access to a short float or a longer journey. The entire length of the creek can be paddled in about six to nine hours, depending on water levels and other factors.
Inexperienced paddlers are cautioned that the creek can quickly fluctuate from a lazy trickle during dry spells to a more serious torrent after heavy rains. The water level in the creek is partially controlled by a dam at Gray’s Bay, but numerous stormwater discharge pipes add to its flow downstream of Minnetonka. During high flows, fallen trees and low bridges can present hazards. There are two required portages. Click here to learn more about canoeing Minnehaha Creek.
Copies of the Minnehaha Creek Canoe Route and Watershed Map can be obtained by calling the MCWD office at 952-471-0590. You also can download a smaller version suitable for printing.
City of Mound - Downtown Redevelopment
The Downtown Mound Redevelopment was a four-phase project that started in 2007 and finished in 2010. When the City of Mound proposed redevelopment of its downtown area, the city, developer and MCWD recognized the opportunity for a partnership to reduce nutrient loading into Lost Lake, Langdon Lake and ultimately Cooks Bay on Lake Minnetonka. Part of the plan involved educational signs. You can visit the swale sign at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and the porous pavement sign at Wolner Field. There also is a raingarden sign in the area.