Paddle the Mississippi at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County • No fee

Mississippi River Coon Rapids Dam West
The Mississippi River below the Coon Rapids Dam (see it in the background?)

Mississippi Gateway Regional Park is a great place to launch your canoe or kayak for a paddle on the Mississippi River.

What Makes Mississippi Gateway a Great Place to Paddle

Unlike Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park across the river, this park has canoe launches below the Dam. From here you can paddle to a variety of exit points downriver, depending on your desired length.

EASY ACCESS—The canoe launches are a short portage from the main parking lot next to the Visitor Center at the Park. There are two launches within a few yards of each other, both well-made and roomy. There’s plenty or space along the sandy bank to line up several boats if you have a large party.

coon rapids dam launch
Canoe or kayak launch
boat launch coon rapids dam west
Another launch a few yards downriver

From this point and downriver are several islands. You can choose your course. As long as you stay with the current you’ll eventually find yourself back on the main river just north of the Highway 610 bridge.

coon rapids dam map
From the launch, choose to paddle between islands or over on the main section of the Mississippi

KAYAK RENTALS—If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, you can rent either a single or tandem kayak from the self-serve Paddle Share Station located between the two launch points.

This is a super cool idea! A partnership between Three Rivers Park District and the National Park Service make these kayaks available. Just go to paddleshare.org for all the info and to make your reservation. BE SURE to read the Important Information section if you don’t want any unpleasant surprises 🙂

rental kayaks coon rapids dam west
Paddle Share kayaks  at the self-service rental station

There are eight Paddle Share stations on the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities Metro, including your choice of two you can exit at to return the kayak(s) you’ll rent here. There’s also info at the link above about ways to get back to your car once you come ashore.

2018 prices were $25 for a single kayak and $40 for a tandem (double). It doesn’t look like you have the option for a day-long paddle with these rentals, but the paddle station is very convenient if you want to be out for a couple hours.

How to Get There

Mississippi Gateway is a few minutes northeast of the Highway 610/Noble Parkway intersection. The address is 10360 West River Road in Brooklyn Park.

Sharon Brodin
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