For those that are not accustomed to the north, winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. There have been many instances where I have wanted to go stop the car while I’m driving just to get a cool shot of the trees or the frozen stream by my work. But what is most impressive is what happens to the waterfalls. Thankfully Minnehaha Falls is just 30 minutes from my house. When most people think of looking at a waterfall, they think they have to venture into the woods. With these falls, you have to go into the city.
Parking at Minnehaha Falls
Getting to Minnehaha Falls is really easy. It’s right off of Hwy55. Because of its popularity in the city, they do charge for parking. DOn’t worry, it’s only a $1 an hour and they do take credit cards. There is parking on both sides of the park. One side is street parking and on the other, there is a parking lot. They do have a free parking lot to the West of the falls by the Longfellow Gardens.
As long as the snow isn’t currently falling, the Minneapolis Park systems do an excellent job of keeping the pathways around the falls clean and dry, including the bridge going over the falls. If you are unsure of where to go from the parking lot, just follow the mass of people heading towards the river. You can’t miss it. The falls itself was not quite what I expected either. The pictures could not do it justice.
Minnehaha Frozen Waterfalls
At the top of the falls, you could see water misting out from it. The base of the falls had a big mound of water where it had been piling up. Because the water is constantly moving, it is always changing. If we went back in a couple weeks, we could probably notice a bunch of differences. You could see open water at the base of the falls where the ice had not fully formed. There were big openings between the frozen falls where you could see behind it. There were a bunch of people that were taking advantage of the opportunity do to just that. They were getting some of the amazing shots.
Behind Minnehaha Falls
As a warning, going to the base of the frozen falls is prohibited and very illegal. They have barricades up and no trespassing signs all over the place. To get down to the falls, you have a few options. Going down a set of icy stairs, that are not maintained at all or scale down the snowy side of the river banks walls. Then venture out onto the ice, of unknown thickness and make your way through an opening in the wall of ice. Those that venture in are rewarded with a view of an ice cave.
It is not safe for you to go down there, even if you are just planning on staying on the paved trails. The people that walked on the ice, they were just crazy. You are putting yourself at risk along with anyone else that may be trying to recuse you. When it comes down to ice conditions in a situation like this, don’t do it. It’s one thing to venture onto a lake, but when there is moving water involved, it’s another story. In 2017, a group of people were injured by falling ice. Be smart and just don’t do it.
Otherways to Explore the Park
Minnehaha Falls Park is at the intersection of many different walking and bike paths. One of which takes you to Fort Snelling Park. There is also the Princess Train Depot, one of the first ones in the State. It’s not in operation and closed during winter, but you can explore the outside of it. The park is also home to many differnet sculptures that are viewable from the falls.
This is such a fun little day trip to take in the Twin Cities that doesn’t require much hiking. You will have so much fun taking all kinds of pictures in this little winter oasis. Minnehaha Falls isn’t the only waterfall in the Twin Cities that freezes either. There are 8 Other Stunning Waterfalls Near Minneapolis to visit. For more great things to do in Winter in MN, check out A Minnesota Winter | 28 Things To Do in the Twin Cities and Happy Exploring!