What to do in Fort Snelling State Park

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities, this park offers extensive hiking, bike and ski trails that link to Minnehaha Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Canoe on Gun Club Lake, play golf, swim in Snelling Lake, or hike on Pike Island where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers converge. Interpretive exhibits and films on display in the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center give visitors a good background on the history and resources of the park and area. Trails also allow visitors to hike up to the historic Fort Snelling for a view of military life in the 1820s. This is a day-use only park; no camping is available.

The forest bottoms and marshes have an abundance of wild life consisting of white-tailed deer, fox, woodchucks, badgers, and skunks. Visitors might also come across a fox snake which is almost identical in appearance to a rattle snake, but is not poisonous. Snapping, soft-shelled and painted turtles can be seen basking in the sun along the river or in one of the lakes.

The park is located in the Mississippi River Sandplains Landscape Region at the confluence of two great rivers, the Minnesota and the Mississippi. Most of the park is on the Minnesota River floodplain. The riverine environment hosts large cottonwood, silver maple, ash, and willow trees along the braided channels of the Minnesota River. Numerous picnic sites, a beach, and river and lake fishing invite visitors to enjoy the recreational opportunities offered by this historic and beautiful park nestled in the shadow of city freeways and airport flyways.

Recreation
Canoe on Gun Club Lake, play golf, swim in Snelling Lake, or hike on Pike Island where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers converge. Interpretive exhibits and films on display in the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center give visitors a good background on the history and resources of the park and area. Trails also allow visitors to hike up to the historic Fort Snelling for a view of military life in the 1820s. This is a day-use only park; no camping is available.

Location
Take the Post Road exit off Highway 5 and follow the signs.

Climate
Minnesota lies so far north that winter is the longest season of the year. There are many recreation pursuits to enjoy during this season, but be sure to dress appropriately so that you can enjoy them. Temperatures often dip below freezing during winter and the state receives an average of 50 to 60 inches of snow. Spring, summer and fall can be very wet and rain gear will be necessary for travel during these seasons. Spring and fall tend to be shortened with variable weather, due to long winters, but offer less crowded trails and campgrounds. Summer temperatures average between 70 and 85 degrees F. Night time temperatures dip near 55 and a light jacket is recommended. July and August are the height of the tourist season.

Address
101 Snelling Lake Road
St. Paul, MN 55111

Phone: 612-725-2389

  • Fort Snelling State Park Travel Q&A