Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness region is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls you’ll ever see. We will cover the best Boundary Waters waterfalls to put on your list to visit.
Waterfalls are one of nature’s most beautiful creations. They can be found all over the world, and each one is unique in its way.
The BWCAW region of Minnesota is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls you’ll ever see. Here are some of the best ones to put on your list.
What We Cover
- Best Waterfalls in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area & Wilderness
- 1. Lake Three Falls
- 2. High Falls
- 3. Big Falls
- 4. Le Roy Lakes Waterfall
- 5. Fifty Foot Falls
- 6. Sandy Brook Falls
- 7. Grass River Cascade
- 8. Basswood Cataract
- 9. Lake Four Waterfall
- Best BWCA Waterfalls by Hiking, Canoeing, or Driving
- 10. Bridal Veil Falls (Hike to a waterfall on BWCA)
- 11. Winchell Lake (Canoe to a BWCA Waterfall)
- 12. Johnson Falls (Canoe & Hike to a BWCA Waterfall)
- 13. Stairway Portage (Hike)
- 14. Magnetic Lake and Little Rock Falls (Canoe)
- Drive to a waterfall along the North Shore of Lake Superior
- 15. High Falls
- 16. Beaver River Falls
- 17. Illgen Falls
- 18. Grand Portage Falls
- 19. Grassy Plot Falls
- 20. Gooseberry Falls State Park
- 21. Cascade Falls
- 22. Basswood River Falls
- 23. Poplar River Falls
- 24. Temperance River Falls
- Where are the waterfalls in the Boundary Waters?
- How many waterfalls are in Minnesota?
- Is Fall Lake part of the Boundary Waters?
Best Waterfalls in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area & Wilderness
1. Lake Three Falls
Lake Three Falls is the most accessible waterfall, and it’s a straight shot off the trail from Horseshoe Lake. It falls into a wide pool with a sandy beach. You can slip your kayak in at the bottom or leave your boat onshore as you hike up to the top of the falls for a better view.
2. High Falls
This waterfall is located on Rabbit River at Mudro Lake campground #25A. The hike to the footbridge over the falls is a little over a mile.
You have to hike up to get a good view of this waterfall inlet, but it’s well worth it because there are fewer bugs like ticks and horseflies and no mosquitoes.
See Related: Best Hikes near Minneapolis, Minnesota
3. Big Falls
This BWCA waterfall is located at the beginning of the Seagull River near Sulphide Lake campground #36. It’s about a mile hike up to the footbridge, where you can get an excellent view of this waterfall.
4. Le Roy Lakes Waterfall
This waterfall is located near Ash River Falls and many other Sand Lake waterfalls in the BWCA. This waterfall is just off the side of the trail from Sand Lake to Mink Lake, and it’s a short hike from either loop.
5. Fifty Foot Falls
These BWCA waterfalls are near Limekiln Lake campground #38 on the north shore. It’s not far into the canoe country, but it is on the more challenging side of things.
Fifty Foot Falls drops about 50 feet into a big deep pool below, and there’s a campsite at the top for your convenience.
6. Sandy Brook Falls
Sandy Brook Falls is found on the southeast shore of Little Vermilion Lake, very near Seagull boundary waterfalls #25. It’s an easy hike; it only takes about 15 minutes to get to these waterfalls.
You can catch a great view of the falls from up on the ridge above the lake.
7. Grass River Cascade
This waterfall is located at Kekekabic campground #5. It’s just a short hike from the trail to where you can see these amazing BWCAW waterfalls. It’s a very scenic cascade that is great for photos on Instagram.
See Related: Best Minnesota State Parks
8. Basswood Cataract
Basswood Cataract is located on the Little Basswood River at Bob Lake near North Tea Lake and Caribou Campground #8.
If you’re looking for something that might be more of a challenge, then this waterfall is for you because the portage to reach it is over half a mile long – quite a distance if you’re hauling aluminum canoes.
9. Lake Four Waterfall
The Lake Four Waterfall can be found on Saganaga Lake near Esaagom BWCAW #75. This boundary waters cascade is actually two waterfalls that are connected by a boundary waters catwalk near the lake’s outlet into Saganaga Lake.
It’s just 200 yards off the shore of Lake Four, but you can’t see it from there. You have to hike along the trail over to Deadman Point to get a view of this incredible waterfall.
See Related: Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Minnesota
Best BWCA Waterfalls by Hiking, Canoeing, or Driving
10. Bridal Veil Falls (Hike to a waterfall on BWCA)
Bridal Veil Falls is a stunning waterfall in Minnesota’s BWCA region. The waterfall is easily accessible from Gunflint Lake, but you’ll have to start your hike near Loon Lake. The hike is about 6 hours, but it’s well worth it once you see the falls.
Bridal Veil Falls might be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
11. Winchell Lake (Canoe to a BWCA Waterfall)
Winchell Lake is a secluded and pristine lake located in the region of northeastern Minnesota. The lake is known for its many waterfalls, including a hidden waterfall that can be heard from a small creek that feeds into the lake from Tremble Lake.
Winchell can be accessed from Poplar Lake, paddling to Lizz Lake, then paddling through Lizz to Caribou, to Horseshoe, Gaskin, and finally Winchell.
See Related: Best Lakes in Minnesota
12. Johnson Falls (Canoe & Hike to a BWCA Waterfall)
The hike to the falls is short but steep, and the view is worth the effort. Be sure to bring your camera.
13. Stairway Portage (Hike)
One of our favorite waterfalls to canoe to in BWCA is the Stairway Portage in Bearskin Lake. This portage is a short walk down some stairs, and once you reach the bottom, you can see the beautiful waterfalls before you.
The Rose Falls is also located near this portage and is well worth seeing right on Rose Lake.
14. Magnetic Lake and Little Rock Falls (Canoe)
One of the best places to admire the natural wonders of Minnesota’s North Shore is Magnetic Lake, located just north of Gunflint Lake. Here, you’ll find Little Rock Falls, a series of graceful cascades that drop over 30 feet.
If you’re looking for a breathtaking view, be sure to add Magnetic Lake and Little Rock Falls to your list of canoeing adventures.
Read Also: Gunflint Trail Resorts
Drive to a waterfall along the North Shore of Lake Superior
This beautiful area is home to some of the most impressive falls in the country. If you want a breathtaking experience, build a waterfall tour along Lake Superior.
15. High Falls
High Falls is located in Tettegouche State Park and is known for its impressive height. The flows plunge nearly 100 feet into a gorge below and are probably the best waterfall overall in Minnesota.
It’s located right along Lake Superior, so it’s an easy pull-off along Highway 61.
16. Beaver River Falls
Beaver River Falls is a spectacular waterfall on the North Shore of Minnesota. Beaver River flows and drops 300 meters through cascading and falls to Highway 61 crossing before reaching sedimentary Beaver Bay.
This is just ten yards from the pedestrian path north of Highway 61 in Cook County. If you have no intention of stopping, I guess you’ll see it through the car window. It’s a waterfall you’ll find on the North Shore and a great spot to stop on your way to Grand Marais or Grand Portage State Park.
See Related: Best Cabins in Minnesota
17. Illgen Falls
This waterfall is located in the Boundary Waters and is known for its powerful flow. It’s definitely one of the most dramatic falls in the area. Illgen Falls is located just outside Tettegouche State Park and is upstream from High Falls on the Baptism River.
See Related: Things to Do in Ely, Minnesota
18. Grand Portage Falls
This waterfall is located on the Pigeon River near Grand Portage State Park and Isle Royale National Park near the Canadian border. It’s one of the most powerful falls in Minnesota and can be viewed from a gorgeous hiking trail. This is the tallest waterfall in Minnesota.
19. Grassy Plot Falls
This waterfall is located on the Sturgeon River near Moose Lake on the Gunflint Trail. It’s a smaller fall but still worth visiting if you’re looking for an adventure.
20. Gooseberry Falls State Park
These falls near Two Harbors make for a great day hike. This is one of the most popular places on the North Shore and along Lake Superior.
But rightfully so, this is an epic spot for camping, hiking, or simply taking in the layers of falls from the Gooseberry River.
21. Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls is located along the Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior at Cascade River State Park. It’s a gorgeous two-part waterfall as part of the Cascade River, seen from an observation platform along the trail.
Cascade Falls is one of our favorite stops to Grand Marais. The iconic Cascade River drains right into Lake Superior. It’s an easy pull-off spot along Highway 61 in Cook County.
22. Basswood River Falls
This BWCAW waterfall is known for its powerful current and stunning surroundings. It’s one of the camping spots you don’t want to miss out on during your trip.
See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends
23. Poplar River Falls
The Poplar River Falls is a beautiful waterfall that can be found along Highway 61 of Minnesota. It’s located on the north side of the river, and it’s a great place to stop and take pictures. The waterfall is about 15 feet high and a great place to see in the summertime.
24. Temperance River Falls
Located near the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota, the Temperance River Falls is a waterfall that’s well worth checking out. The falls are located on the Temperance River and are stunning.
At nearly 70 feet high, these falls will take your breath away. And, if you’re up for a little adventure, you can even hike behind the falls for an up-close and personal view.
From the amazing falls on Lake Superior to the depths of the lakes of the BWCAW visiting these spots is one of the most peaceful things to see, and it allows us to be closer to nature than ever before. Take time out of your busy schedule to see these beautiful outdoor waterfalls in Minnesota’s BWCAW.
Where are the waterfalls in the Boundary Waters?
There are several great waterfalls in the Boundary Waters, including our favorites of Rebecca, Curtain Lower, and Upper Basswood Falls.
How many waterfalls are in Minnesota?
Minnesota has some of the best waterfalls in the United States, including over 100 cascading waterfalls worth visiting.
Is Fall Lake part of the Boundary Waters?
Fall Lake is part of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wilderness region. A permit is required to enter the Boundary Waters canoes (BWCAW).