Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cascade Falls (Cascade River State Park) -
Lutsen, Minnesota

My father and I first visited the Cascade River State Park Recreation Site near Lutsen, Minnesota on our first Lake Superior Circle Tour in 2011. We made the short, quarter-mile hike up to Cascade Falls (an impressive 25-foot plunge), snapped a few pictures then went on our way. We had no idea what we were missing out on by not following the trail farther, until my dad returned the next fall with my stepmom and found the additional cascades on the trail. There are so many turns and drops to the river with so many places to climb on rocks for better views, that it would be easy to spend a day here to take it all in.
This has become an annual stop for us now, and in high water each drop is spectacular. There is a copper tint to the water similar to many of Michigan's Upper Peninsula falls and given how easy and well-worn the path is, there's little excuse not to follow it and check out this great park!
As always, caution is advised when venturing off the trail to get closer views, but the rock is fairly smooth and flat in most places, especially near a bridge that spans the river and marks the start of the trail's loop back to the parking lot.
As further reinforcement of how beautiful this area is, on one of our visits there was a woman painting the landscape. I would love to see the finished product.
This picture shows how close the drops are, and gives a small look at how many there are. Cascade Falls is the gem here, but it's just the beginning. It's just over a mile to make the full loop, and as you can see it's more than worth the effort. The video below is from our visit in 2012 and I tried to give a good look of the entire loop.

The parking area for the falls is at mile marker 100 on highway 61 in MN, north of Lutsen and south of Grand Marais. The path goes straight up to Cascade Falls, then follow it uphill and off to the left, as it follows the river before crossing and heading down the opposite bank. The Wallingas' book Waterfalls of the North Shore (linked in upper right corner), first turned us on to these falls and provided excellent directions.

1 comment:

  1. It’s a nice blog about the hiking of Cascade Falls. People come to Cascade to see rushing river and grand waterfalls that lay within a gorge on black volcanic rocks. I also enjoyed the visit of this park before bus tours from boston to washington dc. I went hiking with some friends up above Cascade Falls. It was beautiful to be out in the woods and get some fresh air. It’s a super easy hike and short.