Last updated on August 16th, 2019
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 nearby waterfalls in Minnesota just outside the Twin Cities that you have to see. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hidden Falls (Nerstrand State Park)
Nerstrand Big 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. If you think it’s cool in Summer, check out the waterfall in winter! Hiking the Frozen Tundra of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
Cannon Falls is a small town about an hour south of Minneapolis. 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 won’t have a crowd.
Minneopa Falls in Mankato MN is just outside my Minneapolis Radius, but still worth a trip. About 90 minutes from 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.
If you have a little more time, check out some more of the secret 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.