Best Waterfalls in Minnesota


Minnesota is home to some amazing waterfalls. Yes, of course they freeze in the wintertime. But the summer and fall months are delightful times to explore some of these falls. Take a hike and explore the local area to better understand how some of these falls came to be formed. But if you are in a rush, almost all of these destinations can be viewed without a big time commitment. Gooseberry, Vermillion, Minnehaha and St. Anthony Falls just require short walks to see the amazing rushing waters. 

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls is an easy favorite for many. Located along Lake Superior on Minnesota’s North Shore these spectacular falls are easily accessible off of scenic Highway 61. While there be sure to take the short hike to Lake Superior and view the amazing cliffs of basalt lava flows. 

There are actually three different sets of falls on the Gooseberry River- the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Plus visitors can also connect to the Superior Hiking Trail for a much longer epic journey through the area. And don’t miss all of the rustic CCC buildings that were constructed in the 1930’s. 

Learn more about Gooseberry Falls and plan a visit! 

Vermillion Falls

Located in historic Hastings the falls are almost tucked away out of view from most. A short walk rather than a sort of hike is all that is needed to view these falls from the parking lot of the park. Capturing an image of the falls in all its glory can be somewhat tricky as the falls are essentially wedged next to the mill and buildings that once harnessed the power of the mighty falls. If you have more time take some of the trails surrounding the grounds for a better view! 

Learn more about Vermillion Falls and plan a visit! 

Hidden Falls

Located in Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul this beautiful park and waterfall is situated along the Mississippi River. Unfortunately there are no signs available to help guide you to the falls, perhaps the city wants them to remain hidden? Park in the North parking lot as the trail to the falls is best accessed at this point. Beyond the grassy area and into the trees you’ll come across the markings of the path. Stone work from the WPA gives an extra added depth of history to this beautiful place. During our visit we couldn’t find the trail initially, but usually someone at the park can help point you in the right direction. 

Learn more about Hidden Falls and plan a visit! 

Cascade Falls 

No need to even enter the state park in order to see Cascade Falls. A pull-off parking lot allows visitors to see the falls the quickest way possible along scenic Highway 61.  However, if you have more time the series of trails in the area is a great adventure. Take the Cascade River Lower Loop to see the rushing water tumble over the ancient volcanic rocks. 

Learn more about Cascade Falls and plan a visit! 

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls is one of the most beloved sites of Minneapolis. Hike along the trails in the area or merely park and walk up to the falls to glimpse this stunning site. In the summer months the hardest part of the adventure is actually finding a place to park in this very popular spot. But don’t rule out a wintertime visit to the falls when the falls freeze it can also make for a frozen magical site. 

Learn more about Minneahaha Falls and plan a visit! 

Fairy Falls

This relatively unknown waterfall is a secret gem of Stillwater. Lacking some of the attention and care that most scenic spots receive there are no signs or even a parking lot to visit the site {park on the side of the road at Orwell Ave}. Luckily a local group has formed the The Friends of Fairy Falls to help ensure the area is clean of trash and is working on making paths more suitable for the masses. Tucked under a rocky shelf the best part of the trail leads to the waterfall along a narrow path. 

Learn more about Fairy Falls and plan a visit! 

High Falls 

Take the hike along the Baptism River to see not only High Falls {highest waterfall entirely in MN}, but it’s less popular sibling Two Steps Falls. Considered the main destination at Tettegouche State Park be sure to stop by the new visitors center to be inspired by the rustic nature of the area and to grab a map. Walk a bit beyond the falls to take the swinging bridge over the Baptism River. 

Learn more about High Falls and plan a visit to Tettegouche State Park! 

St. Anthony Falls 

While the falls here are a site to see, it’s rather the entire scenic area and it’s rich history that leave visitors captivated. {Learn about the Mill City Museum} Walk along Stone Arch Bridge {an amazing site itself} to view the falls and enjoy a city stroll. Surrounded by the remains of the powerful mill buildings, the origins of some of Minnesota’s largest companies, the area is a popular place for many. 

Learn more about St. Anthony Falls and plan a visit!  

Hidden Falls at Nerstrand Big Woods

A one mile loop trail will take you to this waterfall. Just as the title of the park would suggest the trail is marked by large trees and makes for a fantastic nature hike anytime of the year, but certain in the autumn. Step away from city life as this park is outside of Northfield {a destination itself}, but is an easy drive for anyone in the Twin Cities area. 

Learn more about Hidden Falls at Nerstrand Big Woods and plan a visit! 

Phalen Falls 

Lake Phalen is a popular local favorite. Take a sunny summer day walk around the paved path and somewhat near the China Garden you’ll find Phalen Falls. Recently revived the falls make for a pleasant addition to the beauty of this area and do no require any off-path exploration. Bike the trail or even take a swim in the beach area nearby as viewing the falls will likely only last a few minutes. 

Learn more about Phalen Falls and plan a visit! 

Other waterfalls to consider! High Falls at Grand Portage State Park, Minneopa Falls near Mankato, and Devil’s Kettle Falls at Judge C.R. Magney State Park. 


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