Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Coldwater Spring






National Park Service logo




National Park Service




Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) is a 72-mile, 53,775 acre corridor along the Mississippi River. It stretches in the north from Weigh Station Highway Park on US Highway 10 in Ramsey to the Dakota County/Goodhue County border in the south. MNRRA, pronounced “minnra”, is a partnership park, a new and unique kind of national park. Aside from the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center, Coldwater Spring is the only parcel of land within the MNRRA owned by The National Park Service.




The site that is now Coldwater Springs was formerly owned by the Bureau of Mines. In 2011 and 2012 the buildings were demolished, invasive species were removed, trees were planted, and native plants were seeded. The goal was to restore the oak savanna, 12 acres of prairie, and one acre of wetland.












Coldwater Spring Trail Map

Bruchure and Map


Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates




29 acres




5601 Minnehaha Park Dr S
St Paul, MN 55111

N44 54.114, W93 11.909




6 a.m. - 10 p.m.




No fee


Driving Directions

  Area and County  

Get driving directions from Google Maps to this destination from any address, and send those directions to your phone.

          Hennepin County  
          Metro Area  

Hiking Trails


About 1 mile




No hunting


Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

  Ecological Subsection    

Anoka Sand Plain

  Land Type Association    

Mississippi Sand Plain


Native Plant Communities*


Elm - Basswood - Black Ash - (Hackberry) Forest

Southern Mesic Savanna


  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      

Natural Features








Visitor Photos

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Kirk Nelson


Coldwater Spring was added to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area in January 2010, with the goal of restoring the landscape to an oak savanna/prairie complex.



Park Entrance

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Parking Area

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Info Center

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Boundary Marker

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Building Remains

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

View from the Remains

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      


    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Oak Savanna Restoration

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Old Spring House

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos


    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Spring House

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring   MNRRA, Coldwater Spring  

Urban Wildlife

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Winter Trails

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring   MNRRA, Coldwater Spring  
    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Minnehaha Trail

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      

Dog Park

    MNRRA, Coldwater Spring      



  Bio Blitz at Coldwater Spring
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Bio Blitz at Coldwater Spring  
  Big Sit - Cold Water Spring
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Big Sit - Cold Water Spring  

Birding big sit at Cold Water Spring part of the Mississippi National River Recreation Area.

  Coldwater Spring Tour - Oak Savanna
Mississippi Park Connection

Published on Mar 30, 2016

For centuries, Coldwater Spring has played an important role in the lives of people living along the Mississippi River. Today, it's a national park boasting restored oak savanna and prairie. Take a walk and learn about its important place in Minnesota history.

Visit http://www.rangeroncall.com/ to explore more stories of the Mississippi River.

  Coldwater Spring: Birthplace of MN
Minnesota Humanities Center

Uploaded on Jan 8, 2010




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Coldwater Spring

Published on Jul 9, 2012

Check out the story of Coldwater Spring, part of our urban national park

  Mni Owe Sni:Coldwater Spring
Emily Daggett

Published on May 5, 2015

  Coldwater Spring Park-Minneapolis Minnesota time lapse
Douglas Feltman

Published on Jun 30, 2014

I was browsing online maps of the cities and found we have a new park currently in restoration, Coldwater Springs Park is located south of Minnehaha Falls and across Hiawatha Ave from the Vet Hospital. The natural spring was a sacred place to native Indians with rival tribes being at peace when visiting the spring. For years it was State property with very little public access. It is now open to the public with limited parking.

Music by Dexter Britain

  Coldwater Spring Wildflowers vs Shepherds
1st508th Airborne

Published on Jul 22, 2016

Footage of my walk through the Coldwater Spring Wildflowers with my 24wk Blue Bay Shepherd Kurgan and my 2yr German Shepherd Lobo.

For more information about Coldwater Spring...




  The Coldwater Spring Willow Weeps No More
Michael McIntee

Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011

The giant willow by the source of historic Coldwater Spring has been cut down. The National Park Service removed the tree claiming it was damaging the nearby reservoir. The tree was also showing its age with decaying wood, cracks and weak branches.

The spring the willow long has marked has been there an estimated 9,000 years and was long a sacred site for the indigenous people, probably preceding the current Anishinaabe and Dakota people. It was once Camp Coldwater, an adjunct to Fort Snelling. Troops and settlers were quartered there and water was hauled up to the fort, with a pumping system deployed in later years. It was a source of water for the fort from 1820 to 1920.

From the 1950s to 1991 it was an important Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines research center. The site was transferred to the Park Service in 2010. When MnDOT rebuilt the Highway 55 interchange they did so without the required environmental assessment, claiming that they would prevent any harm to the spring. Their illegal action caused a loss of more than 27,500 gallons a day. The spring is currently flowing about 90,000 gallons a day. Much has been written about the site: A history of Camp Coldwater. Friends of Coldwater. Minnesota Public Radio did a major feature on it in 2006.

Susu Jeffrey, found of Friends of Coldwater, led a group to visit the old willow before it was to be removed. She has lobbied, worked and written for the preservation of this historic area. One example. The visitors sprinkled a circle of corn meal around the tree, celebrating its life and vitality. Some branches were clipped to be sprouted for future descendants of the tree. Plans for development remain uncertain as Congress wrestles wit budget issues and there is a group in Congress that wants to cancel all such project. Thus the sacred spring and its environs are left in disarray.




Visitor Sightings

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Kirk Nelson



  Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)   Trumpeter Swan  


  southern blue flag (Iris virginica var. shrevei)   southern blue flag  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings





Seven bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:


Henslow’s Sparrow (Centronyx henslowii)

Special Concern

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Birds List

eBird Field Checklist




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fishes List


Fungi and Lichens


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Elm - Basswood - Black Ash - (Hackberry) Forest MHs49a

Southern Mesic Savanna UPs24




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Amphibians and Reptiles List





Created: 8/21/2016

Last Updated:

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