Stop number three on the home state tour and this time I am going across the border to Wisconsin. This is a short drive from the Twin Cities, approx. 40 minutes. During COVID Minnesota residents could not buy a day pass to this park so I had to buy a seasonal pass. Due to COIVD, you could only buy the pass online it was USD 35.
Day 1 – Two Waterfalls & Three Parks 07.22.2020
I drove to Minneapolis to meet up with my mate Dominic. Before leaving we talked out a route that was going to have 3 stops instead of driving directly to Willow River. The first stop was in Hastings, south of Minneapolis. The park is free and has a big waterfall. Looking at pictures online I thought this was going to be a lot nicer. However, the walk from the parking lot is maybe 5 minutes to the waterfall and the waterfall seems to be more of a dam than a waterfall and is next to an old mill. There is no cost and may be worth a stop if you’re in the area but probably not worth going out of the way.
Since we had to buy a seasonal state park pass for Wisconsin we decided that we would stop at Kinnickinnic State Park. This park was along the way to Willow River from Vermillion Falls Park. There aren’t any waterfalls here, but there is a nice hike down to the river and a good overlook.
When we arrived at Willow River State Park we parked at Willow Falls Parking lot, there is a steep paved path down to the Falls. We walked up the side of the falls to get to the top which has a small “cave” that you can sit in and overlook the park. If it’s nice enough out you can swim in the falls.
After Dominic and I took the long walk around the park, the Nelson Farm Trail 9.7 km (6.1 mi). Most of the walk is through woods and fields. As the walk gets to the top there is an overlook over Little Falls Lake. So far out of all my trips I’ve realized the hikes are not as nice as they are in other parts of the United States or the other countries I have traveled too but the waterfalls have been worth it. I have yet to go to a place that I thought I would need to stay more than a day.
Five waterfalls down, a lot more to go! Minnesota Waterfall Counter:
- Wolf Creek Falls – Banning State Park
- Big Spring Falls – Banning State Park
- Swinging Bride Falls – Jay Cooke State Park
- Vermillion Falls – Vermillion Falls Park
- Willow Falls – Willow River State Park
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