As a Minnesotan, water is in your blood. We love to be near it. Seeing it move and flow. Watching the sun rise and set on the horizon over a lake. There is nothing better. It calms and brings you back to center. Seeing the water rushing takes away all of your stress. It is this feeling the led me to visit the MNs North Shore and Gooseberry Falls State Park.
Camping at Gooseberry Falls
Camping near Gooseberry Falls we found so much to do, but our main goal was to see the falls. They are the most popular attraction in the park. They consist of 4 individual falls that drop at different spots. Depending on the time of day you go, you will see people jumping right in to cool off. Since this is one of the most popular of the North Shore waterfalls, we wanted to be alone a Gooseberry Falls. If you get there at about 7am, you will be the only ones there. This is also when you get some of the best light for photographing the waterfalls.
Tips for hiking Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls hiking trails follow along both sides of the falls. There is also access directly to the falls in case you want to get your feet wet. Depending on the time of year and the water level, the water may be rushing a little faster so watch your step. Because of the storm that rolled through the night before, the trail was very humid. It was almost like being in tropics. We chose to do the whole path. It’s easy walking terrain but does have a lot of stairs. If you go make sure to dress in layers. By the time we finished the Gooseberry Falls hike, others were just starting to get there. I ended up coming back another day to do the Fifth Falls trek and on a separate occasion to do the Hiking Clubs Trail. It’s totally worth the adventure.
Later in the day, we drove by the falls entrance and the place was crazy. By 1pm on a Wednesday the parking lot was completely filled and cars were lined up on the road. We were very happy with our early morning decision. I’ve been told that the weekends are even worse.
The North Shore Shoreline
One of the most under-appreciated jewels of the park is the shoreline. Most of the North Shore State Parks have access to the shoreline, but Gooseberry Falls has the best cliffs. There was a constant fog that rolled in off the water creating partial views of the cliffs that were breathtaking. In addition to the cliffs, there were pools of water all over the basaltic shoreline filled with tadpoles. The kids had so much fun checking them out. They have picnic tables and benches to sit and enjoy the view. They also have a trail that leads to the beach. Driftwood covers the beach sandy beach and it’s a great spot to skip rocks.
Next time I go up there, I will bring our bikes and check out the GitchiGami State Trail. The trail runs along highway 61 and has some great views. The park also has a bunch of different naturalist programs running for those staying on site. Gooseberry Falls State Park is a natural treasure for Minnesota. My hope is that everyone that visits remembers that and takes good care of it for future generations too. When you visit make sure to get your MN State Parks Passport stamped!
More Info: Gooseberry Falls
Directions: Two Harbors MN
When To Visit: As early as you can get there in the morning. Otherwise, the crowds will come in force!
Recommended Guide: North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast
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