#FindYourPark on a Bike


Since the 1850s, Nicollet Island was proposed to be which of the following:

  • the site for a state capitol building

  • an area for sanctioned prostitution

  • a park with an olympic-sized stadium

  • a European style amusement park

  • a riverfront learning center

  • an “experimental community” complete with sauna baths and geodesic domes powered by wind and water

Answer? All of the above! Just imagine the landscape, culture and vibe of the banks on either side of Nicollet Island, had any one of these ideas come to fruition. Legalized prostitution in the heart of Minneapolis since 1910? A roller coaster as tall as the Foshay in the 1960s? Hippies running around in sauna baths on the riverfront in the 1970s?!

Bike with a Ranger will take you on a wild adventure through time to explore the city’s (actual) history. A park ranger’s interpretation of sites along the way will help you imagine what life and industry were like along the Mississippi River, from the time of the nation’s first people to modern day Minneapolis.


2019 Bike with a Ranger (The Commons) Dates:

What this route doesn’t cover in distance easily makes up for in explosive history, the power of water, and a river that connects it all. The key feature of this Bike with a Ranger route, which starts at The Commons in downtown Minneapolis, is St. Anthony Falls. It’s the only waterfall on the entire Mississippi River and gave Minneapolis it’s nickname: Mill City.

St. Anthony Falls powered the mills that once fed the world, making Minneapolis the biggest flour producer in the world by 1880.  Participants will also visit the only site that utilizes the power of the falls to generate electricity today. A glimpse into the river’s past will take you to points that look toward the future, where kayak stations have replaced sawmills, and reverence and recreation have replaced industry.