Split Rock River is an interesting river on the North Shore of Minnesota. I guess I will admit, though, that I didn’t find it to be the *most* interesting river there. There are a number of drops along the river, and a few of them are pretty big…but they’re hard to see. The drops that are easy to see are smaller and less significant. I walked about 2 miles or so to see a few different drops, but really can’t say that any one of the stood out in my head. I will mention that every time I see one of the pictures, I think of the intensely red rock around the falls. If you’re in the area, and you have a lot of time to kill, this might be a good choice to see a few unique drops…Otherwise, I would skip it for other falls.
- Heading north on MN-61 along the Lake Superior shoreline, you’ll enter Split Rock State Park. The Split Rock River is very close to the southern boundary, and so you’ll see the parking area.
- A sign indicating the Split Rock River is your best bet at identifying the parking lot for the falls. It is a smaller parking lot used frequently by fisherman. At the start of the trail head, you’ll see a sign indicating the trail.
- After about 0.5 miles, you’ll come to a fork in the trail. Head along the right fork, where you’ll soon come to West Split Rock River Falls. Keep heading along that trail, which goes on for a considerable distance. I only traveled about 2 miles along the trail (one-way).
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Distance of hike: 0.5 to 2.0 miles one-way, depending on how far you’d like to go…and it keeps going.
A waterfall along the Split Rock River
Where in the World is Split Rock Falls #5?
I recently mentioned a waterfall that I couldn’t remember. In the case of Kadunce River Falls, I do remember the waterfall, but what I don’t remember is why I didn’t continue further along the trail. I know I visited the first significant drop along the river, but there are at least three other drops along the river, including one which the authors of the book I used dubbed Heart of the Earth Falls.
It could be that the authors of “Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore”, the Wallingas, mentioned there were steep canyon walls? (It’s a question.) I don’t really remember, but I’m not a fan of big drops, so I might have turned around. I’ve done that before, though usually the drops are much larger in magnitude. Instead, it could be that I was just really tired by that point. I did take this photo later in the day, and had visited MANY waterfalls previous to this one. It may have also been that I had wandered further but hadn’t found what I expected to find. I’m guessing it was some combination of all three, though most likely the tired factor.
Just getting to the base of this waterfall required a lot of effort. I remember being worn out and sweaty after this one waterfall. It’s maybe 70′ to the base, and it’s rather steep, though more manageable than one might expect. There’s a cool and creepy cave right next to the falls. It was a lot of work to see a ~10′ waterfall, but I was determined to have a photo of something. This also gives me a reason to go back and check out more waterfalls along the North Shore. (I really want to go in the fall when the leaves are changing!)
- From Grand Marais, continue just over 9 miles northeast along MN-61 to the Kadunce River State Wayside.
- If headed northeast, the wayside will be on your right. You will then need to cross MN-61 to reach the trail.
- The total trail length is about 1 mile one-way to see all of the falls, if I understand correctly. This first waterfall might be about 0.3 miles in…
Accessibility: 2/10 (to get to base, it’s very slippery, though possible…Be careful!)
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip
Kadunce River Falls in May 2010
Where in the World is Kadunce River Falls?
Northern Wisconsin has a number of great waterfalls, and if you’re looking to see a whole bunch in a single hike, then head to Amnicon Falls State Park (which is not that far from Pattison State Park, which contains Big and Little Manitou Falls). Inside Amnicon Falls State Park, there are the not-so-creatively named Upper and Lower Falls, along with other falls along the river (#1 and #3 have been posted). The waterfall with the coolest name, by far, is Snake Pit Falls, and it is a really beautiful waterfall also.
While it does require a little bit of exploring the loop trail, Snake Pit Falls is clearly marked with a sign. It’s hard to say how tall this portion of the falls is. After searching around on the internet, I later discovered there is another drop a few feet after the one shown below. I may have photographed the lower drop during the exploration, but I didn’t seem to notice both drops at the same time. The total drop is somewhere around 25′. I found this particular drop to be very scenic. Each of the drops along the Amnicon River seems to have its own distinct features. It doesn’t look like a series of continuous rapids that blend together over time. I’m guessing the falls flow year-round, except in extremely dry conditions. It had literally just snowed minutes before, lending a certain chilly but appropriate ambiance to the falls.
1) From Duluth/Superior, head east on US-2.
2) Just after the intersection of US-2 with WI-53, you’ll notice a sign indicating that Amnicon Falls State Park is coming very soon.
3) At the sign indicating the park, turn left onto County Road U.
4) After a very short distance on County Road U, you will find the entrance for the state park. Stop and purchase a day pass if you need one. The ranger at the visitor’s center was extremely helpful at directing me to the falls and telling me how to get to Pattison State Park.
5) Right near the visitor center, you can head right down a rather narrow park road to the end of the road, where you’ll find a parking area just a few feet from the start of the loop trail.
Where in the World is Snake Pit Falls?: map
Snake Pit Falls in May 2010
I had a chance to visit the Pictured Rocks again this weekend, and the park never ceases to disappoint. I’m trying to think how many times I have visited, and it’s got to be around seven now. It must be at least two years since the last visit though. In the past few years, it became possible to drive through much more of the park, at least more easily now that H-58 is paved all the way from Munising to Grand Marais. I had read that a few people were disappointed that the road was no longer had that wilderness feeling. I, on the other hand, was finally excited to experience a few of the places that I had not visited because I really didn’t care for the previously long stretches of unpaved roads.
One place I was now able to visit much more easily was Hurricane River Falls. The parking area at the Hurricane River Campground not only leads to the falls, but very quickly to Lake Superior, and also is one place to start the hike to Au Sable Point Lighthouse. I haven’t yet visited the lighthouse, but I figure I need a reason to visit in the future (not that there aren’t hundreds of good reasons to visit the Pictured Rocks). The main focus was Hurricane River Falls, one of the few easy-to-visit waterfalls in the park that I had yet to visit. There are a few other far more hidden waterfalls I may never see without some assistance, but this is not one of them. It is only a few hundred feet or so from the parking area. Hurricane River Falls isn’t particularly tall, but it is an enjoyable waterfall. The largest drop appears to be found by taking a slight left from the parking area along the river. If you head down toward the beach, you can see what are more of rapids as they meet Lake Superior. I’m not sure that I would drive out of my way just for the falls, but there are many other reasons to visit the area.
- From Grand Marais, head west on Alger County Road H-58.
- Keep going past the Log Slide Overlook (which is worth a stop).
- Drive a few more miles to the Lower Hurricane River Campground. If headed west, the turn will be on your right.
- Head a few hundred yards down the road to the dirt parking area.
- For the falls, just explore the river, both upstream and as it meets Lake Superior.
Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip
Hurricane River Falls in July 2013
Where in the World is Hurricane River Falls?
I visited Beaver River Falls over two years ago, so when I started trying to think back, I couldn’t seem to remember a whole lot about the falls. And then it came to me, glimpses of the falls…
I do distinctly remember it was very easy to visit Beaver River Falls. It is essentially a roadside waterfall, found along the Beaver River in Beaver Bay. There is a large, circular parking area directly adjacent to the river and falls, though there weren’t many people there. As I got out of my car, I remember thinking that this was a really beautiful waterfall, and yet it was equally….frustrating? There were a number of different segments to the falls, and it wasn’t simple to try and photograph the whole falls. So what you end up with is a number of pictures showing what would be interesting waterfalls by themselves, but you lose the totality of the impressive whole. And yet, it is fun to explore both upstream and downstream, trying to find the best vantage point to capture at least part of the falls. I ended up with at least two different views of the falls, and there may have been even more that I did not post.
An update from August 2015: Looking back, I guess I’m not sure why I found Beaver River Falls so “frustrating”, though I guess I do agree that you can’t take a photo of the whole falls easily. The drops are close enough to classify it as one falls and yet far enough away to capture the whole thing. When I visited the park, it had been recently redone, and there was some very weak fencing (1′ or so high) that people had climbed over to see the falls. The trails are pretty obvious, though be careful during rainy weather, as the rocks near the falls can become very slippery. In August, there isn’t nearly as much water flowing over the falls (which is to be expected). (There may be a viewpoint from the bridge that allows for a complete view of the falls, but if so, it’s not obvious that there is…)
- This is a very easy waterfall found directly off of MN-61. If you’ve headed northeast from Duluth, you’ll be driving along MN-61.
- In the town of Beaver Bay, you’ll find a large circular parking area directly next to the Beaver River. You’ll know you’ve gone too far if you go over the Beaver River bridge on MN-61. Turn around if you do, or visit on your return.
- From the parking area, it’s just a short hike downhill to the falls. (As mentioned above, there may be a good view from the bridge, but there’s not an obvious path to the bridge. I may have been distracted by the other trails.)
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.1 mile round-trip
A lower portion of Beaver River Falls
An upper portion of Beaver River Falls
The upper portion of Beaver River Falls in August 2015
Where in the World is Beaver River Falls?
Near the town of Terrace Bay, you can find the relatively tall Aguasabon Falls. Searching around, I had read that there may be another falls further downstream on the Aguasabon River. I remembered that it was supposed to be near the beach/shoreline, and so I tried to figure out someway to see if the falls were there and also easily accessible.
Well, they are easily accessible, though maybe not obvious. It took me a little extra time to find them, considering that at one point I ended up along a road that was clearly not leading to a beach area. I backtracked, and found the sign that was indicating the beach (or maybe it was to the docks). I followed that sign, and after a short but winding drive, I ended up at the beach. Looking upstream, the falls were in sight.
I decided to explore a little bit. There was a trail (Casque Isles Trail) that ran parallel to the river, but that did not lead to any closer views of the falls. Instead, the best way to get closer to the falls is to walk VERY close to the river. There are enough rocks and sand that this is not difficult to do, and you will end up standing in front of the falls. The total drop on the river at this point is larger than it first appears. I’d guess it’s probably 15-20′, though no single drop is that tall. If you decide to visit Aguasabon Falls, take the time to visit its smaller relative. Even if the falls don’t excite you, you’ll still be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Superior.
- From Transcanadian Highway 17 in Terrace Bay, turn right onto Lakeview Drive (assuming that you are headed east initially).
- Almost immediately turn left onto Cartier Drive.
- Drive a short distance to Beach Road. There should be a sign indicating a golf course in that direction. Turn left onto Beach Road.
- Drive to the very end of Beach Road. You should be at the mouth of the Aguasabon River, and from there, the falls are in view.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, you can see the falls from the parking lot), 8/10 (easy/moderate) to get a closer view
Hike: None necessary (though short hike to the falls possible)
Lower Aguasabon Falls in late April 2012
Where in the World is Lower Aguasabon Falls?
When I think about waterfalls, I don’t often think about individual favorites, but often groups of falls within proximity to each other. And Gooseberry Falls State Park is a perfect example of this. It might not be my favorite set of falls, but there are a number of them on the Gooseberry River, AND they are surrounded by a number of other beautiful waterfalls along the North Shore of Minnesota.
Middle Gooseberry Falls is somewhat difficult to separate from its relative, Lower Falls. I believe there might be a way to “hike” down to the base of Middle Falls to get a better view, but I’m not 100% sure. Instead, you can get a pretty complete view of both Middle and Lower Falls together from a viewpoint further downstream. I don’t remember if the view was from the north bank of the river or while crossing the river on one of the bridges. Both falls together are impressive. Gooseberry Falls State Park is pretty popular, though, so choose your visit wisely. In early May, it was bustling, so I can’t imagine the summer months! (Trying to visit a few years later in August, we couldn’t find a parking spot…)
- From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
- Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
- Follow the trail down to the first group of falls, which includes Lower and Middle Falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip
Both Middle and Lower Gooseberry Falls in May 2010
Where in the World is Middle Gooseberry Falls?