Mississippi River Source

The Mississippi River Headwaters Flow From Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park

The Mississippi river source is Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park. The Mississippi river headwaters is a popular Minnesota vacation destination.

Mississippi River Source

Itasca State Park was the first state park established in Minnesota. Visiting the Mississippi River headwaters, where you can walk across the river on rocks, is a tradition for those of us who live in Minnesota. The Mississippi River source also draws many out of state visitors. It's truly amazing to see the humble beginnings of the mighty Mississippi.

Explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft identified the waters flowing out of Lake Itasca as the source of the Mississippi River in 1832. Ozawindib, a member of Minnesota's Ojibwe tribes was Schoolcraft's guide.

The name, Itasca, from the Latin phrase Veritas caput meaning "true head" was chosen by Schoolcraft.


In the late 1800's Jacob V. Brower who was a land surveyor and historian verified Lake Itasca as the Mississippi River source and headed up the effort to create Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park and protect the vast pine forests from logging. The Red Pine, often known as the Norway Pine, is now the Minnesota State Tree.

Native American tribes have depended on the Mississippi River and its tributaries for thousands of years. They knew the river by various names however the Ojibwe word, misi-ziibi, meaning Great River, or gichi-ziibi, meaning Big River, ultimately gave the river its present-day name.

There is so much more to learn about the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River Museum located within the the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul is one of several places in Minnesota to participate in learning and events that celebrate the river.

Mississippi River Source

The Mississippi River headwaters is a small stream that almost everyone who visits Minnesota want to stroll across on the rocks or plank bridge. You can learn Mississippi River lore at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center. Display panels and exhibits will tell you about Henry Schoolcraft and other explorers as well as detailed information about the river. Just a few of those details here:

  • The Mississippi River runs through 10 states and defines portions of these states' borders.
  • A raindrop that falls into the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca will reach the Gulf of Mexico 90 days later. The raindrop will have travelled 2,552 miles and dropped 1,475 on its journey to the ocean.
  • The Mississippi River headwaters is considered to be the stretch of river from the Mississippi River source at Lake Itasca to St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.
  • The widest points of the Mississippi River are at Lake Winnibigoshish, near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, at over 7 miles across and at Lake Pepin at more than 2 miles wide.
  • The Mississippi, also known as "The Father of Waters" drains two-thirds of the United States.
  • The Great River Road, National Scenic Byway of the Mississippi River follows alongside the mighty river for more than 500 miles.
Mississippi River Source

Related Pages:

Mississippi River Boat Cruises

Map of Mississippi River

Minnesota Water Trails

Back to Mississippi River Facts

Visit Minnesota Home Page

Judith Ramsey - Publisher
Copyright © 2005 ~ 2014
All Rights Reserved

Recent Articles

  1. Minnesota Deals, Bargains and Coupons

    Nov 23, 14 12:31 PM

    Here are the Minnesota deals, bargains, coupons and cheap vacation ideas that will help you save money on your Minnesota vacation.

    Read More

  2. Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Inns

    Nov 22, 14 01:42 PM

    Charming Minnesota bed and breakfast inns make a perfect retreat or romantic getaway in Minnesota.

    Read More

  3. Romantic Getaway in Minnesota - Romantic Vacation Ideas

    Nov 15, 14 05:17 PM

    Plan a romantic getaway in Minnesota. Make your hearts beat faster with these romantic vacation ideas! Escape to a romantic hotel or bed and breakfast. Enjoy a romantic picnic.

    Read More

Minnesota Monthly







Holiday gifts at up to 90% off!


Buy Our State Parks EbookJust 7.99



Buy Our State Parks
E-book for Kindle

Minnesota State Parks:
From Afton to Zippel Bay


Buy Our State Parks
E-book for Nook

Minnesota State Parks:
From Afton to Zippel Bay


Twin Cities and Twin Ports
Coupon Book & Discount Card
Only at Entertainment.com




Follow Me on Pinterest


How I Built the
Visit Minnesota Website


Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Minnesota Visitor.