Waterfalls of the Black River Scenic Byway
Explore a wonderland of waterfalls
Travel west of Land O’ Lakes and you’ll find a spectacular land of cascading waterfalls. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s worth every mile; you’ll get a chance to see a beautiful river taking a wild and twisting plunge to the largest freshwater lake in the world. It’s more than a beautiful view; this is a place you can explore on foot. If you dare, you can stand close to the rushing waters, feel the mist and hear the roar of the river as it rushes toward its spectacular demise.
You’ll find this wonderland of water about an hour west of Land O’ Lakes. To get there from Land O’ Lakes, take Highway B east to U.S. Highway 45. Turn left, drive north to Watersmeet, and take another left on Highway 2. Travel 47 miles west to Bessemer and take a right onto Highway 513. Drive about eight miles and you’ll encounter the first waterfall of the trip: Great Conglomerate Falls. Here the Black River cascades over and around a large chunk of conglomerate rock. It’s really two falls in one; enjoy the view of each. Downriver, you’ll find Potawatomi Falls and Gorge Falls, two of the most beautiful falls in the region. You can continue your waterfall exploration by driving or hiking further downriver to Sandstone Falls, a small falls where you can climb on some sandstone rocks. The Black River continues its plunge toward Lake Superior over Rainbow Falls, which you can access from a park at the river’s mouth. To reach Rainbow Falls, hike over a wooden footbridge and hike a mile upriver through the woods. You may not see a rainbow at the falls, but you will have seen, and felt, one of the most vibrant collections of waterfalls in the world.
Open spring, summer, fall seasons; closed in winter.