Where to find Waterfalls in Duluth? With fall colors peaking in much of the Lake Superior coast, it was hard to pass up a perfect weekend to explore.
We decided to hit the road to Duluth. Little did I know, we didn’t need to drive to the north shore for waterfalls, there are plenty of waterfalls in Duluth too.
I’ve wanted to love Duluth for so long now. Most of my time is spent fighting traffic at Canal Park, trying to find a parking spot. Or along Superior Street looking for a bit to eat only to find potholes and closed businesses.
I gave up on the town for a while and decided that it was just another bottleneck needed to get further up the shoreline. I never got the romance that so many people feel for the town, that is, until this past weekend.
With fall colors in mind, we decided to do a short hike at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. The observatory is high on the hills of Duluth.
Because raptors are hesitant to cross large bodies of water, they veer southwest along the lakeshore. The Gulfstream makes it easy to spot these migrating birds at eye level. During fall, there are over 20 species of raptors are seen.
The nature reserve is more than just an observation area. There are a series of trails in the woods, all leading to remote lookouts. We arrived at peak traffic time on the hill.
All parking is on the roadside. Because of the migration, parking near the trailhead was blocked off for pedestrians.
Getting there early we were able to take advantage of the crisp fall air and get a fun hike in. Little did I know the extra traffic wouldn’t allow us to turn around and force us onto Seven Bridges Road, and see some of the best waterfalls in Duluth.
Seven Bridges Road
Just down the road from Hawk Ridge is a stunning Scenic Road called Seven Bridges Road. What I didn’t realize was how much of a hidden gem this is.
While everyone else in Duluth is spending their day watching ships at Canal Park, we were driving through the best scenic vista.
Near most of the bridges is a roadside spot to park a few cars. Most of the stops have stunning waterfalls.
Waterfalls in Duluth
This whole area is part of Amity Park. Running alongside the creek, on both sides of Seven Bridges Road is the Lester-Amity Mountain Bike Trail. While I did see a few bikers, people were mostly exploring the area on foot.
The area is on the side of Duluth’s famous hills, it has a smooth dirt trail to travel on. Since the trail isn’t developed for hikers, I don’t recommend hiking on them. Take some of the smaller trails at each of the parking locations.
Keep Smiling Falls, Duluth
From the north, stop at the first bridge. There is parking on either side of the bridge for about 3-4 cars.
This Keep Smiling waterfall has a great bridge backdrop, as well as rock hopping and great views all around it. The falls got their name from the graffiti that is painted on the side.
I think it’s perfectly named because the second I caught a glimpse of it from the road, my face lit up and I pulled over. It reminded me of the Cascades or Temperance River State Park where it went on forever.
The creek drops a total of 12 feet at this point, and then another 6 feet before continuing on. If you keep traveling downstream you may glimpse a set of 20th-century petroglyphs on the rocks.
Amity Falls, Duluth
The southernmost bridge on Seven Bridges Road, near Occidental Blvd is Amity Fals.
Parking is on the north side of the bridge, with room for about 10 or so cars. From there, take the trail just beyond the vehicle barricades.
You’ll first come across a smaller waterfall called Amity Falls. This is a cute little waterfall you can get up close and personal with. Don’t stop there.
The Deeps Falls, Duluth
The Deeps Falls is one I would have completely bypassed if it wasn’t for the footbridge and gazebo I saw in the distance.
If you keep taking the trail south from Amity Falls, you’ll reach the Deeps. This is a narrower waterfall that plummets 20ft before stopping in a pool.
There are plenty of trails leading to the base of the falls. I decided to rock climb but it wasn’t necessary at all. Looking at others’ pictures of this magnificent waterfall, you can really tell just how low the water is.
How Accessible are these Waterfalls?
Unlike most of my adventures, there is little to no hiking involved. If you are in a car, you can park relativity close to each one. The trails are well-traveled.
They are not wheelchair accessible, but if you were trying to avoid stairs, roots, or unstable terrain, you can still see them all.
More Waterfalls in Duluth
Duluth has a bunch of other waterfalls to explore. Just on the other side of Amity Creek, before getting to Superior Street, it connects with Lester River.
Lester River also has its own scenic road, with another four waterfalls, Two Sisters Falls, Nude Swimming Hole Falls, The Shallows Falls, and Gunderson Falls.
If you’d like to know more about some of the great waterfalls hiding in Duluth, pick up a copy of Eve and Gary Wallinga’s book, Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore.
Would I go back to see more Waterfalls in Duluth?
Waterfalls in Duluth are so spectacular. I really think the ones we saw rivaled anything on the north shore. That being said, I’ve only seen a fraction of what’s offered.
You could easily spend a full weekend finding some of these backwoods’ waterfalls. You should defiantly check them out. If you are looking for something closer to the Cities, check out 12 Stunning Waterfalls Near Minneapolis.