10 Minnesota Waterfalls That You Have To See

best waterfalls inminnesota

Even though we’re known as the Land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota doesn’t shy away from a good waterfall. With more than 140 named waterfalls around the state, there are plenty of places to hike, take in the scenery, and marvel at the beauty that happens when gravity and water come together.

So, as much as we love a lengthy list to cross off, we’ve narrowed it down from all the named falls to the 10 best waterfalls in the state.

Best part? Most of these are a quick day trip from the Twin Cities metro.

Map of the 10 Best Waterfalls in Minnesota

The Tallest Waterfall in Minnesota: High Falls of the Pigeon River

Grand Portage State Park

minnesota tallest waterfall - high falls

By far the most impressive waterfall on this list, High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park ranks as our top waterfall in Minnesota.

At 120 feet, it’s also the tallest in the state.

The Pigeon River forms the northern border with Canada in this area, so although it’s possible to view them from the Minnesota side, the closest viewing point requires a passport and a trip through the border crossing. Worth the trek to see one of the finest landmarks in the state. Check out our complete guide to the area here.

The Most Popular Waterfall: Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Ask any Twin Cities local about the most famous waterfall in the state, and chances are they’ll tell you, Gooseberry Falls.

Each year more than 600,000 visitors stop at the falls on a visit to the picturesque North Shore of Lake Superior.

Hiking the trails near the falls is one of our favorite things in the area, regardless of the season. Be sure to enjoy the falls nearest the visitor’s center and take the hike up along the river to Fifth Falls, another great waterfall in the park.

The Most Photographed: Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

minnehaha falls minneapolis

Frequently named one of Minnesota’s top tourist destinations and the most photographed spot in Minneapolis (outside of the downtown skyline), 53-foot Minnehaha Falls has been a central gathering space in the area for thousands of years.

After all, not every waterfall is immortalized in a famous poem or in millions of posts on Instagram. If you only have time to visit 1 or 2 destinations in Minneapolis, we recommend making a stop here.

  • Address: 4801 S Minnehaha Drive Minneapolis, MN 55417
  • Website: Minnehaha Falls

For Lots and Lots Waterfalls: Cascade, Two Step, & High Falls

Tettegouche State Park

If a hike out to one waterfall doesn’t feel like enough, the popular North Shore destination Tettegouche State Park is for you.

There are four waterfalls in the park, all on the Baptism River, and all within a comfortable day hike.

Cascade Falls, Two Step Falls, and High Falls can be reached from a parking area near the campground. High Falls is also the second tallest in Minnesota. Illgen Falls, also located in the park, can be reached from a viewing area just a short drive into the park.

For the Geology Fan: Devil’s Kettle

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

devil's kettle waterfall

What happened to the water at Devil’s Kettle on the Brule River remained mostly a mystery for much of Minnesota’s history. In Judge C.R. Magney State Park, one side of this cascade tumbles 50 feet and then into Lake Superior. At the same time, another portion appears to go directly underground and disappear.

Check out our guide to hiking the falls to hear the whole story.

For Southern Minnesota Charm: Minnemishinona Falls

North Mankato

The flat prairie fields of southern and western Minnesota aren’t well known for waterfalls. BUT, you’ll find the one exception outside North Mankato (about 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities).

Minnemishinona Falls is a 42-foot waterfall near the Minnesota River located in Nicollet County.

The best time to visit here is in the spring or after a considerable rainfall. By late summer, the water will slow to just a trickle here.

The Best during Fall Colors: Big Spring Falls & Wolf Creek Falls

Banning State Park

Although many of the waterfalls on this list make for good fall destinations, we especially like Wolf Creek Falls in Banning State Park and nearby Big Spring Falls.

Both waterfalls cascade on the Kettle River near Sandstone, Minnesota. You’ll find brilliant fall colors here as you walk along Lower Hell’s Gate Trail to the falls.

Several rapids and cascades make this park especially popular with kayak and canoeing fans.

For the Urban Hiker: St. Anthony Falls

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Much of the founding history of the City of Minneapolis points directly back to waterfalls.

Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls on the northeastern edge of downtown Minneapolis is the only natural waterfall on the Mighty Mississippi River. The falls here became the primary power source for the lumber and flour industries, critical in the city’s early years.

One more fun fact:  The falls were initially named “Owamniyomni” by the Dakota (namesake to one of the city’s top restaurants) and then renamed “St. Anthony” by Father Louis Hennepin after his favorite saint, St. Anthony of Padua.

The falls now are part of the National Park Service and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Off the Beaten Path: Winnewissa Falls

Pipestone National Monument

As you drive into the tiny southwestern Minnesota town of Pipestone, waterfalls are the last thing you think of.

Here, the prairie lands are flat for miles and focused on raising corn and soybeans. Yet, for centuries, Native American communities have gathered near the little-known Winnewissa Falls for religious and practical reasons.

The falls are located just steps away from ancient quarries used to harvest pipestone and a short ¾ mile hike from the visitor’s center. Most Minnesotans aren’t aware of the history here or that there’s a waterfall – but it’s worth a stop.

For the Underground Adventurer: Niagra Cave Waterfall

Harmony, MN

Did you know that not all of the tallest waterfalls in Minnesota are above ground? One of Minnesota’s tallest is located entirely below ground.

You’ll find the 60-foot Niagra Cave waterfall in one of the top ten cave destinations in the US and one of the best spots in the Bluff Country area of the state.

Located about 45 miles southeast of Rochester, the 1-hour underground cave tours take visitors to the stream and waterfall responsible for carving out these ancient underground caverns.

  • Address: 29842 Co Hwy 30, Harmony, MN 55939
  • Website:  Niagra Cave
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