Shadow Falls, Minnesota

Shadow Falls (35)

Shadow Falls in September 2019

I didn’t know what to expect from Shadow Falls. I was visiting Minnesota and Wisconsin this past weekend, and flew in and out of Minneapolis. I had a few waterfalls on Wisconsin on my list, but I didn’t really have any from Minnesota on my radar. Luckily I brought one of the books that included Shadow Falls. The description was somewhat helpful, but didn’t really reveal how interesting Shadow Falls could be.

A few years ago, I had visited Hidden Falls, which is on the same side of the Mississippi River. It’s an interesting park, but Hidden Falls didn’t have much water and had aspects of human touches. I maybe expected that from the photos I saw of Shadow Falls. What I found was a much taller (than I expected) waterfall definitely a bit more rustic in getting to the falls.

Luckily, it’s a short hike to the falls, but if there’s any rain or water nearby, you’re likely to get a bit muddy. The initial hike to the falls isn’t very difficult. You could get a view of a portion of the falls from the trail above the falls. But if you want to get to the base, it becomes a bit more interesting. There is a trail to the base, but it is a bit slippery and steep. The ground has a lot of clay in it, and this can make shoes very slick. But if you can get down to the base, you realize that the waterfall is much more interesting that it seems from above.


  1. Head to Shadow Falls Park by using Google Maps. (There are so many different ways you could approach it.)
  2. Really, the trick is deciding where to park. I think there is some parking off of Mississippi River Boulevard near The Monument. On weekends, there is parking available on some of the streets nearby. I parked on Exeter Place, and that leads you much closer to the start of the hike.
  3. The start of the hike is near the intersection of Exeter Place and Mississippi River Boulevard, and is a dirt trail.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Shadow Falls?


Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota

Minnehaha Falls in mid-October 2011

If you’re visiting Minneapolis, and you want to see a waterfall in the city, Minnehaha Falls is the waterfall for you. It’s a few miles outside of downtown Minneapolis in one of the suburbs not to far from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Getting to the falls is not particularly difficult either. I was expecting to face a lot of traffic, but there wasn’t a significant amount, and there was also plentiful parking when I visited.

At Minnehaha Falls Park, you’ll find a fish and chips restaurant (which I didn’t visit since I’m not a big fish person). You’ll also find a number of different viewpoints for the falls. There is one viewpoint that essentially starts near the crest of the falls and extends outward without any significant elevation change. This is where the picture shown here was taken. If you would like to get a closer view, head down the stone steps to the viewpoint in front of the base of the falls. You’ll be in front of the falls, though you won’t be extremely close to them. When I visited in mid-October of last year, the sun just so happened to be at the right angle that it was causing some problems getting great pictures. There also wasn’t a massive amount of water, though there was still more than a number of other falls in the area (some of which had almost dried out).

Note: Hidden Falls is found very close by on the other side of the Mississippi River.


  1. There are a number of different ways to get to the falls. One would be to exit MN-62 (if you’re headed west) at Hiawatha Avenue (which is also MN-55).
  2. You’ll continue on MN-55 for a short distance.
  3. Then turn right onto Minnehaha Avenue and essentially follow the signs to the park.
  4. There is a parking fee required, though it is not any significant amount. Just bring change. I ended up parking further away in order to avoid any difficulties parking.
  5. Follow the people to the falls!

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 53′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip (from nearest parking area)

Where in the World is Minnehaha Falls?