Monday, August 24, 2009

In Plain Sight | Vermillion Falls

The mighty roar of Vermillion Falls in Hastings (pictured above) is a welcome change from the embarrassing trickle currently on display at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. In order to maintain water levels at Lake Minnetonka, the headwaters of Minnehaha Creek, volume control gates were closed even before our abnormally cool, dry summer began.

The Vermillion River, however, flows unregulated from the Farmington highlands, through Hastings, before splitting into two Mississippi River tributaries (this split is what puts the 'island' in Prairie Island). Like its origins, the park area surrounding Vermillion Falls is also less structured than its Minneapolis contemporary. Because the falls are crammed in a narrow gorge between Hwy 61 and the ConAgra Plant, postcard views are hard to find without a little delinquent hiking.

The falls drop 35 feet, and it was this drop which powered the Graham Flour Mill beginning in the 1850s—the first mill in Minnesota to produce saleable flour. While not quite as high or grand as Minnehaha Falls, Vermillion Falls is certainly winning on spectacle in 2009.

1 comment:

how it grows said...

I wish I had one of these in my back yard.