Nature February 02, 2017
Here’s The Perfect Weekend Itinerary If You Love Exploring Minnesota’s Waterfalls
Despite how it may seem, Minnesota is actually one of the larger states. It ranks 12th in size by total land area, beating out states more commonly thought of as “big,” like Georgia and the Dakotas. And because of our state’s superlative size, there is
tons of nature to explore. It’s almost overwhelming, really. That’s why we came up with this weekend itinerary to help you see some of Minnesota’s most incredible wonders: its waterfalls.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
This route along the North Shore is pretty short, but don't let that fool you. Over less than 200 miles, this trip is jam-packed with more than half a dozen waterfalls. Between driving, hiking to the falls, and taking some time to enjoy the scenery, you'll have quite the busy weekend. We also threw in a great bed and breakfast and a restaurant with a waterfront view that will help you get into the spirit of the trip. Find driving directions
1. Gooseberry Falls - Two Harbors
This trip kicks things off with a stop at what might be Minnesota's most famous waterfall. It's located in Gooseberry Falls State Park, just a short hike down a trail near the parking lot. The great thing about Gooseberry Falls is that there are many other hiking trails that will take you to some lesser-known parts of this park. You'll definitely want to bring a camera for this one - it's a Minnesota classic.
2. Baptism River High Falls - Silver Bay
Next up, the High Falls of the Baptism River in Tettegouche State Park. From the parking lot, you'll find trails to not one, but three waterfalls in this state park. Seeing them all is certainly ideal, but if you're crunched for time, rush to the High Falls. At 60 feet high, this is the tallest waterfall contained entirely within Minnesota.
3. Illgen Falls - Silver Bay
Also in the Tettegouche area, Illgen Falls is a great quick stop along this this trip. Just walk a few feet down a trail near Highway 61 to catch a glimpse of the Baptism River
before it makes its way over the high falls. This is a great quick stop - so quick, in fact, that you can't not visit.
4. Cross River Falls - Schroeder
Drive about 30 minutes north on Highway 61 and you'll come to the next set of can't-miss waterfalls. The Cross River Falls is a smaller one, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. Fewer people visit this falls than more famous stops like Gooseberry, so you can expect a peaceful walk through nature to get to it. It's just south of Temperance River State Park, just a couple miles down a trail accessed near Wayside Park in Schroeder.
5. Hidden Falls - Schroeder
Another of the more famous falls on this trip, the falls along the Temperance River are quite the sight to see. There are a few waterfalls at the state park, but the Hidden Falls may be the most well-known. A trail along the gorge offers views of gorgeous rock formations, and a bridge over the falls allows for a picturesque view from above.
6. Bally House Bed and Breakfast - Grand Marais
By now, all that trekking probably made you tired. Camping in any of the state parks is a great idea, or you can opt for a more luxurious retreat at one of the resorts near Lutsen. But we prefer a more relaxed approach, like a stay at this bed and breakfast in Grand Marais. This hundred-year-old home first opened as a B&B in 2015, making it one of the newer hotels in the area. But even though it's new, it has loads of century-old charm. Plus, its location puts you at a great place to start the next day's adventures. Find more information about booking a stay
7. Angry Trout Cafe - Grand Marais
But what about dinner? A stop at this well-known Grand Marais restaurant will fill you up - and then some. While it doesn't have waterfall views, it does have a spectacular view of Lake Superior. Watch the waves come in as you eat, and reminisce about the gorgeous nature you saw while traveling there.
8. Upper Falls of the Brule River - Grand Marais
When you wake up the next morning, get ready for some of the most beautiful waterfalls of the whole trip. The first stop of the day is Judge C.R. Magney State Park, just north of downtown Grand Marais. Here, you'll find the Brule River as it crashes over jagged rock. You'll find it less than a mile from the parking lot, along the same trail that will take you to the Devil's Kettle.
9. Devil's Kettle - Grand Marais
As one of Minnesota's most famous - and most mysterious - natural wonders, the Devil's Kettle is a must. And if you're already seeing the Upper Falls, you might as well continue on a little further to the Kettle. This strange attraction has eluded experts for years. Where does the water go? Chances are, you won't solve the mystery. But it'll sure be an interesting sight.
10. High Falls of the Pigeon River - Grand Portage
Once you get your fill of the Brule River - if that's even possible - get back in the car for your last stop. About an hour up the road, Grand Portage State Park offers what may just be the most spectacular waterfall on the whole trip. At 120 feet high, the High Falls of the Pigeon River is the tallest waterfall located at least partially in Minnesota. If you've ever dreamt of seeing Niagara Falls but can't justify a trip to New York, this is your spot. The hike to the High Falls is only about half a mile, but if you're looking for a more rugged experience, try the five-mile trip to the Middle Falls.
What do you think? Does this trip sound like something you’d want to take? For more fun road trip ideas, check out our previous article,
A Haunting Road Trip Through Minnesota Towns To Take If You Dare.