Amity Falls, Minnesota

Amity Falls in May 2010

Northeastern Duluth contains a number of waterfalls that are very easy to visit. One is known as Lester Falls (or The Shallows). Along a creek, Amity Creek, that runs nearly parallel with the Lester River, you will find Amity Falls. Amity Falls is the easier to find, though if you’re in the area, stop by and visit both. They are less than a mile from each other.

Amity Falls is found in Lester Park. There are numerous pathways that crisscross the park, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if there were some way to walk from Amity Falls to Lester Falls. I’m not sure how easy it would be to describe that path, though. After parking along the main road, you only have a short distance to hike to the falls. A pedestrian bridge crosses right over the falls. One great viewpoint is on the south side of the creek, though it does require a somewhat downhill climb. Another view of the falls is more easily accessed from the north side, though for some reason, I just don’t seem to remember the view being as good. While Amity Falls is not extremely large or tall, it is still a very enjoyable journey.

Directions:

  1. From Duluth, head north on MN-61 for a few miles.
  2. There will be a sign indicating the Lester Park. You’ll turn left onto Occidental Boulevard.
  3. Go down somewhat less than a mile until the road crosses the river.  Right around that area, you’ll find a makeshift parking area in along the dirt road.
  4. From there, it’s just a very short hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Amity Falls?

French River Falls, Minnesota

French River Falls Minnesota (6).jpg

An upper portion of French River Falls

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about French River Falls is the overwhelming scent of rotting flesh…Not really the first thing you WANT to come to mind when you’re thinking about waterfalls, or anything for that matter (unless you’re a dog or vulture, I guess). How did I arrive at the dead flesh point in the story? Well, there’s stuff that went on before that…

Minnesota state route 61 is where many of the North Shore waterfalls are found. When going from Duluth to Grand Portage, French River Falls is found nearer Duluth. It is on the north side of the road. The river is surprisingly easy to find, but it’s not nearly as easy to get to the waterfall. Well, maybe not hard, but deceiving. The first time I drove by, I wasn’t even sure where to park. It seems so odd to just “pull off” on the side of a major road and just park, but that’s essentially what you’re supposed to do.

Once you park on the side of the road, there’s no clear path to the falls, but it’s still pretty obvious to head toward the bridge. Put bug spray on…I have a feeling there are likely ticks in the grass you have to tramp through. Once you get to the river, you have to maneuver down to the bottom. It’s not so difficult, you just have to be careful. I don’t remember it being easy to find a place, though, where you can get a full picture of the falls. That is probably because the smell of dead animal was deterring me from wanting to spend very long looking for a better view. Oh well, check it out, and you might have a better experience than me.

Directions:

  1. If you’re heading north on MN-61 from Duluth, the best way to find the falls is to look for the French River! I was actually Old/Scenic Highway 61, which is right near the lakeshore. It is very easy to notice the French River as you cross it. Right before the French River is a road, County Road 50 (or Ryan Rd.) If you turn left on this road, you can head toward MN-61 (the freeway).
  2. Instead of turning onto MN-61, head across the road and park on the side of the road. You’ll be parked on the north side of the road, though traffic will be heading south.
  3. Park on the side of Ryan Rd. and head north toward the French River. It is only a few hundred feet to the river, so if you don’t reach it quickly, you’re not at the right place!
  4. Maneuver down to the falls. (For other information, check out Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore by Eve and Gary Wallinga. It has information on other waterfalls along the North Shore.)

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

French River Falls in May 2010

 Where in the World is French River Falls?

The Shallows/Lester Falls, Minnesota

Let me start out by saying that I’m not actually sure whether this is The Shallows. I think it is, but I could be wrong. It is a waterfall on the Lester River, and since it’s the one that I found, I’m calling it Lester Falls/The Shallows.

The Lester River was one of the last stops on my way back to the Duluth Airport. I parked at one of the parking areas along the river, and I wasn’t really sure where to look for the falls. I’m assuming there are smaller ones along the way…I wandered on the right side of the river, and found a trail that had steps that led down to the river. That’s where I found the waterfall of interest. It’s a very nice waterfall, with the rock patterns around it being interesting.

Directions:

  1. From Duluth, head north on MN-61 for a few miles.
  2. There will be a sign indicating the Lester Park. You’ll turn left on to Lester River Rd.
  3. After going a short distance, you’ll find the parking areas for the park. If you stop at one of those, you should be able to find trails that follow the river.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

The Shallows (Lester Falls) in May 2010

Where in the World is The Shallows/Lester Falls?