Fairy Falls is located less than 2 miles from downtown Stillwater, Minnesota. It is not heavily trafficked due to the secluded entrance. The entrance is at the intersection of Fairy Falls Road North and Orwell Avenue. As you enter the path right next to a traffic sign, you'll instantly feel as if you are in the wilderness. The top of the falls is located only 0.2 miles into the hike. The view from the top is wonderful, showcasing the bluffs long ago eroded by the Silver Creek. As with any waterfall, the best time to visit the falls is after a heavy rain storm to ensure that there is enough water to do the falls justice.
If you are interested in exploring further, the base of the falls is approximately 0.7 miles as you descend from the top of the bluffs down to the valley and hike back towards the falls. To start hiking, cross the bridge over the waterfall and continue on the north side of the bluff. There is a trail, but since this location is not full of visitors, the paths are not well worn.
As you walk to the base of the falls you are rewarded along the way with glimpses of the vast St. Croix River Valley. During summer months it will be hard to see beyond the trees and lush surroundings; however, regardless of the time of year, there are many birds, mushrooms and boulders to take in as you descend to the valley floor. There are multiple routes down into the valley, some more ambitious than others. Once you make it to the valley floor, follow the creek northwest back toward the falls. After a large rain this area does get a bit swampy, so be sure to wear your hiking boots and be prepared to clear a path on your way to the falls.
If you would prefer to take a faster route down to the bottom of the falls, there is a climbing rope that has been rigged up near the beginning of the path. On your way to the bridge overlooking the top of the falls you can take a right turn. The rope is secured to several trees and helps you navigate down the worn steps in the bluff. This is a more adventurous route because you are using a rope that has been placed here by someone else down a fairly steep incline.
Part of what makes the hike down to the waterfall so enjoyable is that you can explore the surrounding area and even walk right under the falls. Overall this is a wonderful hike for a quick family outing or hike with friends.