Off of scenic Minnesota State Highway 61 is a freak of nature that doesn’t take a pair of binoculars or hours of silent stalking to spot. The Devil’s Kettle Falls is located on the Brule River where about 1 ½ miles from its mouth, the river forks at a rock outcropping to form two massive waterfalls. The eastern flow is pretty normal – it plunges fifty feet and continues downstream towards Lake Superior. The western flow however, tumbles thirty feet into a massive hole and disappears underground. To date, scientists and researchers have been unable to unravel the mystery of the puzzling geological phenomenon nor determine where the immense volume of water (and rocks, trees, and boulders) goes making the most preposterous theory, that the water drops straight into hell, not such a fleeting notion after all.
Over the years, scientists have tossed logs, colored dye, cameras, ping pong balls, and other objects into the Devil’s Kettle with hopes of finding them surfaced somewhere downstream. It is even said that an automobile was once pushed into the bottomless pit. Still, scientists have no clue where it all ends up. Some have speculated that it rejoins the main channel of the river at some point, empties into an underground fault, or possibly pours via an underwater channel into Lake Superior. These theories however, have been widely discounted. Geologists note that a large underground fault would have to be precisely oriented towards the lake and no such faults have ever been found in the area. Lava tubes have been ruled out since the rock at Devil’s Kettle isn’t basalt (lava tubes only form in basalt). If an underground channel fed into Lake Superior the objects dropped into the emptiness would churn to the top and be easily found on the surface of the Lake. Quite clearly, the geological structure of the area around Devil’s Kettle does not lend credence to such theories and none take into account the fact that *half the river* disappears into the void.
The Devil’s Kettle trail follows along the Brule River with views of its waterfalls and rapids. The trail starts in the Judge CR Magney main parking lot and ends at the Devil’s Kettle Falls. From Thunder Bay take 61 south. About 43km past the US border crossing look for the Judge Magney State Park sign on the Right.