There's a little-known hiking trail in northern Stillwater, MN known as the Fairy Falls Trail. We had heard about this trail for years yet had yet to visit. We finally made it a priority and were pleasantly surprised by how peaceful and beautiful it was. After a short 50 yard hike, we came upon a wooden bridge crossing a small stream (Silver Creek) and at the top of a four story waterfall! The flow of the water was light and made a peaceful sound as it splashed against the bottom of the steep-sided ravine.
After taking a few pictures, we walked on the spur trail on the south side of the ravine looking for a way to get to the bottom. We came across a possible spot with a climbing rope attached to a tree but the descent seemed a little sketchy being the ground and rocks were wet and slippery. Our son really wanted to climb the rope down but we decided to try and find another way and headed back to the bridge.
Hiking on the northern side of the ravine had us traveling on the top of the ridgeline until a not-so-obvious spur trail started us down into the ravine. We reached the bottom after only a few minutes and were greeted with soggy ground and lots of mud due to recent rains. Determination to reach the bottom of the falls set in and we carefully navigated the muck trying not to get too muddy. We came upon a large flooded cave which left us wondering if it was natural or man-made as the sides and roof were very smooth. On we went. We finally got to a point where there was not a good way to move forward without getting our feet really wet and since we had a planned dinner to attend directly after our hike, we decided to turn back.
The route back was uphill at first and got our hearts beating as we moved quickly racing the setting sun. We crossed the bridge and made it back to our car parked on the side of the neighboring street.
It was a great adventure and one we'll do again as we are determined to make it to the bottom of the falls and sit in the cave that is directly behind them.
Fairy Falls Trail
(National Park Service 55 acre parcel that is part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway)
Open 8 am - 8 pm daily
From downtown Stillwater: