Big Woods State Park Waterfall

8 Stunning Waterfalls Near Minneapolis

Last updated on November 3rd, 2018

Minnesota is home to the best rivers and waterways, but did you know they are also some of the most stunning waterfalls too? There are 8 waterfalls near Minneapolis that won’t take all day to get to. I’ve also added a few bonus falls. I like to think of the Twin Cities as flat, so I was surprised at the number of waterfalls so close. Pack the camera because here is my top 8 to check out.

Eight Waterfalls Near Minneapolis

Saint Anthony Falls

Second to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Saint Anthony Falls is right in the heart of downtown Mpls. It was once the only natural falls on the Mississippi. Now it is a little more industrial looking, but a must see for any Minneapolis native. The best view can be found on the Stone Arch Bridge.

St Anthony Falls Minneapolis

Hidden Falls – St. Paul

Nestled on an undisclosed pathway in Hidden Falls Park is a secluded little falls. Besides to the falls, they have a scenic overlook of the river, sandy beach, picnicking and a boat dock. To access the falls, take the pathway located behinds the women’s restrooms in the picnic area. It will lead you straight to it.

Hidden Falls, St. Paul MN

Shadow Falls (St. Paul)

Being at Shadow Falls reminds me of being in the mountains. It is the most challenging falls on my list to find but with worth it. Head over to Shadow Falls Park and take the path near the parking lot. Once you get to the end of the bend, you’ll notice a trail sign with a warning to those who intend on ice climbing. Then, it’s just a matter of following the stream until you reach the top of the falls. Be warned, if it has rained, you will get muddy. For more details check out A Hiking Adventure at Shadow Falls.

Shadow Falls, St. Paul MN Waterfalls Near minneapolis

Minnehaha Falls (Minneapolis)

Minnehaha Falls is one of the most famous in Minnesota. Largely because it freezes during the winter and those crazy enough, will get a view from behind. I don’t recommend it not only because it’s illegal, but because there is often open water close by. After doing a polar plunge, I can tell you it’s cold! The whole park is stunning year round. For a look at what it’s like in winter, check out The Frozen Falls.

Frozen Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis MN

Vermillion Falls (Hastings)

Dropping 35ft, Vermillion Falls is a traditional waterfall. It is in Vermillion Falls Park, next to an old factory. The park has vantage points to allow you to get a good picture. For more info on the park, check out Hiking in Vermillion Falls Park.

Vermillion Falls Park Hastings MN


Hidden Falls (Nerstrand State Park)

Nerstrand Bid Woods State Park’s Hidden Fall’s is one of my favorite. It’s easy to find and get access too. The trail is marked and is one mile long. The falls are dead set in the middle of the loop. On a hot day, they are a refreshing stop. I would not recommend getting in the water though. For those looking for more, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park has over 11 miles of trails that weave around the falls National Get Outdoors Day.

Concrete Bridge, Big Woods State Park
Big Woods State Park Waterfall

Cannon Falls

Cannon Falls is a small town about an hour south of the Cities. These are the smallest falls on the list. The falls are just off the main street, only a few blocks away from Cannon River Winery. I recommend getting a drink and later taking a stroll to look at the falls. It’s a relaxing adventure that wont have a crowd.

Cannon Falls, Minnesota

Minneopa Falls

Minneopa Falls in Mankato MN is just outside my Minneapolis Radius, but still worth a trip. About 90 minutes form the Twin Cities, this is located in Minneopa State Park. It will require a small fee or a State Parks Parking pass to get in. You can get to the top of the falls with a short hike, or go down about a half mile and get to the base of the falls.

Minneopa FallsThe Killer List of Day Trips you can take today

If you have a little more time, check out some more of the waterfalls all over the state. Lisa Crayfords book, Waterfalls of Minnesota: Your Guide to the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the State is an excellent resource to get started. Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore & More also provides great details on how to get to each falls.  This is my top list of waterfalls close by Minneapolis. Do you have any that you feel should be added to the list? If so, I’d love to hear about it.


More Info: MN DNR
When To Visit: Year round or after we get rain.
Recommended Guide: Waterfalls of Minnesota: Your Guide to the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the State or Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore & More
Other Recommends: For more waterfalls around the state, check out Minneopa State Park | Waterfalls, Bison and Prairie or How To Beat the Crowds At Gooseberry Falls.


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  • Reply Stacy November 9, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for this list–I can’t believe I’ve lived in the Cities for several years and have only made it to one of them! Definitely will have to check some of them out, especially the ones in St. Paul since they’re so close.

    • Reply Jenn November 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      If it makes you feel better, I have lived in MN for 32 years and just got to the first falls last year. We always went out of town to see waterfalls. Have fun checking them out!

  • Reply Niki December 27, 2017 at 11:04 am

    I’ve always heard that there are tons of waterfalls in Minnesota and I have seen a few. I didn’t realize there were so many, especially so close to the Citites!

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      I guess it’s time for a road trip! Have fun exploring and thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Lisa February 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for referring my book, Waterfalls of Minnesota! Lisa Crayford

    • Reply Jenn February 8, 2018 at 6:28 am

      You are very welcome!

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