Waterfalls

Cross River WaterfallThe North Shore of Lake Superior has the best waterfall viewing of anywhere in Minnesota, perhaps the Midwest. The unique geologic formations along the North Shore allow visitors to witness breathtaking waterfalls ranging from the highest in Minnesota – the 120-foot High Falls at Grand Portage State Park — to raging falls right in Bluefin Bay’s back yard.

Some of our favorite waterfall viewing and waterfall hikes include Temperance River State Park, Cascade River State Park, Baptism Falls at Tettegouche State Park, the Cross River at Schroeder,  as well as the surprise pop-up waterfalls along North Shore Scenic Drive, Highway 61.

In the Spring when the snow melts, these waterfalls swell and create spectacular sights. A hike in a State Park with raging rivers and roaring waterfalls waterfall is not only great fun and sightseeing, but the hiking is equally spectacular. Many of the best North Shore waterfalls are a reasonable walk or a short drive from Bluefin Bay Resorts. Check with Guest Services for current trail conditions, waterfall sightseeing suggestions, and to learn more about our spring waterfall hikes.

View this printable map of the North Shore waterfalls along Scenic Highway 61 – North Shore Scenic Drive.

TRAVEL TIP: Embark on a Waterfall Sightseeing Tour as you head up (or down) the North Shore to/from Bluefin Bay Resorts. There are some spectacular waterfalls along the route.  Or, use Bluefin Bay Resorts as your home base and head in one direction or the other.

The list and resource links below will help you plan your own Waterfall Sightseeing Tour! Tip: The rivers begin raging and the Falls roaring as the snow melts. In years like 2018 where we’ve had a ton of snowfall, the waterfall season starts in March and extends into May.

  • Lester River Falls, about 5 miles from Duluth, near the Superior Street Bridge (with a creekside trail)
  • Gooseberry River State Park – Visit the Upper, Lower, Middle & Fifth Falls (a great place to stretch your legs & view spectacular spring waterfalls. There can be more people on weekends in the spring, but it’s a great spot for waterfall video!)
  • Split Rock River & Split Rock Lighthouse State Park – If you haven’t yet stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, it’s a must see and a great place to spend an afternoon. It has a great 5-mile loop hike where you can see the river’s cascades (not waterfalls, but gorgeous)
  • Baptism River – Tettegouche State Park (High Falls & Two Step Falls) – breathtaking hiking and waterfall viewing and another guest favorite and a great place to spend an afternoon or just stretch your legs. Click here for map
  • Caribou Falls State Wayside – A great hike along the Caribou River leads to the base of the 40-foot Caribou Falls waterfall, and also provides stunning views of Lake Superior and the Caribou River gorge.
  • Cross River Falls at Schroeder – you can’t miss this 100′ falls as you drive right by on Hwy 61 as you head North to Bluefin Bay Resorts
  • Temperance River Falls at Temperance River State Park – truly a Bluefin Bay guest and staff favorite and the most popular waterfall viewing because of its beauty and proximity to all three Bluefin Bay Resorts. You can walk to Temperance River State Park from either Temperance Landing or Surfside Resort. The Temperance River carves out a narrow, twisted gorge before it empties into Lake Superior. You can walk around the rim of the gorge and climb down into it. There is parking right along Hwy 61 so it’s an easy stop on the way up or down the shore.
  • Cascades & Falls at Cascade River State Park – this is just north of Bluefin Bay Resorts, a beautiful drive along Scenic Highway 61 and one of the most accessible waterfall viewings for those who don’t want to do a lot of hiking. Another guest and staff favorite.
  • The Brule River with Upper Falls, Devils Kettle & Lower Falls in Judge Magney State Park — this is a hot spot for waterfall viewing and worth the drive. While Devil’s Kettle is the most famous of the Falls, most of our guests visit all three. Venture about a mile and a half inland for the Lower Falls first, then the Upper Falls and next Devil’s Kettle. (Again, don’t forget your phone or camera for spectacular video and photos in the Spring.)
  • High Falls of the Pigeon River at Grand Portage State Park – totally worth the drive from Bluefin Bay Resorts any time of year, but particularly in the Spring when the river is raging and this 120′ waterfall drop creates spectacular spray! (An easy half-mile trail leads to the Falls with two great decks for viewing. Have your camera and phone in hand!)