Don't get dinged for car rental insurance you don't need or damage you didn't cause! Learn more.

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

4th Street East
Saint Paul, MN 55106

651-266-6400

The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, located along the north shore of the Mississippi River east of downtown Saint Paul, was a significant site for Native Americans. Wakan Tipi (Spirit House), a cave, is located in the sandstone bluff that rims the north edge of the park. When Jonathan Carver stopped here in late 1766, he described the cave's interior as having many incised figures cut into the soft stone. Later visitors to the cave, however, didn't describe these same markings; soft sandstone, flowing water, and ceiling collapses may have eroded or destroyed them.

This was also the site of the North Star Brewery built in 1853. The brewery was later bought by Jacob Schmidt, a famous name in Minnesota brewing history.

In the late 1880s, railroads snaked their way into the area following the easy grades of the flat floodplains and the future park became an industrial area and rail yard.

The area was largely abandoned in the 1970s, until being made a Saint Paul park in 2005. Volunteers, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, many neighborhood organizations, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area--some 25 stakeholders in all--are restoring the park to a mix of floodplain forest, prairie and oak savanna.

The 29 acre park is being restored to its native plant communities and the wildlife is returning. Two small ponds attract waterfowl and the uplands are home to grasslands bird species. Turkey vultures, bald eagles, and redtail hawks soar along the sandstone bluffs. A spring-fed stream runs through the property. Wakan Tipi (Carver's Cave) is barricaded and not accessible, although the entrance is visible across a pond. Signage near the parking lot helps interpret the site.

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today

JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR

  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Saint Paul
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner
JOIN NOW