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Fort Snelling State Park

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Park Info

Fort Snelling State Park is located in the Saint Paul, MN on the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. It was named after the historic Fort Snelling, which was an important location during the US-Dakota War of 1862. You can learn more about that on the Minnesota Historical Society website here. There is a memorial to visit onsite, if you’d like to check it out. If you are looking to visit the namesake of the park, it is located outside of the park and has separate fees.

The park also offers hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, visitor center, interpretive exhibits, naturalist programs, gift shop, and rentals. In addition to those, the park offers a picnic area, picnic shelter, playground, volleyball, fishing pier, swimming beach, boat access, and a warming house for winter activities. There is no camping here, it is a day-use facility only.


If you’d like to hike this area, there are 18 miles of trails to hike throughout the park. None of it is marked as wheel-chair accessible on the website, however, it does say that the surfaces are mostly hard packed gravel. If you have equipment to maneuver that type of terrain, it may be something to check out.


Bike trails are available in the park. There are five miles of paved trail that connects to the Grand Rounds Byway and Big Rivers Regional Trail. There are ten miles of mountain biking trails available in the park too.

Winter activities

During the winter, there is 12 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required, so make sure to look into that before going out. Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park as long as you stay off of groomed trails.

All of this info came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, so credit where credit is due. Click here to view the original source.

Accessibility of facility


All of the parking, which I saw by the visitor center, picnic area, and the trailhead I started at were paved lots with clearly marked spaces. There were handicapped spots available at both the visitor center and trailhead. I didn’t pull into the picnic area, but I’d assume there were spots there too as this is a day use park in a popular area.


There are bathrooms in several areas of the park. I saw a large accessible port-a-potty at the trailhead by the fishing pier and saw three sets of bathrooms in buildings at the picnic area. I didn’t use them, so I couldn’t speak to their accessibility. However, if they are like most of the park facilities, they would be. The same goes for the flush toilets in the visitor center.

Getting to the trail

I did use AllTrails to navigate to the trailhead and with the map, it was easy to find the signage. There are maps at the visitor center, so you could get there without the GPS, but we know by now that my map reading skills are dismal. The trail I did started off near the fishing pier. All I did to get there was follow the road and I figuratively ran right into it.

Trail Info

I hiked the Snelling Lake Loop trail. It was about 2.3 miles in length and had an elevation of 52 feet. It took me about an hour to complete the loop. I started to the right of the loop and it started out as paved, went to hard packed gravel (like a driveway), and then went back to paved.

As you can see in the photos, the gravel portion was fairly flat and easy to maneuver as long as you are steady enough to be walking/rolling on that type of terrain. The paved portions were uneven and not easy to navigate if you are unsteady on your feet. I would say it would be difficult with wheelchair wheels too. There are also inclines and declines that were small but mighty. I made sure to take pictures of those as well to help with planning if you decide to check this trail out.

There were no places to sit and rest once you leave the trailhead by the fishing pier until you get to the picnic area. Then there are benches and picnic tables available. I didn’t use them, but I appreciated their presence.

The trail is located near Highway 5 and MSP, so if you’re looking for silence, this park may not be for you. I went in the early afternoon on a Tuesday and only saw a handful of people, so if you’re just wanting to be out in nature and not be around a bunch of people, it could work. Especially in late fall/early winter when the masses are not as interested in spending time outside. If you can’t tell from my photos, I liked the trees eve though they were mostly naked. This would be super nice in the spring/early fall when the trees are fully dressed. It would provide shade and/or beautiful colors to fawn over.

I saw wildlife this time! I saw a couple of gaggles of Canada geese, a deer (singular is weird, but the others weren’t visible), and two rafts of ducks. Yes, that is the word….apparently there are several names for groups of ducks depending on what they’re doing. These ones were in water, so they are rafts. Look it up so you can impress your friends with animal facts or win at trivia.

Overall, this trail fell into the easy category of my rating scale. I did not need my sticks or anything special to make it through this one. I did get short of breath throughout and have one coughing episode, however, this is the first exercise type activity post-Covid I’ve done so not too bad. It was chilly (~44*F along the river and around the lake) and I forgot my jacket at home. The cold, as well as getting a chiropractic adjustment for the first time since Covid, did have an affect on my mobility.

My chronic pain issues were a little sore after going so long without and then being put back in proper alignment (if you know you know). My hip and knee were complaining, but we all made it though just fine. One of those things where you just need to get things moving again. It’ll be fine in the next couple of days.

Do you spy Currently Unnamed CardyBear? If you spot him, put FOUND in the comments 😊

Be safe out there! REMEMBER YOUR MAPS AND PASSPORT STAMPS!! Seeyalaterbye <3

Also, if you feel called to help a sista out with her travels, check this out!

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