Things to see and do at Fort Snelling State Park
Open year-round, the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center sits atop a small grassy rise backed by forest. Inside, you'll find restrooms, a gift shop, a cozy fireplace for warming up on chilly days and interpretive exhibits that detail the ecology and history of the park. The visitor center is named for the man who helped establish, develop and protect the historical and natural resources found at the park.
Explore the loop around Snelling Lake (it takes about an hour) or choose from a one-, two- or three-mile loop around Pike Island with views of both the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.
The park's centrally located bike trails connect to the 53-mile long Grand Rounds Scenic Bikeway at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and the Dakota County Big Rivers Regional Trail. In the summer months, Nice Ride bike rentals are available at the Visitor Center.
You don't have to bring a license or any equipment to fish at this park! Minnesota residents can fish for free at Snelling Lake and most other water bodies located entirely within state park boundaries. If you want to use live bait, you'll have to bring it with you, but fishing kits—including a rod, a reel and a selection of artificial lures—can be checked out for free from the park office. Head to the fishing pier on Snelling Lake, cast from shore or rent a canoe. The panfish are plentiful.
Turkeys and deer will often greet you on your way into Fort Snelling State Park. Birding Kits are available at the park office to borrow for free. Wander through the park and keep watch for migrating birds. The trails along the Minnesota River and Snelling Lake are ideal spots to see bald eagles and other wildlife.