Hiking in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

Coon Rapids, Anoka County • Daily or annual Park Pass needed

hiking coon rapids dam
This Park has a combination of natural-surface and paved multi-use trails along the Mississippi River

Wait a Minute…Which Coon Rapids Dam Park??

There are actually two Coon Rapids Dam Regional Parks. Confusing, I know! The one we’re talking about here is on the east side of the Mississippi River and is part of the Anoka County Park system. The other is on the west side, and is part of Three Rivers Park District.

You can walk or bike from one to the other on top of the dam. But driving takes a little more work! Anyway…

aspen coon rapids dam park
A grove of large aspen trees graces the natural-surface trail

Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is nestled in one of Anoka County’s busiest areas. And yet it’s a gorgeous wooded oasis with several miles of Mississippi River shoreline.

Because of its location, it gets a lot of use—both from the local residents and those who drive to use it. The Park is connected to three major regional bike trails so you’ll find plenty of bikers here.

Why You’ll Love It

Hikers, runners and walkers will also love it because of its beauty. From the main parking lot you can walk along the top of the Dam itself, which is a pretty cool. First built in 1913, the Coon Rapids Dam used to supply the area with electrical power. It was converted to a Regional Park in 1978.

coon rapids dam
The Coon Rapids Dam across the Mighty Mississippi

Just on this side of the Dam is a peninsula—perhaps a quarter mile long—with a natural-surface Dog Walking trail. That would be a great spot to bring a camp chair and sit at the end and read! Very peaceful.

dog trail coon rapids dam
A “dog walking” trail—although everyone was walking their dogs on the other trails too! This follows a short peninsula.

A gorgeous wooded natural-surface trail starts at the Visitor’s Center and follows the ridge line to the north and west. Several spur trails connect to the neighborhood. It eventually meets up with the paved Mississippi River Regional Trail.

You can take that and loop back to the Visitor’s Center, which is close to the River. Or you can do what I did and take the cross trail back onto the natural surface trail.

No mileage is listed on the Coon Rapids Dam website or on the PDF map, but it’s in the neighborhood of 3-4 miles altogether.

Some of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing in snowy winters.

There are more paved trails to the east of the Visitor’s Center, too.

purple asters coon rapids dam
Purple asters flourish in the restored prairie sections of the Park (September)

What Else is There to Do at Coon Rapids Dam?

This park is one of Anoka County’s busiest. As mentioned above, biking is super popular because of the convergence of several Regional Trails.

The park also has paddling opportunities on the Mississippi River and grooms cross country ski trails in the winter months.

Click here for more hiking options in Anoka County.

NOTE: The $25 Annual Permit is good for all Anoka County, Washington County and Carver County Regional Parks. A great deal!

Sharon Brodin
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