Minnehaha Park is at the jct. of Hiawatha Ave. and Minnehaha Pkwy. along the Mississippi River. The highlight here is Minnehaha Falls, made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha.” A statue depicting the Hiawatha and Minnehaha characters stands on a small island on Minnehaha Creek. The 1906 Longfellow House, a 2/3-scale replica of the poet's Cambridge, Mass. home, has visitor information.
Pedestrian and bike paths crisscross the lushly wooded park, which contains three gardens as well as basswood, cottonwood, elm, hackberry, oak and silver maple trees. Near the falls in an area considered sacred to Native Americans is a mask of Chief Little Crow; other sculptures on the grounds honor such notable figures as Gunnar Wennerberg, a Swedish poet and composer, and John H. Stevens, who built the first wood frame dwelling west of the Mississippi.
The 1850 John H. Stevens House, moved from its original location near St. Anthony Falls to 4901 Minnehaha Park Dr., is allegedly the site where the name “Minneapolis” was proposed for the new settlement. Facilities at the Wabun picnic area include a wading pool, disc golf course, volleyball court and bike/pedestrian trail.
Food is available seasonally, as are bicycle rentals.
Picnicking is permitted. Food is available. Time: Allow 45 minutes minimum.
Park admission free. Stevens House $3; $1 (ages 5-18).
Hours: Park open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. (also 10 p.m.-midnight in developed areas). Longfellow House Visitor Center open Sat.-Sun. and holidays 10-8, Memorial Day-Labor Day. Stevens House open Sun. and holidays noon-4, Memorial Day to mid-Sept.