Making your way to Shadow Falls Park near the University of St. Thomas involves an often-muddy trek down a hill (don’t wear your white sneakers) but is well worth the quest to see the falls.
Coon Rapids Dam
The Coon Rapids Dam may not technically be a natural waterfall, but it is a place to see falling water—and visit well-kept parks on either side of the dam. Bonus: It’s also one of the best areas in the metro for bird-watching.
St. Anthony Falls
St. Anthony Falls, near Mill Ruins Park, used to be actual free-flowing falls, but we harnessed and tamed it to power Minneapolis’s milling industry in the 1800s. Peep the falls from the Stone Arch Bridge, or take a ranger-led tour of the lock and dam, available most summer days. nps.gov/miss
Wander through the storybook-worthy Hidden Falls Regional Park in search of the aptly named Hidden Falls, a series of babbling brooks tucked into a deep-green enclave of flora.
Hundreds of years ago, Minnehaha Falls and its surrounding area served as a peaceful gathering site for the Dakota people. Now, some 850,000 people from Minnesota and beyond gather at the 53-foot cascade every year within Minnehaha Regional Park.
Bridal Veil Falls
If you’re hiking on the trails near the U of M’s boathouse off East River Parkway, you might see Bridal Veil Falls —what was once a cascade rivaling Minnehaha is now a dammed-up dribble, but hey, when you find it, it still feels like you’ve stumbled upon something special. Look for it north of the Franklin Avenue Bridge.
Waterfalls can come and go based on the (duh) abundance of water in a given season. If you find yourself in the Minnehaha Dog Park and you discover a secret waterfall, it actually has a name: Novelty Falls.