Fox Along The North Shore: Cook County Waterfalls

COOK COUNTY, Minn —  With the spring melt underway, the freshly melting snow is rapidly working its way into rivers and streams all across the Northland. With active creeks and roaring rivers also comes raging waterfalls. While there are dozens of waterfalls easily accessible up the North Shore on Hwy 61, it is worth driving all the way to the Canadian border to check out the highest waterfall in the state of Minnesota. But don’t take my word for it, take it from someone who was just there.

“It is positively spectacular right now. I would suggest to anybody driving to Cook County to check out our waterfalls, start at the northern end. Start at that Canadian Border, and then travel through the county,” said Linda Jurek, executive director for Visit Cook County.

It is not just the sheer amount of water that makes High Falls incredible this time of year. The mist and spray caused by the falls creates an icy frost on nearby vegetation that contrasts with the surrounding landscape. Wearing a poncho or other rain gear is a good idea with the amount of mist that reaches the viewing platforms.  This is just one of the suggestions Linda had when discussing her recent visit.

“Check out High Falls right now because number one, it’s in the Grand Portage State Park. It is one of the few handicap accessible trails that you can get to the waterfalls and have this viewing point.  There are two actual platforms you can look at the High Falls straight on, like at a lower level, and then you could also climb up another 20 feet so you have this incredible experience of seeing the waterfalls and then taking a quick look to your right and you see that Pigeon River flowing toward Lake Superior,” said Jurek.

Even though the platforms are handicap accessible, the path leading up to the falls still has several inches of snow pack so footwear with strong grip is recommended.

After starting at the Canadian Border to check out High Falls, you are now ready to work your way south down through Cook County.  Because of the spring melt, there are waterfalls along Highway 61 that are only there this time of year.

“You can drive down Highway 61 and one day there will be no water falling and the next day you’ll see what we call our pop-up waterfalls. Those pop-up waterfalls only occur for, you know, two to four weeks in the spring time and it’s just wonderful. You see that right from your car. You don’t even have to get out and hike,” said Jurek.

Many inland lakes in Cook County are still frozen, but are beginning to melt. When they do, those with outlets continue to add more water to the river system, keeping the waterfalls roaring for the next several weeks.

“We used to call this ‘mud season’. Well what’s fun about mud season? Let’s call it waterfall season and let’s celebrate the area that we live in.  Get in your car and take a drive. There’s always places to stay up here this time of year and the experience is something you don’t want to miss. It should definitely be on your bucket list,” said Jurek.

Categories: Fox Along the North Shore, Great Outdoors, News, News – Latest News