It's not as splashy and well-known as Minnehaha Falls, its close neighbor across the river, but the Hidden Falls in St. Paul have their own charm. Take a short hike through the woods to find the secret, spring-fed waterfall that hides just below Mississippi River Blvd. There is plenty of grassy space and areas to picnic in Hidden Falls Regional Park, plus you can get down close to the river on a quiet sandy beach. Enjoy the trails year round for seasonal views. It is a great park to visit for a low key family fun day. There is a restroom building and off-street parking is available Note that the park sometimes floods in the spring and at that time Hidden Falls closes.
7 Ideas for Family Fun at Hidden Falls Park
- Pack a Picnic. There are grills available near the pavilion if you would prefer a hot meal.
- Hike to the Waterfall. While perhaps not as grand as Minnehaha Falls, kids still love this hidden waterfall and the walk is an easy walk from either the parking lot or from River Road. The path is easy to find from the parking lot. However, this is a "hike" in that it is not stroller-friendly.
- Watch the Goats when they are onsite.
- Enjoy the "beach" There is a quiet, sandy beach of sorts, but it is not guarded and the undercurrent can be dangerous. If you choose to wade or swim, we would highly recommend life jackets for small children and that an adult supervise and be aware of the currents. This may be best for a bit of splashing about from the safety of the sand.
- Go Fishing. The DNR recommends this park as a Fishing in the Neighborhood spot. Because this is part of the Mississippi River, their is a great variety of fish. The best fishing spots are are upstream from the parking lot
- Have a bonfire. There is a public fire pit near the river.
- Take a Family Bike Ride. Anne lists this as one of The Best St Paul Bike Trails for Families.
- Try a FREE Fitness in the Parks Class during hte summer. These all ages classes are free and open to the public. Just show up. Find the latest schedules here.
Hidden Falls Regional Park & Trails Map
Download the Park Map to see both the bike and dirt walking trails as well as the location of other park amenities.
Annual Events at Hidden Falls
Besides being a great place for family picnics, this park is the site of annual events like National Public Lands Day and the Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza by BareBones Productions. Each year, this FREE family friendly pageant turns the celebration of Halloween into a community art event without a commercial focus.
Watch for Goats at Hidden Falls Regional Park
During summer months, the St. Paul goats rotate between Hidden Falls, Indian Mounds Park and Crosby Regional Park to help control invasive buckthorn. This program has been such a success that several other municipalities have followed suit. The Great River Passage website keeps an updated page with the location of the goats each summer.
Coming Improvements to Hidden Falls Regional Park
The City of St. Paul has recently completed the Park Master Plan, which will guide park improvements, natural resources management, and make recommendations for changes within or adjacent to the park. Some of the upcoming improvements will be to add a nature play area and more restrooms, upgrade the utilities for cultural events like the Halloween Spectacular, to protect and restore natural resources, and to improve the trails (walking, skiing & biking) and connect them to other trails. They may add a river learning center. They are also considering a pump track for bicycles, but this idea isn't even ranked, so don't hold your breath.