Along the southwest half of the North Shore streams tend to be showy. With no headwaters, the rivers swell and pound during spring run-off and heavy rains and run low during dry times. Rivers without headwaters can discharge up to four times as much water as those with headwaters. From the Manitou River northeast, the rivers have headwaters and thus, a more stable flow. But it’s a close call to the best performance during run-off.
Start your water fall tour with a look-see over the Superior Street bridge at the Lester River Falls or park in the lot on the east side of the river, half a block north, and walk the creekside trail.
Not a waterfalls, but a fun fact.
On the northeast side of the Lafayette Bluff Tunnel, Highway 61 crosses Crow Creek. See if it is running. It was originally named the Prohibition Creek, since it usually ran dry.
It’s a 5-for-1 stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park!
Hike the 5-mile loop for cliffside views of the river’s cascades!
The river drops 300 feet in a series of cascades and falls above the bridge and enters the sedate bay. Highway 61 follows the curve of the bay to East Beaver Bay, providing additional panoramas.
The highest falls entirely within Minnesota and can be seen at Tettegouche State Park. This superb trout stream descends over 700 feet including the 70-foot Baptism Falls and the 50-foot Illgen Falls further upstream.
You can’t miss this classic falls, Highway 61 rolls right by! But take advantage of handy pedestrian bridges for excellent vantage points of the 100′ falls as they roll down, under and make their final drop on the south side of the bridge.
The falls and spectacular gorges of the Temperance River are within a quarter-mile walk from highway parking.
At the Ray Berglund State Wayside; climb the wooden steps and hike above the river to view the cascades near the rivermouth and the falls just upstream.
Ten miles above Hwy 61 the river abruptly begins its descent to Lake Superior. Dropping 900 feet in the lower three miles, the river takes a steep final run in the last quarter mile as it drops 120 feet through a deep, churning gorge. Hike both sides of the Cascade River by parking at the river mouth and following the trails signs.
At Judge Magney State Park; the Brule’s most famous feature is the Devil’s Kettle. A mile and a half inland are the Lower Falls, then the Upper Falls and the Devil’s Kettle, where the river course splits. About half of the river’s water flow runs over the Upper Falls while the other half enters a cauldron, the Devil’s Kettle, and disappears. It is presumed that some of the water goes into an underground waterway and some reappears in a pool in the lower river reaches, but the point of re-entry remains unknown.
The Pigeon drops 950 feet ending with the 100-foot drop High Falls. This lower reach is particularly rugged until a short distance after the falls, where the river widens. An easy half-mile trail in Grand Portage State Park leads to the High Falls. The trail end has two great viewing decks where you can feel the spray of the falls!
wrap up your waterfall tour in Canada at the spectacular 131-foot “Niagra of the North’ which drops precipitously into a rock-walled canyon.
Drive 34 miles north of the border, take ON 130 for 13 miles, following the signs.