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Minnesota Waterfalls
From the North Shore to the BWCAW

Waterfalls

Some of the best waterfalls in Minnesota reside in Lake County. From Lake Superior’s North Shore to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, you’ll discover a plethora of scenic waterfalls! Although most fall within Lake County’s four state parks, there are a handful of hidden gems throughout the county.

Did you know that there are more than 12 waterfalls in Lake County – the most of any county in Minnesota? 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 falls to explore. 

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 state parks can be a gratifying adventure full of breathtaking views.

Check Out the Explorer’s Guide to Waterfalls in Lake County

Glen Avon Falls
Kawishiwi Falls
Caribou Falls Wayside
George Crosby Manitou State Park
Beaver River Falls
Illigen Falls
Split Rock Falls
Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park features three waterfalls along the Gooseberry River. Appropriately named Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls, the Gooseberry Falls remain a hotspot for photographers to take breath-taking shots of the powerful Gooseberry River. Hike or ski to see the Fifth Falls through a forest of evergreens, aspen, and birch. Camping is available with modern campsites, picnicking, or relaxing along the Lake Superior shoreline or the Gooseberry River.

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota 61, Two Harbors, MN, USA

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Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park features a section of trails linked with the Superior Hiking Trail, which passes several waterfalls, including a beautiful 20-foot waterfall. You can also find a lovely wooden bridge, and a surrounding forest to hike and explore. Spring makes the best season to see the water flow. The trail ends with a spectacular view of Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN, USA

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Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park showcases one of the highest waterfalls in Minnesota, appropriately named High Falls. The water is fed from the Baptism River which also features the Two-Step Falls further upstream. Tettegouche State Park remains of the most scenic and popular state parks in Minnesota and a top-choice for waterfall lovers. Tettegouch ranks as a hiker's paradise with miles of trails that overlook the Sawtooth Mountains and wind down to inland lakes accessible only by foot.

Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota 61, Silver Bay, MN, USA

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George H. Crosby Manitou State Park

The George H. Crosby Manitou State Park presents some of the most amazing waterfalls along the North Shore. Despite being some of the more challenging waterfalls to reach, the Manitou Cascades, multi-tiered falls on the Manitou River, deliver a raging waterfall viewing experience. A medium-difficulty one-mile hike will lead you to these gorgeous wilderness falls.

George Crosby Manitou State Park, County Highway 7, Finland, MN, USA

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Illgen Falls

Still, within Tettegouche along the Baptism River and just a short drive up HWY 1, you can drive to Illgen Falls. Parking is available just past the Superior Hiking Trail parking area. This beatiful hidden gem is easy to access and offers a great swimming spot.

Illgen Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614, USA

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 and walk about 40 yards across a red, rocky area to the river’s edge. The Beaver River flows gently through this juncture and widens into a dramatic drop over a route of over 100 tumbling yards. The river then again narrows, circulating at the bottom in a lethargic whirlpool before continuing on its way. The Instagram-worthy vista sets in a broad valley with a forested ridge hiding the view of Lake Superior. Head north 1.6 miles on Lax Lake Road, and turn left on C.R. 3. Follow C.R. 3 for 1.2 miles, where you will see a narrow, red dirt road heading left toward the river.

Glenn Avon Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55616, USA

Beaver River Falls

Located in Beaver Bay, you can view the Beaver River roadside waterfall as you drive over Beaver River on Highway 61. Stop at the Wayside stop on Lax Lake Road to park and walk along the bridge’s pedestrian path to capture a stellar view of the cascades as the river flows into Lake Superior. You can also find a short trail leading you to the river and falls. This wayside stop has a covered picnic area and restrooms.

Beaver River Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614, USA

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 the Superior Hiking Trail and Caribou River. You'll encounter a set of stairs that lead you down to the falls. This hidden gem ranks as a local favorite.

7232 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN 55614, USA

Kawishiwi Falls

Located in the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minnesota, in Fall Lake Township, the Kawishiwi Falls (pronounced Ka-WISH-i-wee) flow from the dammed Garden Lake into Fall Lake. Six miles east of Ely, you'll find parking on the north side of Fernberg Road. To get to the falls from the parking area, take the nearly one-mile loop trail through the woods.

444 Fernberg Rd, Ely, MN 55731, USA

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park features three waterfalls along the Gooseberry River. Appropriately named Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls, the Gooseberry Falls remain a hotspot for photographers to take breath-taking shots of the powerful Gooseberry River. Hike or ski to see the Fifth Falls through a forest of evergreens, aspen, and birch. Camping is available with modern campsites, picnicking, or relaxing along the Lake Superior shoreline or the Gooseberry River.

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota 61, Two Harbors, MN, USA

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Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park features a section of trails linked with the Superior Hiking Trail, which passes several waterfalls, including a beautiful 20-foot waterfall. You can also find a lovely wooden bridge, and a surrounding forest to hike and explore. Spring makes the best season to see the water flow. The trail ends with a spectacular view of Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN, USA

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Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park showcases one of the highest waterfalls in Minnesota, appropriately named High Falls. The water is fed from the Baptism River which also features the Two-Step Falls further upstream. Tettegouche State Park remains of the most scenic and popular state parks in Minnesota and a top-choice for waterfall lovers. Tettegouch ranks as a hiker's paradise with miles of trails that overlook the Sawtooth Mountains and wind down to inland lakes accessible only by foot.

Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota 61, Silver Bay, MN, USA

More Info »
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park

The George H. Crosby Manitou State Park presents some of the most amazing waterfalls along the North Shore. Despite being some of the more challenging waterfalls to reach, the Manitou Cascades, multi-tiered falls on the Manitou River, deliver a raging waterfall viewing experience. A medium-difficulty one-mile hike will lead you to these gorgeous wilderness falls.

George Crosby Manitou State Park, County Highway 7, Finland, MN, USA

More Info »
Illgen Falls

Still, within Tettegouche along the Baptism River and just a short drive up HWY 1, you can drive to Illgen Falls. Parking is available just past the Superior Hiking Trail parking area. This beatiful hidden gem is easy to access and offers a great swimming spot.

Illgen Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614, USA

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 and walk about 40 yards across a red, rocky area to the river’s edge. The Beaver River flows gently through this juncture and widens into a dramatic drop over a route of over 100 tumbling yards. The river then again narrows, circulating at the bottom in a lethargic whirlpool before continuing on its way. The Instagram-worthy vista sets in a broad valley with a forested ridge hiding the view of Lake Superior. Head north 1.6 miles on Lax Lake Road, and turn left on C.R. 3. Follow C.R. 3 for 1.2 miles, where you will see a narrow, red dirt road heading left toward the river.

Glenn Avon Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55616, USA

Beaver River Falls

Located in Beaver Bay, you can view the Beaver River roadside waterfall as you drive over Beaver River on Highway 61. Stop at the Wayside stop on Lax Lake Road to park and walk along the bridge’s pedestrian path to capture a stellar view of the cascades as the river flows into Lake Superior. You can also find a short trail leading you to the river and falls. This wayside stop has a covered picnic area and restrooms.

Beaver River Falls, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614, USA

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 the Superior Hiking Trail and Caribou River. You'll encounter a set of stairs that lead you down to the falls. This hidden gem ranks as a local favorite.

7232 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN 55614, USA

Kawishiwi Falls

Located in the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minnesota, in Fall Lake Township, the Kawishiwi Falls (pronounced Ka-WISH-i-wee) flow from the dammed Garden Lake into Fall Lake. Six miles east of Ely, you'll find parking on the north side of Fernberg Road. To get to the falls from the parking area, take the nearly one-mile loop trail through the woods.

444 Fernberg Rd, Ely, MN 55731, USA