Minnesota Waterfalls Along the North Shore

Find the highest Minnesota waterfalls on the North Shore! The 120-foot High Falls at Grand Portage State Park is the highest [pictured above]. It is located on the Pigeon River, part of the international boundary with Canada. The highest falls entirely within Minnesota is the 70-foot High Falls of the Baptism River and is part of Tettegouche State Park.

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.

Lester River
Lester River Miles from Duluth: 5.2

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.

Upper, Lower, Middle & Fifth Falls of the Gooseberry River
Upper, Lower, Middle & Fifth Falls of the Gooseberry River Miles from Duluth: 39.5


gooseberry falls  upper falls gooseberry
It’s a 4-for-1 stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park! Park at the Visitor Center and take the easy accessible hike to the most photographed of the falls, the expansive Middle Falls. Head south to view the Lower Falls Or take a short accessible hike to the north, under Hwy 61 leads to the Upper Falls. See the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls along the easy Falls Loop, then hike inland to the Fifth Falls.

Cascades at Split Rock River Miles from Duluth: 43.8

Hike the 5-mile loop for cliffside views of the river’s cascades!

Beaver Falls
Beaver Falls Miles from Duluth: 51.3

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.

High Falls and Two Step Falls
High Falls and Two Step Falls Miles from Duluth: 58.5

The highest falls entirely within Minnesota can be seen at Tettegouche State Park. This superb trout stream descends over 700 feet including the 70-foot High Falls and the 40-foot Illgen Falls further upstream.

Falls at Cross River
Falls at Cross River Miles from Duluth: 78.8

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.

Temperance River Falls
Temperance River Falls Miles from Duluth: 80.4

Temperance River sports an upper falls [1st photo], hidden falls [2nd photo] and middle falls [photo w/ footbridge], all located north of Highway 61 within 3/4-mile of the trailhead. And heading south [towards Lake Superior] of the highway is a quick 1/8-mile trail to a footbridge with views of the the falls under the highway bridge [far right photo above], the mouth of the river and the lake.

Stair Step Falls Onion River
Stair Step Falls Onion River Miles from Duluth: 86.5

At the Ray Berglund State Wayside; climb the wooden steps and hike above the river to view the cascades near the river mouth and the falls just upstream.


Cascades & Falls of the Cascade River
Cascades & Falls of the Cascade River Miles from Duluth: 99.8

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.


Upper Falls, Devil's Kettle & Lower Falls of the Brule River
Upper Falls, Devil's Kettle & Lower Falls of the Brule River Miles from Duluth: 123.8


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.

High Falls of the PIgeon River
High Falls of the PIgeon River Miles from Duluth: 150.8

The Pigeon River drops 950 feet ending with the 120-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!

Kakabeka Falls Miles from Duluth: 190.0

Wrap up your waterfall tour in Canada at the spectacular 40-meter/131-foot “Niagra of the North’ which drops precipitously into a rock-walled canyon.

Drive 38 miles north of the border, turn left on ON 11/17 for 16.5 miles.