Minnesota Waterfalls

March 10, 2023

waterfalls in Minnesota

Whether they’re cascading down the side of a mountain or tumbling through the depths of a gorge, waterfalls are truly nature’s wonders.

The state of Minnesota has a slew of easily accessible waterfalls to explore, including Gooseberry Falls and Minnehaha Falls in the Twin Cities, but there are also some less-traveled, yet still spectacular options. We’ve rounded up our favorite waterfalls in Minnesota here to help you find your next summer adventure.

1. Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls, which is located in a state park near Two Harbors, Minnesota, is one of the most visited waterfalls in the region. It features three waterfalls, the Upper, Middle and Lower, which cascade down from a rocky gorge in a beautiful river.

These waterfalls are a must-see for anyone traveling to the North Shore of Lake Superior. They are not only impressive, but they also provide spectacular views of the world’s largest lake.

There are many activities to enjoy in Gooseberry Falls State Park. These include hiking, biking, camping and swimming.

If you want to take a short hike, look for the Falls Loop trail that circles around the Upper, Middle and Lower falls. This is a popular hike that will bring you to several overlooks, making it a great way to enjoy the falls and the river valley.

When visiting the falls, remember to follow a “leave no trace” policy. This helps protect the natural environment and allows you to enjoy the falls at your own pace.

2. Devil’s Kettle

Devil’s Kettle is one of Minnesota’s most intriguing waterfalls. Just a mile and a half north of Lake Superior, a massive piece of rhyolite rock juts out and splits the Brule River into two streams.

The eastern flow continues down the river, while the western flow surges into a pothole and disappears underground. This mysterious natural formation has stumped geologists and scientists for years.

Visitors and researchers have tried to figure out what happens at Devil’s Kettle, dropping ping pong balls, sticks and road signs into the hole and watching to see where they go. They’ve even tried dye tracing in hopes of figuring out what is happening beneath the surface.

Now, hydrologists think they’ve found the answer. They’ve measured the water volume before and after the kettle plunges into the Brule River, and it shows that the water is resurging in the river below. It’s an interesting discovery, and it may have solved one of the world’s oldest mysteries.

3. Two-Step Falls

Waterfalls are a natural wonder of the world, and Minnesota is loaded with them. From the 53-foot Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis to the 120-foot drop at Grand Portage State Park, the state’s waterfalls are a natural beauty that is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

If you want to see the highest waterfall in Minnesota, you must visit High Falls at Tettegouche State Park. These 63-foot drops are fed by the Baptism River, and you can reach them either by driving in or by taking a short hike to the falls.

If you’re still feeling the need to see more, don’t miss Two-Step Falls, a twin set of cascading drops that is about a half mile downstream of High Falls. You’ll need to hike up and down more than 200 stairs to get there, but it is a pleasant side trip that makes the effort worthwhile.

4. Nerstrand State Park

Located 45 miles south of Minneapolis, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a botanical reserve that showcases one of the last remnants of Minnesota’s temperate hardwood forests. With more than 50 types of wildflowers to see and a limestone waterfall, the park is well worth a visit.

The park is also a great place for birdwatching and offers 11 miles of trails to explore. The easy Big Woods Trail is a 1-mile loop that allows visitors to admire some of the park’s largest trees, while the more challenging Fawn Trail is 1.7 miles long and features stunning views of the park.

The park also has a campground, where campers can find individual or group campsites and enjoy amenities like picnic tables, sand volleyball, and horseshoe pits. Winter visitors can make the most of the snowfall by skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing in the park’s many trails. The frozen Hidden Falls waterfall is a popular spot for winter visitors, as it can freeze and create a spectacular show.


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