About Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary is located just east of downtown along the east side of the Mississippi River. The park features 450 million-year-old limestone and sandstone bluffs, spring-fed wetlands, excellent bird watching opportunities, rich Native American history, and beautiful views of the downtown skyline and Mississippi River. An outdoor classroom and interpretative markers provide added educational opportunities. There is no access to the Mississippi River from Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary due to the railroads still in use. 

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Restoration 

  • After a century of industrial use, the land lay vacant and blighted until a coalition of East Side and Lowertown residents formed the Lower Phalen Creek Project and worked with the City of Saint Paul to launch an effort to purchase the land and transform it into the 27-acre Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.
  • Bluff restoration work at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Indian Mounds Regional Park began in April 2004.
  • Today, project partners are restoring the land's ecology and working with Dakota people to interpret Carver's Cave/Wakan Tipi, a sacred area in a corner of the sanctuary.
  • Stormwater that previously flowed into the Mississippi River via storm sewers, is now recaptured by native plants and is stored in three separate clear water ponds and adjacent wetlands.
  • Mulch, incorporated into existing sterile soil, promotes the growth of new plantings.
  • Limestone rock slabs previously used in railroad operations form a waterfall, stone bridge, stairway and ponds.
  • Site remediation and stabilization work is ongoing.
  • Restoration priorities in 2005 focused on combating invasive species, slop stabilization, erosion control, and planting 7.5 acres of native trees.
  • Learn more about ongoing restoration efforts on the Lower Phalen Creek Project website including the planning, design, and construction of the Wakan Tipi Center, a project that will inform visitors about this sacred landscape though immersive experiences in Daḳota history, lifeways, language, and values.


Benches, Bird Watching, and Hiking Trail