Split Rock Falls #7, Minnesota

The Split Rock River is a beautiful hike near Minnesota’s North Shore. At the time, it wasn’t a favorite, and I do still believe there are other more interesting waterfalls in the area. But after a period of time, I do believe the photographs of the falls along the river are more beautiful than I remember. The red rock in the area really stands out with this set of falls.

I think I might have been tired at the time. Some of the more interesting falls along this river are also the more difficult to view and photograph because of trees along with the natural curve of the river. I wouldn’t necessarily trust the numbering, but I think this was the 7th waterfall I was able to visit along the path. It is also the last that I viewed before turning around. The trail along the river continues on for a considerable distance. This falls actually seems to be two separate rivers/creeks that meet. It is interesting, but I wasn’t very close the falls.

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
Height: 30′
Distance of hike: 0.5 to 2.0 miles one-way, depending on how far you’d like to go…and it keeps going.

Split Rock River Falls #7 in May 2010

Where in the World is Split Rock Falls #7?

Split Rock Falls #4, Minnesota

There are a number of waterfalls along the Split Rock River (near Minnesota’s North Shore). I previously discussed one of the falls, Split Rock Falls #3. The main attraction in the park is the Split Rock Lighthouse, which is an absolutely amazing sight. The falls along the river are lesser known, which means you will likely have much of the trial to yourself.

I don’t particularly believe any of the falls are truly spectacular, but the hike is rather enjoyable. The thing I seem to notice the most is the iron-red color of the rock near the falls. This particular falls, which was about the fourth major drop, was partially hidden behind a large rock, at least from the vantage point I was at. If you have extra time, visit the falls, though they wouldn’t be one of my top choices.  Others are more interesting or spectacular.

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 2.0 miles round-trip to see many of the falls

A drop on the Split Rock River (in May 2010)

Where in the World is Split Rock Falls #4?

Split Rock Falls #3, Minnesota

Split Rock State Park is most widely known for the amazing Split Rock Lighthouse. Inside the park, though, is the Split Rock River. Along the river, there are a number of drops. As a whole, the set of waterfalls are not extremely exciting. The hike is very beautiful, but some of the drops are blocked by trees, while others are smaller. The red rock along the river is the one thing that makes the waterfalls more memorable.

This is really the first waterfall along the river that a clear view can be obtained. There are one or two other large drops before this that are tricky to photograph, even in early spring when the trees really hadn’t started getting leaves. The 3rd falls is wider but rather nondescript.

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 trailhead, you’ll see a sign indicating the trail.
  3. 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: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 2 miles round-trip the many falls

The 3rd drop on the Split Rock River (May 2010)

Where in the World is Split Rock Falls #3?

West Split Rock River Falls, Minnesota

West Split Rock River Falls in May 2010

In searching for waterfalls to visit during my trip along the North Shore of Minnesota, I found the waterfalls on the Split Rock River. They sounded very interesting and all. I found the parking area for the trail that leads to the falls, which is not as apparent as it should be.

I started hiking along, and after about 0.5 miles, West Split Rock River is the first waterfall you stumble upon. I have a hunch that it is not on the same river as the others, considering that the volume going over the falls is considerably different than that on the Split Rock River. I was pleasantly surprised to find this fall, and you can get very close to it.

Oddly enough, this is probably the only waterfall I would ever consider visiting again along the trail that leads to the other falls. After this trail, I felt like I was walking along forever and not really getting great views of any of the waterfalls. There may be a few waterfalls that could be impressive if there weren’t trees blocking them while simultaneously being 100+ feet above them. They just weren’t that impressive, while this little gem stood out.

An Update from August 2015:  Well, it ends up that this is a seasonal waterfall. While many of the waterfalls in Minnesota are still flowing fairly well in August, West Split Rock River Falls is reduced to barely a trickle.

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, a little steep at the beginning, but still doable)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

DSC_0102

The falls reduced to barely a trickle in August 2015

Where in the World is West Split Rock River Falls?