My first Waterfall trip of the summer, pick up where I left off last August and back up to the North Shore. This time with my mates Dominic & Austin. We planned to visit Grand Portage State Park, Judge CR Magney State Park, and Cascade River State Park.
This is a five-hour drive from Minneapolis so we will be spending the night at Grand Portage Casino. With the pandemic still going on, everything had limited hours, so our main focus was going to be hiking and biking.
Day 1 – Grand Portage State Park 05.25.2021
We left the Twin Cities late Monday night and arrived just after midnight. We had breakfast at the casino and were talking to the server, Rory who told us there is another waterfall around the area on the reservation called Partridge Falls that nobody goes to, so we decided to add that as a maybe to the list depending on how the day went.
The plan for the day was to bike the stretch of 61 from Grand Portage to the Canadian border (location of the park). This is a 22 km (13.6 mi) round trip ride where the elevation changes over 305 meters (1000 feet). This is also one of Minnesota’s two “mountains”, Mount Josephine.
Arriving at the park, we first went up the big falls. This is a very easy trail and has some stairs. Once we got to the top we were welcomed to Minnesota’s tallest waterfall, High Pigeon Falls.
The next stop was to middle and lower falls, which is a hiking trail with some moderate difficulty. Halfway through the trail, there is a beautiful lookout of Lake Superior and then if you go further up the hill you get a lookout of the “mountains”.
We arrived at the lower falls and saw a few Canadians on the other side, we sat here to have lunch and then walked down to the middle falls.
We biked back to the casino and decided that we should head out to Partridge falls. Since we were so far North the sun was going to set after 22:00 giving us plenty of time to visit. We drove out to Partridge falls and the GPS couldn’t find it, we kept driving down a sketch dirt road surrounded by woods with no cell service and then eventually got to the river. Once we got out of the car we could hear the falls were nearby so we walked through mud and woods.
We found it! A beautiful waterfall and even better than the Pigeon falls!
We went back to the casino to find out the entire reservation was shut down and there was no food or store open within a 50-minute one-way drive. Lesson learned on that one. The casino does have an awesome bonfire pit next to the lake where we were able to set up a fire and enjoy the sunset.
Day 2 – State Parks & Drive Home 05.26.2021
With a long drive home and planning to stop at two state parks, we made our way out early in the morning. Before we started our journey back home we drove up 61 to the Wayswaugoing Bay Overlook. We were hoping to get a good view yesterday when e biked by but the fog was too dense. Luckily this morning it was a clear day.
The first waterfall stop was to see Devil’s Kettle Falls at Judge CR Magney State Park. This is a bit of a hike about an hour round trip, it has a lot of Mud in the spring and there is of course a lot of stairs to hike up and down. Once you get down the first set of stairs there is Upper Falls, where you can walk right up to the falls.
After that, you go back up more stairs to see Devil’s Kettle. You can’t get too close but there is a good observation deck overlooking the falls.
The next stop is Cascade River State Park which hosts five waterfalls that you can walk throughout the entire park and then the last falls go right out to Lake Superior. We were here for about an hour and were able to see all five parks. The hiking is very easy and worth a visit. Unfortunately, my GoPro died and I didn’t get any videos
Below is a one-minute video of the highlights from my time in Grand Portage, be sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel for more content.
14 waterfalls down, past the halfway point! 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
- Minnehaha Falls – Minnehaha Regional Park
- Shingle Creek Falls – Webber Park
- Minneopa Falls – Minneopa State Park
- Minnemishinona Falls – Mankato
- Gooseberry Falls – Gooseberry State Park
- Pigeon Falls – Grand Portage State Park
- Partridge Falls – Grand Portage Reservation
- Devil’s Kettle Falls – Judge CR Magney State Park
- Cascade Falls – Cascade River State Park
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