- Max Trip Size: 15 people
In 2017, the City Pages voted Father Hennepin Bluff Park the Best Public Park and had this to say about its Lower Trail: “Down a few flights of wooden stairs on the eastern side of the Stone Arch Bridge lies a beautiful, unpolished gem of Mississippi riverfront. The lower trail of Father Hennepin Bluff Park is unlike any other park in the city. Dirt paths and unmaintained bridges crisscross an area of small, overgrown islands surrounded by a hydropower plant and a University of Minnesota research lab. There are no signs, and no picnic tables. In a city with a model park system — have you heard we’re number-one in the nation? — it’s easy to wonder, “Uh, should I even be down here?” Answer: Yeah, you should. Most downtown riverfront has been more or less scrubbed clean of the city’s gritty industrial past. The unfinished lower trail is still raw, and it’s beautiful.”
Meet at the WEST end of the Stone Arch Bridge by the Stone Arch Parking Lot (address: 100 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN). (Parking is $1.00 per hour.) We’ll try to look outdoorsy and “Roverish.” We’ll start hiking promptly at 6:30 p.m. First, we’ll explore the Lower Trail, where you’ll see ruins of Minneapolis’s famous mills and a view of the Stone Arch Bridge from below. With the time that’s left, we’ll hike through some of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, which includes Historic Main Street, the Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park, Father Hennepin Bluff Park, and Nicollet Island Park. (See what fellow Rover Beth Gauper says about the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail here.) We’ll plan to hike for about 90 minutes in total. The later trails will be fairly well-lit, so no need to bring a headlamp. Possibility to socialize at a place nearby afterwards..
Bring bug spray. Wear good shoes and dress for the weather. Let us know you’re coming, so we know to look for you. Finally, note that the lower trail is accessed by a set of steps and has uneven surfaces.