happyly approved

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

Judge C.R. Magney State Park, Minnesota 61, Grand Marais, MN, USA

Daily, 8:00 am - 10:00 pm


outdoor-adventures, hike

Hike to Devil's Kettle, a waterfall in Judge C.R. Magney State Park.

This beautiful state park is nestled along Minnesota's North Shore, just north of Grand Marais. Connected to the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, Judge C.R. Magney State Park offers families a variety of sights and sounds while hiking. While the full trail is nine miles out and back, you can shorten it to a two-mile out and back hike to see the famed Devil's Kettle. 

This moderate hike is ideal for kids with some hiking experience or those within a carrier. This trail is not suitable for strollers. Families should expect a lot of stairs (180 in at least one stretch and about another 50 later on) and uneven ground throughout the trail. With that said, families will love soaking in the forest views as they hike along the trail. This is also a popular hike, so expect to pass others along the trail.

After crossing the bridge, your first stop will be a smaller waterfall (the lower falls), leading off to the trail's left. Here, you can stick your feet in the water, crawl amongst the rocks, or soak in the beautiful North Shore scenery. It's also a great place for a snack. Afterward, head back up the trail to reach Devil's Kettle. Again, there is a lookout platform and other sites to take in the view.

Devil's Kettle was a source of mystery for years. Science-loving kids will adore learning its background and attempting to solve the mystery. Half the falls go over the ledge into the Brule River, while the other half disappears into the rocks. For a long time, no one knew where the water went. For decades, scientists and hikers alike through everything from rubber ducks to GPS trackers to find out where the water came out. Only recently have scientists settled on a reasonable conclusion. After cascading into the rocks, the water flows deep down and later reenters the river from underground. Head past Devil's Kettle, and you'll find a popular area for wading in the water.

Judge C.R. Magney State Park is accessible all year round. In the summer, you can bring bathing suits to wade in the water/swim below the lower falls and above the upper falls. In the winter, bring ice cleats and expect a lot of snow.


Good for older kids Hiking State Park Camping Picnic Fishing Wildlife Waterfall
Thoughtfully captured by:
Antonia Grant
Antonia Grant is a life-long learner and avid adventurer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves equipping families with the tools and confidence they need to travel and adventure together. Antonia is also a strong believer in the beauty of multigenerational relationships and travel. Her main adventure buddies are her husband and young daughter. As a family, they love trying new restaurants, hiking, and traveling the world! By day she works at Carleton College, by night she is a Minneapolis ambassador for happyly. She’s always seeking new adventures to write about and share. Connect with Antonia on Instagram @knead.to.roam!
More activities by Antonia
Fantastic park and playground for all ages located in Bloomington, near the Mall of America.
Low-key playground and field nestled within a charming Bloomington neighborhood.
Rustic hiking trail in Minneapolis, along the Mississippi River.

Recommended Gear