Photo Credit: Explore Minnesota – Jim Henderson
4 Waterfalls Worth the Trip! Hit the Road for These Natural Wonders!
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also home to some spectacular waterfalls. Spring is a great time to get out and explore the Minnesota rivers and their rushing falls now full of the winter snowmelt. From state parks to inner-city, and from underground caves to sites of historic national significance, Minnesota waterfalls run the gamut of experiences.
About an hour’s drive north of Duluth, the Baptism River rushes towards Lake Superior and through Tettegouche State Park. Along its way through the park it makes several drops at Cascade Falls, Two Step Falls, and High Falls. High Falls is the tallest waterfall in Minnesota at 63 feet high! Not only are the falls breathtaking at this state park, but be sure to enjoy the gravel beach where the Baptism empties into Lake Superior, and take a hike along the lakeside cliffs. Starting at the Visitor Center, it’s less than a half-mile to the end of Shovel Point with striking lake views and you might even see some rock climbers on the cliffs.
Photo Credit: Explore Minnesota – Kurt Carlson
Near the heart of Minneapolis, you can step out of the urban and into this 167-acre family friendly park. The Minnehaha Creek drops 53 feet on its way to the Mississippi River that borders the park. Minnehaha Regional Park is Minneapolis’ oldest and truly its most popular park. It’s easy to see why. Bike trails (bike rentals available), a walking path, playgrounds and a wading pool for the kids. The playground received new inclusive playground equipment in 2019 and the wading pool has a fun stone structure spraying out water at the tots. Bring a picnic basket and this is a great space to spend a day.
Photo Credit: Explore Minnesota – Myra Smisek
Pipestone National Monument is home to a waterfall that is surrounded by pink quartzite rocks. The falls are unusual in that Pipestone is in the southwest cover of Minnesota where you would expect to see flat prairie land and not waterfalls. The history of the land by the falls is also unique and fascinating. It is steeped in history with over 3,000 years of archeological discoveries. The stone quarried here has been dug for centuries. The Native Americans believed it to be sacred and over 20 tribes from around the nation have oral histories of visiting this land and quarrying the stone for prayer pipes. Today, there is a paved ¾ mile-long walking trail that takes you past the falls and quarries. You may even see tribal members quarrying today.
Steep canyon-like walls carved by the power of rushing water and winding a pathway to a spectacular 60ft underground waterfall is what you will find at Niagara Cave. An hour-long tour travels nearly 200 feet below the surface. Expect significant stair climbing, yet very doable for the kids, this is a popular field trip for local schools. Discover fossils, stalagmites and stalactites, and even an underground wedding chapel. Above ground, the family will enjoy panning for gemstones and fossils in a mining sluice.
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