Waterfalls are always enchanting and seem to only exist in fairytale lands. No true! Minnesota is not only the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it is also home to hundreds of waterfalls. These waterfalls are among local favorites and within a two-hour drive of Minneapolis.
The most famous waterfalls are the Minnehaha Falls enveloped in Minneapolis’s bustling streets. Minnehaha Falls is also one of Minnesota’s oldest and most popular parks and welcome more than 850,000 visitors annually. The falls crash 53 feet down and a cave is hidden behind the watery curtain.
St. Anthony Falls
One of Minneapolis’s most famous waterfalls is also a historical wonder and economic powerhouse during the centuries. St Anthony Falls received its name in 1680 by historical figure Father Hennepin. During the next two centuries, the rapids and falls were used to power flour and lumber mills.
Best Scenic Drives Near Minneapolis
Looking for more of the scenic route? We know the best scenic drives near Minneapolis.
A true Twin Cities hidden gem is Shadow Falls. These waterfalls are tucked in a secluded spot between St. Thomas University and the Mississippi. The trails and bike paths are often quiet since the area is only well-known among locals and students of the university.
Heading south of Minneapolis is where Minneopa Falls lie. Located in Bison country, these waterfalls offer a short lesson in Dakota and other tribal histories of the region. The park is ideal for bird watching and spotting prairie animals.
Big Spring Falls
Seeking out Big Spring Falls can be a bit of treasure hunt. Locals are often pointing tourists to the different of the falls since they are located outside of the main part of Banning State Park. It is well off-the-beaten-path and secluded. You best bet to accessing the falls is by hiking or canoeing up Kettle River.
Wolf Creek Falls
Another scenic wonder in Banning State Park is the Wolf Creek Falls. The shortest hike to these waterfalls in Minneapolis is just over 1.5 miles, though outdoor enthusiasts recommend kayaking to the falls.
Turns out Wyoming isn’t the only state to have a Yellowstone. Alexander Ramsey Park was nicknamed “Little Yellowstone of Minnesota” after explorers saw the majestic and powerful Ramsey Falls. In addition to the showstopping waterfalls, there are also four miles of paved walking paths and a zoo to entertain visitors.
Take a short detour off the Mississippi River Scenic Byway to catch a glimpse of Minnemishinona Falls. The falls are surrounded by trees. The best time of year to visit the falls is in autumn when the foliage is changing.
Apple River Falls
Stepping over state lines into Badger territory to get a glimpse of these beautiful waterfalls. The falls are a popular spot among locals and tourists near Minneapolis who tube down the Apple River during the summer. These falls are a great weekend destination for groups of friends who are looking to enjoy the summer sun.
Little Manitou Falls
Cross the Wisconsin border one final time to check out the Little Manitou Falls. These falls drop 30 feet into the Black River. Unlike other waterfalls, these falls split created an even larger splash radius. They are stunning and a haven for nature photographers.