Minnesota’s Best Waterfalls

Minnesota has several things going for it and one is absolutely its waterfalls.

You don’t have to go far beyond the Twin Cities to see some, but we do urge you to. They’re all over the state and worth the drive.

In no particular order, I present to you the best of the best of Minnesota’s waterfalls.

Tettegouche State Park

The best waterfalls around the Twin Cities

Saint Anthony Falls

  • Size: 49 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 0 mins
  • Quite literally in the heart of Minneapolis, this was the only natural waterfall in the Mississippi River and a major source of energy for the area, which it still is but has since been replaced with a concrete overflow and lock and dam. You can easily park on either side of the river and walk or bike across the Stone Arch Bridge to get a great view and misted by the gushing water.

Minnehaha Falls

  • Size: 53 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 10 mins
  • No brainer, also practically in the heart of Minneapolis. Park your car and you can be looking down on this incredible waterfall within 30 seconds flat. Take the stairs down to its base and continue along the creek, which meets up with the Mississippi River in about a mile.
Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis

The best waterfalls within two hours of the Cities

Wolf Creek Falls

  • Size: fairly decent
  • From the Twin Cities: 1.5 hrs
  • For a perfect day trip from the Cities, head to Banning State Park and choose one of the many trails out to Wolf Creek Falls. It’s also a perfect spot for fall hiking and leaf peeping!

Vermillion Falls

  • Size: 35 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 45 mins
  • Calling all urban explorers. Located in downtown Hastings, it’s a short walk from where you park to this sweet waterfall, where the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers converge.

Ramsey Falls

  • Size: 40 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 2 hrs
  • At 219 acres, Alexander Ramsey Park is the largest municipal park in the state and is affectionately called the “Little Yellowstone of Minnesota.” The falls itself is not far from the parking lot, but there are several pedestrian bridges, scenic overlooks, and trails throughout the park that are worth exploring.

Minneopa Falls

  • Size: 39 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 1.5 hrs
  • A beautiful waterfall located along the Minnesota River in Minneopa State Park. Bonus: Minnemishinona Falls is only a few miles away.
Minneopa Falls in Mankato

The best waterfalls on the North Shore

High Falls at Tettegouche State Park

  • Size: 70 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 3.5 hrs
  • The highest waterfall that lies entirely within Minnesota state borders. It’s also a great hike with some decent elevation gain. There are two falls here, High Falls and Two Step Falls, that make for a perfect day exploring.

Cross River Falls

  • Size: 100 ft (broken up into a few different falls)
  • From the Twin Cities: 4 hrs
  • Pull over along Hwy 61 just southwest of Temperance River State Park and take advantage of one of the easiest waterfalls to see—literally right from the roadside or take one of the pedestrian bridges that offers great views of this waterfall.

High Falls at Grand Portage State Park

  • Size: 120 ft
  • From the Twin Cities: 5 hrs
  • The farthest drive gives the biggest reward. This is the state’s tallest waterfall located on the Pigeon River at the Canadian border.

Gooseberry Falls

  • Size: you won’t be disappointed
  • From the Twin Cities: 3 hrs
  • The highest waterfalls in Minnesota are along the North Shore, and Gooseberry Falls State Park is a good place to start. Here, you can see four different falls all within a short walk of each other. The middle falls is the largest, with lower falls a short walk downstream and upper falls is a quick hike up (and under Hwy 61). If you hike inland, you’ll find Fifth Falls.
Gooseberry Falls

The best waterfalls close to—but not technically in—Minnesota

Willow Falls

  • Size: 120 ft
  • From Twin Cities: 5 hrs
  • Ok, so not technically in Minnesota, but Willow River State Park is just over the border and absolutely worth going to. There are lots of great trails and the waterfall is fantastic. You can hike right up alongside it.
Willow Creek, Wisconsin

MORE: Camping on the North Shore—Trip Report: 3 Minnesota State Parks in 3 Days

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