Paddle Minnehaha Creek
Plan Your Trip
Minnehaha Creek flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls, winding through woodlands, wetlands, cities, neighborhood parks and more. The creek affords paddlers a beautiful adventure through an urban wilderness. However, creek conditions can change quickly, especially after rainfall. Here are resources to help you plan a fun and safe trip.
Please be respectful of private property. Land only at designated sites described in this route description. Mileage figures refer to miles upstream from Longfellow Lagoon, the final landing before Minnehaha Falls.
Proper Conditions for Paddling
Ideal creek flows for canoeing and kayaking Minnehaha Creek 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.
Less than 75 ft3/s
75 ft3/s to 150 ft3/s
Greater than 150 ft3/s
You may want to tackle the creek in stretches, especially if it your first time. These are rough estimates and vary widely based on conditions and paddling style.
|Creek length||Time estimate|
|Entire creek||~6-9 hours|
Upper: Gray's Bay to Target-Knollwood
Primarily undeveloped wetlands and natural areas — most likely to have enough water during low conditions.
Middle: Target-Knollwood to Pamela Park
More urbanized as you float through Hopkins and St. Louis Park, but includes the restored Minnehaha Creek Preserve, part of the Minnehaha Creek Greenway.
Lower: Pamela Park to Longfellow Lagoon
Flanked by trails and parkways through Minneapolis
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Check the forecast, and prepare for rain even if there is only a small chance.
- Wear a life jacket. The law requires one life jacket per person on board.
- Scan ahead for hazards like overhanging trees, rocks, low bridges and rapids. Portage around challenging sections.
- Do not swim within 72 hours of a rain event due to polluted runoff from streets.
- Avoid riffles and follow the smooth water shaped like a “V” pointing downstream.
What to Bring
- First aid kit
- Cell phone
- Drinking water
- Waterproof containers for storing valuables
- Quick-dry clothing
Additional information from the Minnesota DNR: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/paddling_safety.html
Reporting downed trees or obstacles
Contact the city where the tree or obstacle is located.
- City of Minnetonka: 952-988-8421
- City of Hopkins: 952-939-1382
- City of St. Louis Park: 952-924-2562
- City of Edina: 952-826-0308
- Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board: 612-313-7710