Apr 25 2011
What is it about waterfalls that attracts people to want to see them, hear them, and feel their spray? As a child on the flatlands of North Dakota, we didn’t see many waterfalls. I remember driving through the mountains in the summertime, though, and loving to spot a waterfall as the winter snow melted and ran down to the valleys and rivers. They were something new and exciting for us.
My kids have seen more waterfalls in their young lives that I did as a child. Much of that is due to the fact that there are some near our home, so we can explore them one some of our nearby adventures. Others we’ve come across when farther from home, stopping along the road or hiking a path to find these treasures. These are some of our favorites:
Gooseberry Falls, on Minnesota’s North Shore. These falls are found in Gooseberry State Park, where there are kid-friendly hiking trails that lead to Lake Superior if you go far enough. A beautiful warm fall day made for some great memories here. Just down the road, visit Split Rock Lighthouse.
Minneopa Falls, near Mankato, Minnesota. Also part of a state park, these falls can range from rushing and gushing in springtime to barely a trickle during a dry summer. Hiking trails and bridges above and below the falls allow you to get close to the water.
Bridal Veil Falls, Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa. The main overlook of this park provides beautiful views of the Mississippi River, but hike along the well-marked trail and you’ll find this treasure.
St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now part of the Mississippi River’s lock and dam system, these falls were one of the early landmarks of Minneapolis. Today you can walk or bike across the Stone Arch Bridge to get from St. Anthony Main to downtown Minneapolis. Nearby stops include Mill City Museum and the Ard Godfrey House.
Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota. These falls on the Minnehaha Creek are easily accessed by car or the light rail train, and are also part of the extensive trail system that connects to the Chain of Lakes and other areas of the city.
Pedernales Falls, near Johnson City, Texas. These falls in Texas Hill Country are more rolling than falling, but are beautiful nonetheless. The wide, flat rocks call people out to get close to the water, but many signs in the area encourage you to be equally aware of flash floods.
Minnemishinona Falls near Mankato, Minnesota. On private land for many years, these falls were only recently opened to the public. They’re an easy walk from the parking lot, and are just as beautiful when frozen as when water is moving over them.
(Not pictured) Ramsey Falls, Redwood Falls, Minnesota. I’m going to make a confession on this one–the overlook for these falls is high enough that I’ve only dared take one of my children there. I’m not fond of heights, and I was always afraid I’d lose track of one of the kids if I took four preschoolers. We need to go back as a family now, and not just for the falls–Ramsey Park is a beautiful park with trails, playgrounds, a small zoo, and campgrounds.
Do you have a favorite waterfall?