A friend and I decided to go on a few motorcycle trips that included checking out and/or hiking to some waterfalls. Why did we decide to do this? Well, she used to live in Oregon and loves waterfalls and was only aware of the two that are actually within Minneapolis city limits. I knew there were more but had never been to them. So, we decided to put together a list and do motorcycle trips to each one. Below are the best waterfalls we visited and recommend, whether you’re local to Minnesota or just here visiting. The list is in order from closest to furthest from Downtown Minneapolis, MN.
Minnehaha Falls is located within 5 miles of Downtown Minneapolis, MN. You do have to take some stairs down to the bottom to really see the full 53-foot waterfall. If you’re not up for the stairs, you can stand on a bridge above where the waterfall begins and look down. It is part of Minnehaha Regional Park, which is the oldest and one of the most popular parks in Minneapolis. The park is 193 acres made up of limestone bluffs, river overlooks, walking trails, and a dog park.
Vermillion Falls is located in Hastings, MN which is about 33 miles from Minneapolis, MN. It is located right off of the road so you will not have far to walk from the parking lot. The fun characteristic of this 35-foot waterfall is that you are able to stand on a concrete slab located right at the top of the waterfall (as shown in the first picture above). Be careful though so you don’t accidentally slip and fall.
One of my favorites is Willow Falls, part of Willow Falls State Park, located in Huson, WI. It is a 45-foot waterfall that cascades in a 200-foot gorge. It is known as a popular winter destination since the drifts of ice and snow make the river seem to appear out of nowhere due to the constant flow of water. Another thing to note is that there are stairs along side of it for you to climb to get to another vantage point. Be aware, there are around 200 steps to get to that overlook!
Another favorite of mine is Osceola Falls in Osceola, WI about 50 miles away from Minneapolis, MN. Although only a 24-foot waterfall, the special characteristic this one has is the ability to walk behind it! As you can see from my second and third photos, I very carefully walked on the ledge behind the waterfall and then took a photo of the water falling from the top. When I was there in summer of 2016, it was not blocked off to walk behind it so you should be good to. However, do be careful! I stuck very close to the wall, at least as much as possible.
Of course, here’s another awesome waterfall. This one is located in Big Woods State Park in Nerstrand, MN. There is a short hike to get to the waterfall, but it is worth it. It’s a beautiful waterfall, perfect for photos. You are able to stand in the water in front of it and take photos without any issues. The water only comes up to your knees, if that far. I’ve heard some couples have even gotten married in front of this waterfall. How cool is that?!
Minnemishinona Falls is located in Mankato, MN and is the furthest waterfall from the Twin Cities. It’s another on that is very close to the road. You can easily park and walk to the bridge and take a photo of it from the bridge. It’s an easy stop on your way to the Minneopa Falls so I recommend it.
Then we have Minneopa Falls, also located in Mankato, MN. Not much hiking needed to see this waterfall in Minneopa State Park, which was established in 1906 to preserve Southern Minnesota’s largest waterfall. The Minneopa Creek tumbles over a 8 foot ledge and then drops 40 feet into a deep gorge. The pathways go around the waterfall so you’re able to see and take photos of it from multiple angles. This is also a beautiful park; if you are able to, take the time to explore it even more than seeing the waterfall.
More Waterfalls in Minnesota
There are several more waterfalls in MN. This post was only about those that are within a couple of hours of the Twin Cities. During these waterfall and motorcycle trips, my friend and I had decided we wanted to do a motorcycle trip to the MN North Shore and check out the waterfalls in Northern Minnesota as well. More on this trip in a couple future posts!
Have you been to any of these waterfalls? If you have, please comment which one is your favorite. If I’m missed seeing one that’s close to the Twin Cities, please comment so I can plan a trip to check it out!