River at Crow Wing State Park

Crow Wing State Park


View of the Crow River within the park

About the park

Map of MN with star at Crow Wing State Park

Crow Wing lies at the confluence of the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers, giving it a rich biodiversity and cultural history. The park covers over 2,000 acres of river shoreline, prairie, forests, and wetlands.

People have been gathering here for ages. The National Register of Historic Places has established two historic districts dating back to ancient Native American life and early settlement. Today visitors can walk the self-guided, interpretive boardwalk along the river and imagine walking back in time to the fur-trade time when a small village thrived here.

Our Work by the Numbers



undertaken by P&TC
for this park



of land saved
for this park



of park's total acreage
P&TC assisted in adding


2.7 M

total value of
all land projects

Park Map Showing Project Sites

Our Project Stories

P&TCM Members at Crow Wing
Our members touring land saved (peninsula behind)
Intrepretive sign at Crow Wing State Park
Sign reads: "Town Well. Not only was water obtained at this well--town news ran a close second according to Mrs. Alby resident.
Map showing the 2013 project at Crow Wing State Park

Continuing the work to protect the peninsula

Project Years: 2008 - 2013

Project Acres: 60

Knowing how important the peninsula was to the integrity of the park and for preserving rich Minnesota history, we vigilantly monitored the land that had been subdivided in 1993 and that we were unfortunately unable to acquire then. This patience was rewarded 15 years later as we learned of two landowners who were interested in selling. We were able to strike a deal to acquire five more lots on the peninsula. Today, only two lots on the entire peninsula remain in private hands.

Group ride on Paul Bunyan State Trail in Crow Wing
Celebrating the extension of the trail into Crow Wing State Park

Connecting Paul Bunyan State Trail into the park

Project Years: 2003 - 2006

Project Acres: 133.8

This is a key stretch of land encompassing 3/4 of a mile along the Mississippi River that was critical for a number of reasons. Protecting the sensitive shoreline here improves water quality in the mighty Mississippi. This area is also important for the archaeological resources it protects. And it was necessary to complete the vision of extending the Paul Bunyan State Trail into the park. This extension was officially completed in 2014 and now offers bicyclists and other trail users one of the most scenic portions of the state trail.

Field in bloom with wildflowers

Protecting prairie near the entrance

Project Years: 2000 - 2003

Project Acres: 40

As visitors enter the park, using the main gate, they go past a healthy prairie lands. The lands used to be farmland until Parks & Trails Council worked to acquire them and worked with the DNR to immediately begin seeding it to prairie. Several years later the DNR was able to incorporate the officially into the state park. Today the Paul Bunyan State Trail traverses a corner of this land and provides a truly scenic ride.

Group of men walking along river
Parks & Trails Council members survey land on Island.

Saving the rich history of an island

Project Years: 1993 - 1994

Project Acres: 138

A housing development was beginning to take place on a key island and peninsula at the confluence of the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers in 1993 when a developer began selling off lots. That’s when the alarm bells began ringing in the Parks & Trails Council office, and we were pressed into action. We were able to step in and save the island and more than half of the peninsula at that time, however several lots had already been sold before we arrived on the scene.

The island had significant scientific, archaeological and natural value, and was slated for development. With a Native American camp and fur trading post, it was a good candidate for the National Registry of Historic Places. The land was purchased with funding spread over several closing dates, for a total of $380,000. Donations were obtained from several foundations and individuals.

Land Projects at Other Parks or Trails

Tour more of the land projects we’ve undertaken for parks and trails.

Related Projects