Exploring Duluth’s Waterfalls: A Hiker’s Guide to Hidden Cascades

If you’re anything like us, there’s just something about the mesmerizing beauty of water cascading down rock formations, creating natural wonders that never cease to amaze. Lucky for us, Duluth is home to many stunning waterfalls tucked away amidst its rugged landscapes and lush forests. 

In this hiker’s guide, we’ll journey through some of the most captivating hidden cascades in and around Duluth, providing tips and insights to help you make the most of your waterfall adventures.

Quick reminder: Duluth has a ton to offer and check out, so be sure to read my article about Things to Do In Duluth.

Now lace up your hiking boots, and let’s get started!

1. Lester River Falls

Our first stop is Lester River Falls, located within the tranquil Lester Park in eastern Duluth. The Lester River features several picturesque cascades as it winds through the park, culminating in a beautiful main waterfall. A well-maintained trail system follows the river, offering various vantage points to marvel at the falls.

Hiking Tip: Stick to the main paved trails for an easy hike. For a more challenging experience, explore the rugged, unpaved trails that branch off from the main path.

2. Amity Creek Falls

Nestled within the serene Lester-Amity Park, Amity Creek Falls is a hidden gem worth the hike. The park features a network of trails, including the Superior Hiking Trail, which will lead you along the scenic Amity Creek and past multiple cascading waterfalls. The largest of the falls, known as “The Deeps,” is a famous swimming hole during the warmer months.

Hiking Tip: Wear sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good traction, as the trails can be muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall.

3. Chester Creek Falls

Situated in the heart of Chester Park, Chester Creek Falls is a delightful urban waterfall easily accessible from downtown Duluth. As you stroll along the Chester Creek Trail, you’ll encounter several smaller cascades before reaching the main waterfall. The park also features picnic areas, playgrounds, and sports facilities, making it an ideal destination for a fun family outing.

Hiking Tip: Stay on the designated trails to help protect the sensitive creek banks and vegetation. Never climb on the waterfall or surrounding rocks, as they can be extremely slippery and dangerous.

4. Tischer Creek Falls

Tischer Creek Falls is a series of beautiful cascades hidden within the peaceful Congdon Park neighborhood. The creek flows through a deep, wooded gorge, creating a serene, secluded atmosphere perfect for a tranquil nature walk. Follow the Tischer Creek Trail to discover multiple cascades, including the enchanting “Hidden Falls,” beneath a charming stone footbridge.

Hiking Tip: The trails along Tischer Creek can be narrow and steep in some areas, so exercise caution and be prepared for a moderate hike.

5. Kingsbury Creek Falls

Our next stop is Kingsbury Creek Falls, located within the sprawling Lincoln Park. As you explore the park’s extensive trail system, you’ll come across cascading waterfalls along Kingsbury Creek. Be sure to visit the main waterfall, which plunges dramatically over a rocky ledge into a scenic pool below.

Hiking tip: Besides the waterfalls, Lincoln Park offers other recreational opportunities, such as mountain biking, disc golf, and birdwatching. Consider spending a full day at the park to take advantage of all it offers.

6. Mission Creek Falls

Within the Jay Cooke State Park, just south of Duluth, Mission Creek Falls is a stunning cascade worth the short drive from the city. The waterfall is easily accessible via the park’s well-maintained trail system, which offers a variety of hikes to suit different skill levels. For the best views of Mission Creek Falls, take the trail that leads to a picturesque wooden footbridge overlooking the cascade.

Hiking Tip: While visiting Jay Cooke State Park, take advantage of the iconic Swinging Bridge, which spans the St. Louis River and offers breathtaking views of the river gorge and surrounding forest.

7. Fond du Lac Falls

In the Fond du Lac neighborhood in western Duluth, Fond du Lac Falls is a small but lovely cascade within a residential area. Fond du Lac Park, which surrounds the falls, features a short walking path that offers excellent views of the waterfall and the historic Fond du Lac neighborhood.

Hiking Tip: Although this waterfall is easily accessible and requires minimal hiking, it’s essential to respect the surrounding private properties and stay on the designated walking path.

8. Sucker River Falls

Sucker River Falls, just north of Duluth along the North Shore, is a lesser-known but equally enchanting waterfall. The river features several cascades, with the most impressive main waterfall. The falls can be accessed via a short hike along the Superior Hiking Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding forest and Lake Superior.

Hiking Tip: Be prepared for a slightly rugged, unpaved trail that may sometimes be wet and muddy. Proper footwear and insect repellent are highly recommended.

9. Gooseberry Falls State Park

While not within Duluth city limits, Gooseberry Falls State Park is a must-visit for waterfall enthusiasts. Just a 40-mile drive up the North Shore from Duluth, this state park is home to the iconic Gooseberry Falls, a series of three majestic waterfalls that tumble down the Gooseberry River. The park features well-maintained trails, picturesque overlooks, and a visitor center with exhibits on the area’s natural and cultural history.

Hiking Tip: Gooseberry Falls State Park can get quite crowded, especially during summer. Plan your visit during weekdays or early mornings for a more peaceful experience.

Waterfall Hiking Safety Tips

As you embark on your Duluth waterfall adventures, keep the following safety tips in mind to ensure an enjoyable and incident-free experience:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear: Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good traction are essential for navigating slippery, uneven trails and rocky terrain.
  2. Stay on designated trails: Straying off the marked routes can cause accidents and damage the delicate ecosystem.
  3. Keep a safe distance from waterfalls: Rocks around waterfalls can be extremely slippery, and the force of the falling water can be deceptively powerful. Exercise caution and avoid climbing on rocks or getting too close to the edge of a waterfall.
  4. Check the weather: Be aware of local weather conditions, and avoid hiking during heavy rain or storms, as trails can become slippery and dangerous.
  5. Carry essentials: Bring water, snacks, a first aid kit, a map or GPS, and a fully charged cell phone when hiking. Let someone know your plans and estimated return time.

That’s All For Now!

Duluth’s hidden waterfalls offer the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s natural beauty and experience the rejuvenating power of cascading waters. By following our guide and practicing safe hiking habits, you’ll be well on you

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