**Updated : January 2023**
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Earlier today (yes, today, haha) Tyler and I explored some new to us waterfalls right here in the Twin Cities! Most of these were ones we've never visited, although our adventure also included some classics like Minnehaha Falls. Read on for a list of 6 waterfalls that can be easily visited in a single day this winter! (Of course, you can always split them up too!) We hope to continue to add to this list, so if you know of any others feel free to let us know in the comments!
Willow Falls, Willow River State Park
Ok, so we're starting off this list with a waterfall that isn't technically in the Twin Cities. Willow Falls is one of our favorite waterfalls and it's pretty close to the rest of the waterfalls on this list, so it can easily be added to the beginning or end of an adventure (which is why we included it)! We recommend bringing spikes or snowshoes since there is a pretty steep hill to get down to the waterfall, however it's a pretty short hike to the bottom viewing platform of Willow Falls. You can also continue across the river and up the stairs for another epic view of the falls. It is important to note that there is $13 fee to access Willow River State Park, but there are quite a few snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails in the park. We also recommend visiting in the summer months for more stunning views!
St. Anthony Falls, Stone Arch Bridge
Close to downtown Minneapolis, this waterfall was initially shaped much differently! Situated at mile 853 of the Mississippi River, the dam was constructed and finished in 1956, which drastically changed the look of the waterfall. You can easily see this waterfall from the Stone Arch Bridge, an iconic structure in the heart of Minneapolis. We recommend parking in one of the Pay Parking lots near the Guthrie then walking over the bridge, you'll see the falls to your left!
Bridal Veil Falls, Prospect Park
So, we couldn't actually find this one ourselves this time around, however we're told this waterfall used to be as majestic as Minnehaha Falls, however thanks to dams put in place it's close to dried up. Directions begin at the Franklin Avenue Bridge, where you're then supposed to follow the staircase down to the river bed and towards the U of M boat-house. You can also begin at East River Flats Park, which is where we started. However, the staircase to descend to the river bed at this location had completely been plowed over, and we had no way to get through to the beginning of the stairs. We hope to be able to try this one again some day!
Shadow Falls, Shadow Falls Park
A new to us waterfall, this beauty also had a fairly short hike! Our closest guess would be about a quarter to a half mile each way, with a pretty hard to find entrance to the trail! Begin at the World War 1 memorial in Shadow Falls Park, then head right if facing the Mississippi River. There'll be a fence and exactly to the right of it should be a narrow trail, you can see Tyler pointing to the entrance in the photo above. Follow this down for a view of the falls from above! We weren't able to figure out a way to safely get down to the bottom, but agree the views would be much better from below. Please note this trail is fairly narrow, so be aware of where you're stepping!
Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Regional Park
At 53 feet tall, Minnehaha Falls is a Minnesota icon, if you know you know. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here every year, with almost as many if not more during the winter months! A number of years ago the stairs down to the bottom of the falls would be open year round, however after a collapse that resulted in some injuries a few winters ago the stairs have since been closed during winter months and even trespassing citations have been handed out to rule breakers. Although stunningly beautiful, we can't encourage you to try to head behind the falls due to safety issues. We can, however, encourage you to park near "Minnehaha Park - Wabun F" and take the Lower Glen Trail to the bottom of Minnehaha Falls. This will be a much flatter, safer journey in the winter.
Hidden Falls, Hidden Falls Regional Park
Head in from the North Entrance/Magoffin Avenue Entrance of Hidden Falls Regional Park and begin at the first parking lot to the right. From here you'll head back towards the direction you came from, passing the restrooms and picnic shelter. There should be a trail that continues into the woods, follow this to the right and after a short hike you'll find the end of the trail which coincidentally is also Hidden Falls! Although a little shorter than the other falls, you'll be able to climb up close and touch the frozen waterfall, which definitely makes it worth the short hike in our opinion!
Crosby Farm Falls, Crosby Farm Regional Park
Our last waterfall is another one we couldn't find ourselves, however it is supposed to be very close to Hidden Falls! Begin by heading to Crosby Farm Regional Park, in the small circular parking lot that is just south of the intersection of I-35E and Shepard Road. From here directions say to take the trail that follows the north shore of Crosby Lake, however we weren't able to quite find the correct trail in the snow. If you do, the waterfall is said to be right next to a sandstone canyon.
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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