We were informed by the 60 Hikes guide (Hike #16) that these Falls (53 feet / 16 m) are both the most popular natural landmark in Minneapolis and …at the top of the list for first-time visitors... It therefore seemed incumbent on us (as first timers) to go visit them. But the guide also mentioned that the Falls get on toward 850,000 visitors per year. 😳 This seemed like quite a crowd to former small town folks such as ourselves. So we figured that visiting on a cold, overcast Monday morning would lessen our chances of being trampled. This turned out to be a good decision, as we encountered only several dozen other people during our walk to the Falls and along the creek. 😀
We descended the stairs in front of the Falls – oohed & awed – then continued downstream on the west side of the creek until we came to the closed boardwalk section. So across a bridge to the east side trail, down that to another bridge, and then across that bridge back to the west side trail and on down to the Mississippi River. At least two species of wildflower – Dutchman’s Breeches and Bloodroot – were either already out or very close to being so.
The local TV weather people said that there had only been 2 clear days with sunshine during the month of April – the results of an unseasonably cold Spring. So we expected this to continue, putting our whole hike under a gray overcast. We were thus somewhat stunned when the sun made a bold appearance for about 15 minutes or so starting just before we reached the Mississippi. 😎 There’s no doubt that sunlight does wonders for photography.
From the Mississippi, we retraced our route and then ascended stairs to the Song of Hiawatha Garden. From there we took a convoluted route back past the Falls, past the Stevens House, across the Soldier’s Home Bridge, past the Veterans Home, and back north toward the top of the Falls.
This was an easy hike (3 miles (4.8 km) with only 115 feet (35 m) of elevation gain – mostly on those stairs). But the Falls were amazing (but we’d also like to see them frozen), as was looking out over the Mississippi River. True, there are no leaves on the trees yet, but Nature saw fit to give us at least two wildflowers to gawk at. And then there was that brief – but warm – shaft of sunshine. 😎😁 We also managed (purely by chance 🤔) to arrive at the Sea Salt Eatery (which just opened for the season last week) just in time for a restorative lunch. 🍺🍤😊