Decorah Iowa Waterfall
· · · · · · · ·

Discover 17 Magnificent Midwest Hidden Gem Waterfalls

Often celebrated for its expansive farmlands, vibrant cities, and significant historical landmarks, the Midwest holds a lesser-known treasure trove of natural beauty – hidden gem waterfalls offer serene escapes and breathtaking views for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

Let’s explore some of the most enchanting waterfalls in the Midwest, each with its own unique charm and allure.

Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis, Minnesota I photo credit: AMB-MD Photography / Shutterstock

Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota

Nestled within the urban landscape of Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls stands as a testament to nature’s resilience. This 53-foot waterfall is part of Minnehaha Park, a 193-acre haven that attracts over 850,000 visitors annually. The falls are most spectacular in the spring and summer when the flow is strongest, but they also offer a magical scene in winter when they partially freeze.

Cascade Falls, Ohio

Located in Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park, Cascade Falls is a hidden gem that requires a bit of hiking to reach. This secluded waterfall is part of a series of natural ledges that have been carved out over millions of years. The park’s rugged cliffs and diverse plant life make the journey to Cascade Falls as rewarding as the destination itself.

Dunnings Spring Falls, Iowa

Dunnings Spring Falls, located in the charming town of Decorah, is a stunning 200-foot waterfall that seems to appear out of nowhere. The falls are easily accessible, with a parking area and a short walk leading to the main viewpoint. Visitors can also explore the surrounding trails that offer picturesque views of the waterfall and the lush landscape.

Starved Rock State Park Waterfalls, Illinois

Starved Rock State Park is home to several seasonal waterfalls that emerge from the canyons after heavy rains or the melting of winter snow. The park features over 13 miles of trails leading to these hidden waterfalls, with Wildcat, LaSalle, and St. Louis canyons being among the most popular destinations. The waterfalls at Starved Rock are particularly impressive in the spring or after significant rainfall.

Cataract Falls, Indiana

Cataract Falls consists of two sets of waterfalls on Mill Creek, creating Indiana’s largest volume waterfall. The Upper Falls and Lower Falls are connected by a trail that offers stunning views of the cascades and the surrounding hardwood forest. The area is especially beautiful in the autumn when the fall colors provide a spectacular backdrop.

Cataract Falls, Indiana-SS
Cataract Falls, Indiana I photo credit: Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock

Copper Falls State Park, Wisconsin

Copper Falls State Park is renowned for its rugged terrain and ancient lava flows. The park’s namesake, Copper Falls, along with Brownstone Falls, are among the most picturesque in Wisconsin. Hiking trails, including the Doughboys Trail, offer panoramic views of the waterfalls and the deep gorges carved by the Bad River.

Hidden Falls, Minnesota

Nestled in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Hidden Falls is a delightful surprise amidst a lush hardwood forest. This small but charming waterfall is accessible via a short hike, offering a tranquil spot for picnics and relaxation. The surrounding park is a riot of color in the fall, making it a perfect time to visit.

McCormick’s Creek Falls, Indiana

As the centerpiece of McCormick’s Creek State Park, Indiana’s first state park, this waterfall cascades through a scenic limestone canyon. Easy accessibility makes McCormick’s Creek Falls a family-friendly destination, with trails leading to the top and bottom of the falls for different perspectives.

Tannery Falls, Michigan

Hidden within the Munising area of the Upper Peninsula, Tannery Falls is a secluded treasure accessed through a forested trail. The waterfall’s serene beauty and the relative peace of its location make it an ideal spot for contemplation and nature photography.

Related: 21 Stunning Pictured Rocks Waterfalls Near Munising Michigan to Add to Your Bucket List

Turkey Run State Park Waterfalls, Indiana

Turkey Run State Park houses several small waterfalls, with the most prominent being located in Rocky Hollow-Falls Canyon and Bear Hollow. The rugged terrain, shaped by glaciers, provides an exciting adventure for those hiking to these hidden cascades.

Amnicon Falls, Wisconsin

Amnicon Falls State Park features a series of delightful waterfalls and rapids along the Amnicon River. With bridges and trails allowing for up-close views, visitors can enjoy the tranquil sounds of rushing water and explore the unique geology of the area.

Decorah Iowa Waterfall
Decorah Waterfall Iowa I photo credit: Amdizdarevic / Shutterstock

Mina Sauk Falls, Missouri

As the tallest waterfall in Missouri, Mina Sauk Falls tumbles down 132 feet in a series of cascades. Located in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, the falls are most impressive during the wet seasons of spring and after heavy rainfalls.

Fall Hollow Waterfall, Missouri

Situated along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, Fall Hollow Waterfall offers a picturesque setting with a short, accessible trail leading to views of the cascades. The waterfall’s easy accessibility makes it a popular spot for a quick nature escape.

Matthiessen State Park Waterfalls, Illinois

Matthiessen State Park is a geological wonder, featuring several stunning waterfalls within its canyons. The park’s diverse ecosystems, including prairie and forest, offer a variety of trails leading to these hidden gems, making it a must-visit for waterfall enthusiasts.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

While not hidden, Sioux Falls presents an impressive series of cascades in the heart of the city. The falls park allows visitors to explore the area’s history and enjoy the natural beauty of the Big Sioux River’s cascades, making it a unique urban natural attraction.

Falling Water Falls, Arkansas

Though slightly beyond the traditional Midwest boundaries, Falling Water Falls deserves mention for its stunning beauty. This easily accessible waterfall in the Ozark National Forest cascades over a ledge into a crystal-clear pool, offering a serene spot for cooling off during the summer months.

Bridal Veil Falls, Michigan

Located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Bridal Veil Falls is a seasonal waterfall best viewed from Lake Superior. The falls cascade over the sandstone cliffs directly into the lake, offering a spectacular view from the water.

Falling Water Falls, Arkansas I photo credit: Glenn W. Wheeler / Shutterstock

Discover More Hidden Gem Waterfalls in the Midwest

The Midwest, often underestimated in its natural offerings, is home to a myriad of breathtaking waterfalls, each with its own unique setting and charm. From the rugged landscapes of state parks to the serene beauty of secluded cascades, these hidden gem waterfalls provide perfect destinations for adventurers, nature lovers, and anyone looking to escape into the tranquility of nature.

Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of hiking rugged trails or the peace of a quiet picnic by the water, the Midwest’s waterfalls are sure to leave you in awe.