Living in Minnesota, the land of lakes and rivers, will introduce you to some impressive cascades and waterfalls. Popular spots include the beautiful North Shore of scenic Lake Superior, but there are many additional natural falls in the state. Here are seven waterfalls to visit within an hour of the Twin Cities.
Travel just 30 minutes out of the Twin Cities to check out this 35-foot waterfall in Hastings. The falls are located right next to the Ardent Mills facility, built in the 19th century as the first operating mill in the state. While you’re at it, spend some time in Vermillion Falls Park, which functions as a picturesque place for picnics and nature exploration.
Located in an urban setting in Minneapolis, the 53-foot waterfall at Minnehaha Regional Park is well known for its beauty. The park also features limestone bluffs and river overlooks as well as walking and biking paths, a disc golf course, a picnic area, and a playground for the kids. While you’re visiting the falls, make sure to also stop by the pergola garden or the wading pool.
Visit Caron Park, a small park near the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park near Northfield, about an hour drive from the Twin Cities. This is where you’ll find a secret, secluded area with a little waterfall. Visitors come to enjoy the quiet beauty of the falls, surrounded by a peaceful forest. The falls are also sometimes called Wellstone Falls.
Venture about 45 minutes from the Twin Cities and you’ll find Willow River State Park in Hudson, Wisconsin. Dropping down from multiple levels and cascading down around river rocks, the Willow Falls are an impressive sight to see, and you can even go behind the falling water. Take a day to explore the rest of the state park as well, including the 13 miles of hiking trails.
Head to the Stone Arch Bridge near the downtown area of Minneapolis to view the only major natural waterfall on the upper Mississippi River. Now part of the city’s historic district, the falls mark the birthplace of Minnesota and flour-mill industry. Check out the visitor center to learn more about the history of both the falls and the city.
Go on a treasure hunt to find the secret, spring-fed falls in St. Paul by the Mississippi River Boulevard. You can take a short hike through scenic woods to see the falls, picnic in the park area in the grass or under a shelter, or explore the 6 miles of paved trails. You can also plan to bike, fish, birdwatch, or take a boat out at the boat launch.
Head to Stillwater, about 30 minutes from the Twin Cities, to visit the Saint Croix Boom site waterfall. The Boom site is a historical marker for a place where logging companies would sort and process timber. Park in one of the three parking area options, explore the sandstone caves, and hike to the hidden falls.