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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 11 waterfalls near Minneapolis within an hour of the Twin Cities. I’ve also added a few waterfalls in MN just outside the Twin Cities that you have to see.
Most non-native Minnesotans think of the Twin Cities as flat, so it surprises them at the number of waterfalls so close. Pack the camera because here are my top 8 waterfalls near Minneapolis to check out.
Twelve Waterfalls Near Minneapolis
Saint Anthony Falls | Minneapolis MN
Second to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Saint Anthony Falls is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. It was once the only natural waterfall in the Mississippi.
Now it is a little more industrial-looking, but a must-see for any Minneapolis native. The best view is on the Stone Arch Bridge.
There is so much to see and do around St Anthony Falls, including seeing an old mill ruins and a lighthouse. Click here for more fun things to do!
St Croix Boom Site Falls | Stillwater MN
Take the trail upriver along the cliffs for about a half-mile and you’ll be treated to this breathtaking view.
The area is a little hilly, with narrow paths covered in sand. The cliffs are stunningly lined with limestone. Anyone with an adventurous spirit can find it, including younger kids.
For more details on how to get to the St Croix Boom Site waterfall, click here!
Hidden Falls | St. Paul MN
Nestled on an undisclosed pathway in Hidden Falls Regional Park is a secluded little waterfall. Besides the falls, they have a scenic overlook of the Mississippi River, a sandy beach, picnicking, and a boat dock.
To access the waterfall, take the pathway located behind the restrooms in the picnic area. It will lead you straight to it.
For extra fun, go in winter. The waterfalls freeze into something epic that you can walk right up to.
Tip: Make sure to explore the Mississippi River of Hidden Falls Regional Park. I’ve got a full breakdown of fun things to do there!
Shadow Falls | St. Paul MN
Being at Shadow Falls reminds me of being in the mountains. It is the most challenging waterfall on my list to find, but well 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 MN
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 entire park is stunning year-round. For a look at what it’s like in winter, check out The Frozen Falls.
During Spring and summer, the falls are fed by Minnehaha Creek on the way to the Mississippi River. The pathways down to the falls open back up and there are some great trails to explore!
Tip: Make sure you walk along all the walking paths above the falls. There are some great vantage points. Click here for more great tips.
Vermillion Falls | Hastings MN
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 an excellent picture. The waterfall was easy to get to with little hiking involved.
We made a pit stop while we were hiking in Afton State Park to check it out. The kids were exhausted and were terrified we were making them do another hike. The falls were only feet from the parking lot.
There is so much more to do around Vermillion Falls, including a love lock bridge, and mill ruins nearby. You can also hike down to the base of the falls too!
Full details on how to get to the park can be found at: Vermillion Falls and Old Mill Park in Hastings
Marine Waterfall | Marine on St Croix MN
One of the lesser-known places near the Twin Cities, Marine on St Croix is a fun stop. The waterfall is hiding back behind the town. I spent most of my day watching the stream go through town and under the building, all the time trying to get to the waterfall.
It turns out there is a short trail leading from the river to the source of the waterfall. As it passes underground, before cascading down a limestone bank. I highly recommend checking it out.
Tip: Make sure to check out other fun things to do while in Marine on St Croix by clicking here!
Hidden Falls | Nerstrand MN
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park’s Hidden Fall is one of my favorites. It’s easy to find and get access to. The trail is easy to find and is one mile long.
The falls are in the middle of the loop. On a hot day, Nerstrand Big Woods Waterfall is 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. If you think it’s cool in Summer, check out the waterfall in winter!
Hiking the Frozen Tundra of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. You can get into the park on National Get Outdoors Day for free, otherwise, you’ll need to pay a small fee for parking.
For more great discounts on State Park admission check out: Minnesota State Park Pass Hacks, Tips, and Free Days
Wellstone Falls | Northfield MN
They typically use the park for mountain biking, but there is a short half-mile trail that is just to the left of the bike trails. It leads directly to the waterfall.
There are two streams that converge, creating two different falls. When the river is low you can cross over along the stones.
Cannon Falls | Cannon Falls MN
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 waterfalls. It’s a relaxing walk. The river is also a great one to river tubing on if you are looking for a little more adventure.
Minneopa Falls | Mankato MN
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 in Minneopa State Park.
It will require a small fee or a MN 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.
Tips: Stick around Mankato for some great activities, like kayaking the river and seeing Devil’s Gulch. 28 Amazing Things to do in Mankato MN: The Ultimate Guide
Bonus Winter Frozen Waterfall
Crosby Farm Regional Park Slot Cayon | St Paul
This hidden hike is something you’ve never seen before. Just off the map, hidden in a narrow passageway the limestone walls is a breathtaking frozen waterfall.
You can visit year-round, I’m just not 100% confident it produces water year-round.
Throughout the year the water seeps through the limestone walls, freezing in winter creating a beautiful icy waterfall formation. I definitely recommend checking it out! Unbelievable Hidden Slot Canyon in St Paul at Crosby Farm Regional Park
Do not attempt this hike without good foot traction. I have a pair of stainless steel Ice Cleats. Pick some up before going!
Bonus Falls in Wisconsin
This is not in Minnesota, but worthy of a day trip. Still, within an hour of Minneapolis, this waterfall is stunning. Inside Willow River State Park, requires a small admission price, but it goes on forever.
There are two ways to get to it, from the campground for a nice level walk, or straight to it down in the canyon. Come prepared!
My Favorite Water Fall near Minneapolis?
If you have a little more time, check out some more of the secret waterfalls all over Minnesota. Lisa Crayford’s 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 provide significant details on how to get to each fall.
This is my top list of waterfalls near Minneapolis. We have so many more north of in Northern Minnesota, and all over the North Shore. Also, check out the frozen waterfalls in winter. Do you have any you feel should be added to the list? If so, I’d love to hear about it.