Pigeon River High Falls, Grand Portage, MN

North Shore Waterfalls

One unique thing about the North Shore, is that the area typography and steep Lake Superior shoreline naturally creates an unusual amount of waterfalls in the area.  Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite that we highly recommend visitors explore.

Caribou Falls (Schroeder, Minnesota)

Caribou Falls near Schroeder, MN, is a breathtaking natural wonder that beckons adventurers with its rugged beauty. Cascading over ancient basalt cliffs, the waterfall plunges dramatically into a rocky gorge below, creating a mesmerizing display of cascading water and mist. Surrounding the falls, birch and pine forest and moss-covered rocks add to the enchanting ambiance. The falls can be viewed from below and above.

To get to the falls, viewers will need to take a moderate hike on a well-maintained trail from a parking lot off Minnesota Highway 61, eight miles west of Schroeder, MN. The parking lot is not plowed during the winter months, making the hiking trail inaccessible seasonally.

Cross River Falls (Schroeder, MN)

Cross River Falls, Schroeder, MN

This waterfall doesn’t require any hiking to view. It begins dropping just upstream of Minnesota Highway 61 in Schroeder, MN. Though it can be seen when driving by, many people prefer to stop at the Cross River Wayside Rest next to the falls and take the short walk down the sidewalk to the falls. From one side of the road you’ll see the top of the falls and from the opposite side (the side closest to Lake Superior) you’ll see the pool of water that the falls drops into before it continues the short trip downstream to Lake Superior.

Temperance River Waterfall & Gorge (Tofte, MN)

The series of waterfalls at Temperance River State Park is not only really impressive, but it is also easily accessed from Highway 61 west of Tofte, MN. To access the falls, park along highway 61 in the designated parking areas. When hiking downstream toward Lake Superior, you’ll be able to see a beautiful set of falls with water that flows into Lake Superior shortly thereafter. Continuing past the falls toward Lake Superior, you will be able to access beautiful ledgerock shore that’s perfect for exploring, rock skipping or enjoying  a picnic by.

If you choose to hike upstream instead of downstream from the parking lot (of course we encourage you to do both if you are able), you’ll find more waterfalls dramatically flowing through a dramatic river gorge. The hiking trail will take you upstream where the rocky river widens out and calms. All in all, you’ll find that there is a lot of beauty to see with just a short hike.

Cascade Falls, Cascade State Park (Grand Marais, MN)

Cascade River Falls State Park - Grand Marais, MN

It’s a hike many would consider a “high value hike” since a short amount of hiking treats visitors to a handful of easily accessed waterfalls and beautiful overlooks of the river.

We suggest traveling up the river on either side (the trail runs parallel to the river on both sides), until reaching the bridge that allows you to cross the river gorge and following the river back down the opposite side. The hike is a mile or less yet takes visitors past many waterfalls and through a beautiful cedar forest.

If your aim is to take a longer hike after seeing the falls, we suggest either an out-and-back up to the overlook on the west side of the river (via the Superior Hiking Trail) or an out-and-back along the east side of the river through the beautiful boreal forest.

Fall River Waterfall (Grand Marais, MN)

While not as grandiose as some of the other waterfalls mentioned here, this cascade possesses its own unique charm. It can be seen from the Gitchi-Gami trail, conveniently located about two miles west of Grand Marais, between the city limits and Cut Face Creek. So, if you plan on taking your bike out on some paved trail near Grand Marais, we recommend stopping to check out the waterfall.

Pigeon River High Falls (Grand Portage, MN)

Pigeon River High Falls, Grand Portage, MN
Pigeon River High Falls, Grand Portage, MN

The High Falls of the Pigeon River is a spectacular waterfall located in Grand Portage State Park, near the town of Grand Portage. It is the tallest waterfall in the state, with a breathtaking drop of around 120 feet. The Pigeon River, which forms part of the border between the United States and Canada, rushes over ancient volcanic rock formations, creating a powerful rush of water. Accessible via a short handicap accessible trail from the state park’s visitor center, the High Falls of the Pigeon River is a must-see destination for anyone who wants to explore Minnesota’s North Shore.

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