Canoe Minnehaha Creek
Minnehaha Creek quickly becomes dangerous during high runoff events and when creek discharge at Gray's Bay dam is higher than 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). See current Minnehaha Creek discharge rates on our homepage. Risk of illness and pathogens also increases during rainfalls and for 72 hours after rain stops. See our Water Pathogens Advisory for more information. Avoid the creek during any unsafe conditions.
|DISCHARGE (CFS*)||CREEK CONDITION|
|Less than 75 cfs||Poor|
|75 cfs - 150 cfs||Good|
|Greater than 150 cfs||Dangerous|
* Cubic Feet per Second
The flow--measured in cubic feet per second--of water being released from the dam can affect canoeing conditions. Other factors affect canoeing conditions and safety, so please be sure to use good judgment and common sense at all times.
There is never a guarantee that canoe trips on the creek will be free from hazards. Information provided on this site is for general advice only; users proceed at their own risk.
- Check the current creek discharge when planning a trip and before you set out.
- Use personal flotation devices (pdf) – life jackets – and other appropriate safety equipment.
- Consider the experience levels and abilities of those in your party and plan accordingly; use common sense and exercise caution.
- Be prepared for rapid changes in creek conditions, especially with high rainfall or following several rain showers in a short time.
- Watch for downed trees or other fallen objects that present navigational hazards.
- Be aware that some road crossings have very little clearance during high water conditions:
- Highway 169 in St. Louis Park (There is no portage around the highway)
- Wooddale Ave in Edina, just south of 50th Street
- Hiawatha Golf Course in Minneapolis (two crossings are impassable in high flows)
- Report hazards to MCWD or the city; these agencies cooperate in trying to remove obstacles (shoreline property owners are responsible for fallen trees).
- Check out other Canoe Safety Tips for kids and adults (Courtesy of Wisconsin DNR).
A nice time-lapse video of a paddler canoeing the final five miles of the Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis: