• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.


The Minnesota Valley NWR is located near Bloomington, Minnesota, in the valley of the Minnesota River, upstream of its confluence with the Mississippi River.

There is a mosaic of state, federal and private parks and wildlife refuges throughout the Minnesota River valley for many miles upstream. (There is also an adjacent network of parks and refuges along the nearby Mississippi River) There are many access points, parking lots, trailheads, etc. This entry is only for the Long Meadow Lake section of the NWR where the visitor center is located.


Notable Species

I visited this area in mid-February. I saw many Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker and Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch and Brown Creeper on the forest trails near the bluffs. I saw Black-capped Chickadee, American Crow and American Robin here and there, and Mallard flying overhead. There was one Belted Kingfisher.

On this winter day there were fewer birds out along Kelley Farm Road (Minnesota Valley Trail), where the trees are thinner. The grassy meadows, reed beds and the lake along the farm road are probably more populated in the warmer months.

The lake and river channel along the farm road were patrolled by Bald Eagle and American Crow. (The Bald Eagles are the main winter attraction in this preserve) There was a Wild Turkey on the far bank of the river.

This is one of many nice parks along the St. Croix, Minnesota and Mississippi rivers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. (The adjacent Black Dog Lake preserve on the South side of the river is more grassy and reedy, with fewer trees so it's very quiet in winter and probably better in warmer months.)


To do


Birds you can see here include:

To do

Other Wildlife

Deer, Rabbit, rodents and raccoons were also seen. About 2 miles down the farm road it crosses the landing path of one of the airport's main runways, so aluminum birds were flying low overhead every 2-5 minutes.

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

Near the visitor center there's a small loop trail on the side of the bluffs. There are also two long trails through the preserve - one along the river, and another in the forests at the base of the bluffs.

The river trail branches off from the loop trail and leads down the old Kelley farm road (trail) to the southwest, between Long Meadow Lake and the Minnesota River navigation channel. It is part of the longer Minnesota Valley Trail along the Minnesota River. This trail continues along the river bank down the length of Long Meadow Lake and beyond the end of the preserve at I-35W.

The bluff forest trail on the opposite (bluff) side of Long Meadow Lake cannot be accessed from the visitor center, but instead begins at the historic Bass Ponds access area off of Old Shakopee Rd. near the Cypress semiconductor factory, and runs all the way to I-35W at the Western end of the Long Meadow Lake section of the NWR, where it links to the river trail (Minnesota Valley Trail). Besides Bass Ponds, the bluff trail trail also has parking and access at the ends of Old Cedar Avenue and Lyndale Avenue. Note that the Old Cedar Avenue bridge is permanently closed to even foot traffic, though some maps don't reflect that yet.

The bluffside trail is better in winter.

Access and Facilities

The NWR office and visitor's center is located in Bloomington, MN, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. From I-494 in Bloomington, take the 34th street exit and go South a block or two, then take a left (East) onto American and follow the bend of the road around the Hilton.

The visitor center and trailheads are located across the street from the Hilton.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Content and images originally posted by bkrownd