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Paddle Minnehaha Creek

Paddling Minnehaha Creek

Canoe on Minnehaha CreekMinnehaha Creek flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls, winding through tranquil woodlands, expansive wetlands, dense urban landscapes, neighborhoods and scenic park land. Under the right conditions it affords paddlers a beautiful adventure through an urban wilderness.

What are the best conditions to paddle Minnehaha Creek?

Ideal creek flows for paddling are between 75 and 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). We do not recommend paddling when the creek's flow is higher than 150 cfs. Conditions can change rapidly, especially after rainfall. View the Minnehaha Creek's flow level at Hiawatha Ave here. We recommend using the flow at Hiawatha Ave to gauge how fast the creek is flowing in the lower half of the creek, and the Gray's Bay Dam discharge to gauge how fast the creek is flowing in the upper half of the creek.

Less than 75 cfsPoor
75 cfs - 150 cfsGood
Greater than 150 cfsDangerous

Please note that creek flow is different from dam discharge, as water runs into the creek from different sources like runoffstorm sewers, wetlands, etc throughout the length of the creek which impacts the flow.

Graph of real-time creek flow from USGS:

Is it safe?

When the current is too fast, there is a higher chance of tipping the canoe or sustaining an injury. When it is too slow, you may find yourself doing a lot of portaging and hiking through the water! Consider the experience levels and abilities of those in your party and plan accordingly; use common sense and exercise caution. Watch for downed trees or other fallen objects that present navigational hazards

How long will it take?

Paddling the entire creek typically takes five or six hours. You may want to tackle it in stretches, especially if it is your first time.

Which section should I paddle?

Different sections of the creek offer different paddling experiences.

  • The creek starts at Gray's Bay in Minnetonka, where it flows through undeveloped wetlands and natural areas. This stretch is the most likely to have high enough water for paddling.  
  • The creek becomes more urbanized as you float through Hopkins and St. Louis Park, but includes the newly-restored Minnehaha Creek Preserve, part of the Minnehaha Creek Greenway.
  • The creek snakes through backyards in Edina and is flanked by trails and parkways as it flows through Minneapolis.

There are mandatory portages at Browndale Avenue and West 54th Street in Edina. Crossings beneath Highway 169 in St. Louis Park and Hiawatha Golf Course in Minneapolis have very little clearance during high water conditions.


You can download a PDF creek map or use the interactive map.

View Minnehaha Creek Canoe Map in a larger map

What should I bring?

  • Life jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Waterproof containers for storing valuables
  • Clothing that dries quickly

Known obstacles:

These are the known obstacles in the creek reported to MCWD by the public or reported by MCWD staff:

  • Tree trunk blocking the creek immediately upstream of the 31st Avenue footbridge (reported 10/9/18)

Who should I call about removing downed trees or other obstacles?

Contact the city where the tree or obstacle is located.

Where can I rent equipment?

Please note, MCWD does not provide shuttling services.

What does it look like?

Here's a neat time-lapse video of the final five miles of Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis: