The Heron Trip
Birds and the City
On this super fun adventure... you'll visit the great blue heron rookery up close with a dramatic view of the Minneapolis skyline in front of you. The sights and sounds of the heron rookery are at their height in spring and early summer, when hundreds of these prehistoric looking birds are on the islands raising their young. But floating down the river while gazing up at the enormous treetop nests is incredible at any time of year. In addition to great blue herons, you'll see great egrets, cormorants, and other species.
As fall approaches, many birds like herons, ducks, and geese gather to find milder climates and more abundant food sources. The Mississippi flyway is one of the largest migratory routes in North America and provides crucial stop over points and abundant habitat along the way.
This five-mile, self-guided trip takes approximately 2 -2.5 hours, depending on pace. This is a shorter version of our See the City trip and also a great trip for photographers. You'll start at Riverfront Park in Fridley and end at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis.
This historically industrial stretch of river is in the midst of much change today. First you'll pass by the Minneapolis public waterworks, a complex built in 1871 and still operating today to supply drinking water from the Mississippi to the city. Also along the way check out new development taking place on the west side of the river, at the site of the former Upper Harbor Terminal. Across the river, the heron rookery occupies two islands adjacent to the power plant. The Riverside Power Plant, built in 1911, was the oldest continuously operating coal-burning power plant in the U.S. before it was converted to natural gas by Xcel Energy in 2009.
This is a self-guided, downriver, approximately 5-mile trip. All skill levels are welcome. We include a short, on-shore paddling lesson for those who want one. A trip map will be provided.
Guided trips may be scheduled for groups of 4 or more people.
Please note that all river trips require that you arrange transportation for yourself at both ends. Most groups use two cars and leave one at the end and carpool to the start; or many use Uber, and some bike or have friends/family drive them. We meet you at the start with the kayaks and pick them up at the end.
See the City from the Mississippi video: https://youtu.be/REJ3LqZrYSE