Waterfall Season in Cook County
After the snow melts, experience the raw power of North Shore waterfall season – a fleeting yet unforgettable spring wonder. Hundreds of thousands of acres of melted snowfall finds its way into Lake Superior and on the way, creates quite the show. The roaring rage of waterfalls in Minnesota is certainly a sight to be seen, heard and felt.
While they are at their peak in the spring season, waterfalls can be enjoyed all year long. In the winter time, the waterfalls freeze and create scenic ice sculptures. In the summer, the rivers are warm enough to take a hike through. Using caution, you can find hidden falls that can’t be seen by a hiking trail. In the fall, the blue rush of water is the perfect contrast to the fall colors.
From the smaller, pop-up falls all along Highway 61 to the North Shore’s most dramatic drops, Cook County has the most diverse range of waterfalls in Minnesota. Some of the more dramatic include Devil’s Kettle Falls in Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the ephemeral “phantom falls” that pour from the cliffs lining Highway 61, and the High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park. At 120 feet, High Falls is the highest waterfall in Minnesota, and also serves as the border to Canada. No wonder it is sometimes called “Minnesota’s Niagara.” Viewing this waterfall is a bucket list item to cross off.
Other local favorites include Cascade River State Park in Lutsen, Cross River in Schroeder, and the Kadunce River just north of Grand Marais.
- 221 West First Street
- (218) 529-7529
In a league of its own, the 154-mile North Shore Scenic Drive is Minnesota’s only designated “All-American Road." The route parallels the inland coast of the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior, bisecting ancient rock formations and thousands of acres of forests rising…
- 4051 Highway 61
Eight miles up the road in Judge C.R. Magney State Park you’ll meet the Brule River. Best known for the Devil’s Kettle waterfall where the river splits and half the river enters a cauldron, the Devil’s Kettle, and disappears to places unknown. Enter Judge C.R. Magney State Park…
- 7232 Highway 61
A short gradual climb along the river will bring you to the spur trail of the Superior Hiking Trail to the base of the waterfall. Park at Caribou State Wayside rest; off of Highway 61
- 3650 W. Highway 61
A breathtaking series of large cascading waterfalls; this location includes parking and a walking path, which makes hiking along multiple waterfalls possible. The Cascade River flows from one ledge after another for a total drop of 900 feet during the last three miles to Lake…
- Highway 61
Best falls seen right from the highway at the wayside rest in Schroeder. Just eight miles north of the county line, you will find easy access and parking. Bring a raincoat. The view from the bridge on scenic Highway 61 is one of the best, and the spray might ruin your hair.
- Highway 61
This waterfall can be found just two miles west of Grand Marais along Highway 61. The main waterfall is on the lakeshore side of Highway 61 and plunges into Lake Superior. Follow the Gitchi-Gami State Trail to the bridge that offers incredible views of the falls.
- Highway 61
Just 12.7 miles east of Grand Marais, the Kadunce has easy access, up-top viewing, with a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. Feeling adventurous? Hike up the shallow river for a different vantage point. Parking is available in the lot off of Highway 61.
- 6355 W Highway 61
Newly reconstructed trail from Highway 61 will bring you along the river for a canyon view. Legend has it that the river was created when Paul Bunyan shed tears while cutting the wild onions that grew in the woods nearby. Park at the Ray Berglund Memorial Wayside rest right off…
- 9393 Highway 61
In Grand Portage State Park at 120’ the High Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Minnesota. Handicap accessible trail is about 1 mile long. During peak waterfall season, find a nearly permanent rainbow at the base of the High Falls. Parking is available in the Grand…
- Ski Hill Road
Hike inland to roaring fall, cascades and canyons. You’ll find multiple waterfalls and rapids that are easily accessible from multiple locations. Upper Falls above Lutsen Mountains Ski Hill – park at the end of Ski Hill Road at the start of the connector trail for the…
- 7620 West Highway 61
Temperance River State Park there is a short hiking trail loop that will bring you around the falls. Deep narrow river gorge with about 10-15 drops. According to the state parks section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website: It is said that the Temperance got…