Best Minnesota waterfalls

Minnesota Waterfalls on the North Shore

Minnesota waterfalls on the North Shore of Lake Superior to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area are some of the most scenic falls in the state. Although most falls lie within Lake County’s four state parks, a handful of hidden gems exist.

Play Video about gooseberry falls flow in the spring along the north shore of mn

How many MN waterfalls on the North Shore are in Lake County?

Did you know that Lake County contains more than 12 waterfalls– the most of any county in Minnesota? Of course, many sightseers are familiar with Gooseberry Falls and the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park; however, that’s just scratching the surface. Between the North Shore and the BWCAW, you’ll find many off-the-beaten-path trails and waterfalls to explore.

How to get to North Shore Waterfalls

Many waterfalls on Minnesota’s North Shore only require a short, pretty easy hike. However, you’ll have to endure a more strenuous hike or portage in the Boundary Waters to reach some falls. 

The following MN waterfalls are relatively easy to access:

  • Glen Avon Falls
  • Kawishiwi Falls
  • Caribou Falls Wayside
  • Beaver River Falls
  • Illgen Falls
  • Gooseberry Falls
  • Split Rock River Falls
  • Cascade Falls and Two Step Falls- Tettegouche

These next waterfalls will require a longer or more difficult hike:

  • George Crosby Manitou State Park
  • High Falls in Tettegouche

The Newton, Pipestone, Wheelbarrow, Basswood & Lower Basswood Falls in the BWCA are only accessible by portage.


You’ll find a variety of waterfalls on Minnesota’s North Shore:

  • Punchbowl falls (Illgen, Split Rock)
  • Plunge falls (High Falls, Gooseberry)
  • Multi-step falls (Gooseberry, Kawishiwi (BWCA)
  • Cascade Falls (Tettegouche, Glen Avon, Gooseberry)
  • Fan waterfalls (Caribou Falls)


In early April, the spring melt gives way to raging waterfalls that start to erase the last remnants of winter. Although several outdoor activities halt in early spring, exploring Lake County’s four Minnesota state parks and waterfalls can be a gratifying adventure full of breathtaking views. Additionally, the North Shore has fewer tourists in the spring, making it a great time to plan a waterfall tour along Lake Superior.

North Shore Waterfalls Map

MN NOrth Shore Waterfall locations

beaver river falls

Beaver River Falls

The Beaver River Falls, Located in Beaver Bay, flow from the Beaver River. You can view the roadside waterfall as you drive over the Beaver ...
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caribou falls wayside

Caribou Falls Wayside

Heading north on 61, just north of Little Marais, sits the Caribou Falls Wayside. Park at the rest area and take a half-mile hike along ...
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george crosby manitou state park in finland minnesota

George Crosby Manitou State Park

George Crosby Manitou State Park in Finland is a favored place by locals for its rich wilderness and serene beauty.  Hiking this rugged state park ...
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glen avon falls lake county mn north shore

Glen Avon Falls

Although typically unknown to the casual North Shore traveler, Glen Avon Falls, a hidden North-Shore gem, is a popular destination for anglers. Visitors can park ...
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gooseberry state park fifth falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park earns its popularity for its spectacular waterfalls, river gorge, and Lake Superior shoreline. Additionally, it features Civilian Conservation Corps log, stone ...
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Illgen Falls at Tettegouche State Park

Illgen Falls (Tettegouche)

To see Illgen Falls, designated as part of Tettegouche, you can take a short drive up HWY 1 to find the scenic falls that flow ...
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kawishiwi falls neary ely mn

Kawishiwi Falls

The Kawishiwi Falls (pronounced Ka-WISH-i-wee) flow from the dammed Garden Lake into Fall Lake and are located in the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minnesota, ...
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aerial view of split rock lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Gaze upon miles of North Shore coastline at the daring height of 130 feet off the Split Rock Lighthouse cliffside. Take in the charming architectural ...
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tettegouche state park high falls

Tettegouche State Park

At Tettegouche State Park, you’ll discover the spectacular overlooks at Shovel Point, featuring rocky cliffs and inland bluffs; the plunging 60-foot High Falls of the ...
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