22 Aug St. Paul Adventures: Kayaking on the Mississippi River
We’ve done quite a bit of urban kayaking lately, and one of the most recent excursions was paddling in our hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. We went kayaking on the Mississippi River and Minnesota River with Minnesota Adventure Co. and had a wonderful morning out on the water.
Although we’ve kayaked and canoed all throughout the Twin Cities, we had never been out on the waters of St. Paul. Last summer, we went kayaking on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, so it was about time we made our way to the other side of the river to paddle in St. Paul.
As we made our way to the meeting point for our tour, we were a bit nervous about the weather. The skies were grey and it looked like it could start raining at any minute. We crossed our fingers and hoped that the rain would hold off for a few hours.
Our paddle session started at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. We met our group at Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul and jumped in a bus to get to our starting point: Fort Snelling State Park.
Fort Snelling State Park is filled with hiking, biking and ski trails, and it is also home to historic Fort Snelling. It’s a great starting point for a paddling excursion in the city. We launched our kayaks in the Minnesota River and paddled past lush green trees and beautiful, natural landscapes.
Even though we were kayaking in the heart of St. Paul, it didn’t feel like it. To start, we were paddling through the waters of a state park. In addition to the state park, the banks of the Mississippi River are protected by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA). MNRRA is a national park that protects 72 miles of shoreline along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Because of these two parks, we were welcomed with an abundance of nature that winds through the city.
When the weather cooperates, both rivers are extremely calm and perfect for a relaxing paddle. Even with the cloudy skies and impending storm, we lucked out with calm water. Throughout our paddle, we saw plenty of birds, and even a Bald eagle! We made our way under bridges and past some of the prettiest landscapes in the city.
The calm waters gave us plenty of time to chat with our fellow paddlers. We had a great time talking with Conor, one of the owners of Minnesota Adventure Co., and we enjoyed hearing about their plans to expand their tour offerings in the upcoming years. Mountain biking adventures and overnight paddle tours are a couple of additions that might be on their radar in the future!
After paddling around six miles downriver, the St. Paul skyline started to come into view. The bridges over the Mississippi framed the city quite nicely, and we couldn’t resist stopping for a photo break.
Right before we got to the heart of downtown, it was time to land our kayaks on the shores of Harriet Island where our adventure started. Luckily, we dodged the rain (minus a little sprinkle here and there), and even with the clouds, it ended up being a beautiful morning kayaking in St. Paul.
Minnesota Adventure Co. offers a variety of tours each weekend. The three tours—Mississippi, Minnehaha, and Hudson Bay—take kayakers of all levels to some great kayaking spots in the area. We definitely have our eyes on the Minnehaha tour for our next paddle session in the area!
Have you ever been kayaking on the Mississippi River?