The Great River Passage is an initiative by the City of Saint Paul to connect people to recreational and environmental amenities along its 26 miles of Mississippi riverfront. Over the next several years, St. Paul will be researching and implementing projects that "balance environmental stewardship with forward-thinking development" of the river. The goal of the Great River Passage is to drive economic growth, health, and neighborhood improvement in Saint Paul for generations to come.
Great River Tour
The Landmark Center offers a Great River Walking Tour as part of their weekly summer walking tours. During the summer of 2020, they created this virtual tour:
Parks & Trails Making up the Great River Passage
The Great River Passage is made up of seventeen city and regional parks connected by the 17 miles of river that flow through Saint Paul. Parks include:
- Shadow Falls Park
- Hidden Falls Regional Park
- Crosby Farm Regional Park
- Lilydale Regional Park
- Victoria Park
- Cherokee Regional Park
- Harriet Island Regional Park
- Upper Landing Park
- Raspberry Island Regional Park
- Kellogg Mall Park
- Lower Landing Park
- Indian Mounds Park
- Pigs Eye Regional Park and Archery Range
- Battle Creek Regional Park
- Highwood Hills Park
- Taylor Park
- Henry Park
There are also six major trails, including:
- Mississippi River Regional Trail
- Mississippi River Boulevard
- Robert Piram Regional Trail
- Great River Road
- Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail
- Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary & Regional Trail
Mississippi River Paddle Share
The Mississippi River Paddle Share is a new a program that works a bit like the Nice Ride program only with Kayaks. Like Nice Ride, Paddle Share is a self-service rental program. Simply reserve kayaks online and then use the code you receive to unlock your equipment. Saint Paul’s Paddle Share route starts at Hidden Falls Regional Park and goes down the Mississippi for six miles, ending at Harriet Island Regional Park.
The exciting part about this is that it originally looked like it was going to be an adult-only program, but it turns out it is family-friendly. While you must be and experienced kayaker and at least 18 to rent a kayak, the experienced adult can bring along a younger, less experienced person in a 2-person kayak.
This program isn't for everyone and beginners are encouraged to try other paddle programs. If you are interested, take some time to review their website for all the rules and important information.
Great River Passage Stats
The Great River Passage is made up of:
- 17 miles of Mississippi River
- 16 parks
- 10 major trials
- 4 lakes
- 4 historic and preserve sites
- 2 dog parks
- 1 archery range
Future Great River Passage projects include:
- Build an Environmental Learning Center along the Mississippi River in partnership with the National Parks Service. This center would aim to create experiences on the river that promote good stewardship and teach and honor this history, ecology and cultural significance of the river. This may even become the NPS headquarters.
Developing the Mississippi River Paddle Share, an adult (18+) kayak route along the river in Saint Paul -Done. See Above
- Re-imagining the use of the Saint Paul Riverboat
- Creating connections within Pigs Eye Regional Park and to nearby trails and east side destinations
- Create the River Balcony -- a paved public walk along one and a half miles of urban river shore. This would connect parks, landmarks, businesses and other spaces.
- Build the East Side River District - This would work to redevelop an area that has been neglected and compromised while connecting it to the rest of the city in a way that respects sacred sites and sensitive ecological systems.