The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota are known—perhaps more so to locals than non-natives—for having one of the most extensive park systems in the country, centering largely around the mighty Mississippi River. The National Park Service’s Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) covers a 72-mile stretch of the country’s most famous riverway, in addition to a small stretch of the Minnesota River, a prominent tributary. Places to visit along the river are abundant and varied, ranging from a 53-foot waterfall to a cold-water spring to a historic 19th century fort. The river is also dammed at several points, with floodwaters helping to sustain wetlands supporting a vibrant and recovering ecosystem. Running through the heart of a major U.S. metropolis, the MNRRA is not a place necessarily to find solitude, but the extensive biking and hiking trail network offers considerable opportunities for exploration.
See below for a photo gallery of sights within the MNRRA.