gooseberry falls area

Gooseberry Falls State Park

In the summer, Gooseberry Falls State Park is a veritable hub of video camera wielding vacationers. For many this is the first stop along the way. A must-see look over the bridge rewards sightseers with waterfalls on both sides. A short walk either up or down the river showcases the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls while a nice hike takes you on a loop that includes the Fifth Falls. Inside the beautiful visitors center are naturalist programs, interactive exhibits, restrooms, and a gift shop. The visitors center is the main trailhead in the park.

STATE PARK ICONS

But Gooseberry Falls is hardly a one-season stop. Spring runoff and fall colors are grand, but the true splendor of the park comes through along the wintery cross-country ski trails. Trust me on this one.

Park Overview

mile 39.0

Joseph N. Alexander Visitor Center

Open 9am-4pm year round with extended hours in the summer; offers theater and interpretive displays, restrooms, vending machines and a large, well-curated Nature Store gift shop. Adjacent Gateway Plaza has additional informative exhibits

A lobby area with a huge fireplace acts as a warming house for winter visitors.

Rentals

The Lakeview Shelter has picnic tables, restroom facilities, a fireplace, and is suitable for picnics or receptions.

The Lady Slipper Lodge has benches and a fireplace and is suitable for programs or ceremonies.

Theater Rental is available during regular business hours (winter months only). Contact the park to reserve.

3206 MN 61 | Two Harbors
218-595-7100

Spring, Summer, Fall Activities

mile 39.0

It’s a 4-for-1 waterfall stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park! Paved, accessible trails lead 1/10 mile from the visitor center to the most photographed of the falls, the expansive Middle Falls. The paved trails continue north under Highway 61 to a lovely view of the scenic Upper Falls. This wonderful little loop is a half mile total from the visitor center and back. The Riverview Trail heads south from the Middle Falls past the Lower Falls to the mouth of the Gooseberry River and Lake Superior. See the Fifth Falls entry for details on that hike. While quite spectacular during spring runoff, this quick-stop leg-stretcher is a must do on your North Shore visit.

mile 39.0

While the fifth falls is the smallest waterfall at Gooseberry Falls State Park, it is a nice walk through the woods through the woods. The Fifth Falls Trail runs north along the east side of the meandering river slowly climbing to the base of the falls. The path leads up across the river to a nice scenic overlook before returning south, and downhill, along the west side of the river in a 2+ mile loop. In the winter, a there-and-back cross-country ski trail leads to the same falls and scenic overlook.

mile 39.5

For many this is the first big stop on their travels.  This four-season park offers accessible trails to rushing waterfalls, plus trails to through the woods, along the river and to Lake Superior; naturalist programs, biking, fishing, fall colors, birding, skiing, plus shopping, exhibits, restrooms, and visitor info in a firelit lobby within the Visitor Center.

mile 39.5

Hop on your bike and ride from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This gently rolling paved trail begins on Lake Superior’s shore, loops through the park and stays on the south side of Highway 61 before heading towards the lighthouse. Pass under pines and glimpse views of the big lake. The 8.5-mile one-way ride can be continued another 5.6 miles to the Beaver River in Beaver Bay. Return route is the same.

mile 39.5

bike rider on gitch gami bike trail along shore of Lake Superior between gooseberry falls and split rock lighthouose

Gitchi Gami State Trail

Difficulty: easy to moderate [length], by section below

Surface: paved

MN DNR Map of trail

Silver Creek
follows the old Highway 61 road bed where it wrapped around Silver Cliff; excellent views
Length: 0.5 mile one-way
Trailhead: Silver Creek Tunnel, NE end
Map

Gooseberry Falls to Beaver Bay
The Visitors Center trailheads offer parking, restroom facilities and drinking water. Restaurants, restroom facilities and other amenities are available in Beaver Bay.
Length: 14.6 miles one-way
Trailheads: Gooseberry Falls State Park, Twin Points Wayside, Split Rock Lighthouse, Beaver River Trailhead
Map

Silver Bay
trail runs parallel to the lakeshore inland along the side of the hill; starts east of Beaver Bay on West Road and ends at the Silver Bay Hockey Arena; does not connect to remainder of trail
Length: 2.3 miles one-way
Trailhead: Silver Bay Hockey Arena at 129 Outer Drive, Silver Bay
Map

Schroeder to Lutsen – 1 mile trail gap requires crossing Hwy 61
ride the 3-mile trail through Temperance River State Park, over the river and back to Highway 61, where the trail ends, but you can carefully cross the highway, ride your bike down Tofte Park Road, along the Lakewalk and then pick up the 7.4 mile roadside trail that ends in Lutsen at the bottom of the Ski Hill Road
Length: 10.4 miles one-way
Trailheads: Schroeder Wayside, Tofte Park & Ski Hill Road
Schroeder to Tofte Map
Tofte to Lutsen Map

Grand Marais
a slow climb out of Grand Marais followed by a return ride down the hill

opening around Labor Day 2021 – new 3.7 mile corridor trail from Cut Face Wayside Rest to top of existing trail

Length: 1.5 miles, one-way, to become 5.2 miles one-way
Trailhead: downtown Grand Marais
Map

mile 39.5

The beauty of of the park is steps from the Visitor Center, and sometimes on the way to the center, like these deer just off the path from the parking lot. A brief, paved, accessible path leads to the oft-photographed Middle Falls. Head south to view the Lower Falls or take a short accessible hike to the north, under Highway 61 that leads to the Upper Falls. This makes Gooseberry an ideal stop for everyone! Take advantage of the displays, restrooms and gift shop inside, then head to the river. The park has an abundance of inland trails, too.

Highlights: waterfalls, waterfalls and more waterfalls!
Amenities: bathrooms, phones, water and picnic sites at the visitor center
Length: 18 miles of total trails
Difficulty: easy & accessible to most difficult due to length
Trailhead: Visitor Center, 3206 Highway 61
Surface: accessible trails are paved, remainder are dirt
Maps: at the state park, and trails are marked

 

mile 39.5

While it doesn’t meet the definition of a hike, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail is ideal for walking with strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or those looking for a paved surface. The bonus in the summer is the cool breezes right off the lake; the downside is it can be downright cold if the wind is off the lake. When completed, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail will be an 89-mile non-motorized, paved recreational trail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota, along Lake Superior’s beautiful and historic North Shore. Several segments of the trail, totaling over 29 miles, are complete. The longest completed section is the 14.1-mile segment between Gooseberry Falls State Park northeast to the town of Beaver Bay.

A few especially pretty parts of the trail are the 1/2-mile at Silver Creek Tunnel offering wide open lake views; the bridge over the Split Rock River mouth and the section of trail which leads northeast into the park.

Lodging

mile 39.0

Open late spring to late-October

  • no electric sites
  • 69 drive-in sites (40′ RV length limit)
  • 3 pull-through sites
  • 2 handicapped accessible sites
  • 3 tent-only group sites, each up to 50 people
  • 1 kayak site on the Lake Superior Water Trail
  • Firewood and ice [seasonally] are sold at the park
  • Seasonal flush toilets and showers; year-round vault toilets
  • A seasonal dumping station
  • Campground Map

3206 MN 61 | Two Harbors
218-595-7100
upcoming events

Winter Activities

Coming Soon

skiing at gooseberry falls

winter activities

Check back this fall for more info on winter activities in the state park.

Check out these North Shore Favorites

upcoming events
 

mm 39.5 Gooseberry Falls State Park

In the summer, Gooseberry Falls State Park is a veritable hub of video camera wielding vacationers. For many this is the first stop along the way. A must-see look over the bridge rewards sightseers with waterfalls on both sides. A short walk either up or down the river showcases the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls while a nice hike takes you on a loop that includes the Fifth Falls. Inside the beautiful visitors center are naturalist programs, interactive exhibits, restrooms, and a gift shop. The visitors center is the main trailhead in the park.

But Gooseberry Falls is hardly a one-season stop. Spring runoff and fall colors are grand, but the true splendor of the park comes through along the wintery cross-country ski trails. Trust me on this one.

  • Visitor Center

    Open year round; offers naturalist and interpretive programs, exhibits, restrooms and a gift shop

  • Warming House

    The park offers a fireplace and a place to change into your ski equipment in the visitor center

  • Camping

    Open late spring to late-October

    • no electric sites
    • 2 handicapped accessible sites
    • 69 drive-in sites (40′ RV length limit)
    • 3 pull-through sites
    • 3 tent-only group sites, each up to 50 people
    • 1 kayak site on the Lake Superior Water Trail
    • A seasonal dumping station
    • Firewood and ice are sold at the park
    • Accessible toilets and showers, vault toilets

    DNR Campground Map | Reservations

  • Maps
  • Waterfalls

    Five waterfalls tumble down the river from north of Highway 61 down to Lake Superior

  • Historical Sites

    Several buildings & the original bridge are part of the Civilian Conservation Corp and are on the National Register of Historic Places; self-guided Historic CCC Tour map

  • Weddings and Special Events

    The park has two shelters available for rent – call to make reservations

    The Lakeview Shelter has picnic tables and restroom facilities and is suitable for picnics / receptions.

    The Lady Slipper Lodge has benches and is suitable for programs or ceremonies.

  • Picnic Areas
    • 3 picnic areas, 1 along the river, 2 on Lake Superior shoreline
    • 2 reservable enclosed shelters, fee charged
  • Hiking

    20 miles; several trails to waterfalls, overlooks, up the river and down to Lake Superior

    • Superior Hiking Trail passes through park
    • 1-mile handicapped accessible trail to main falls
    • snowshoeing trails
  • Biking
  • Fishing

    In the river and on Lake Superior; a trout stamp is required along with a MN fishing license.

  • Cross-country Skiing

    20K; all groomed for classic (diagonal) stride; mostly moderate trails with some easy and a short difficult trail

  • Snowmobiling

    2 miles which connects to the North Shore State Trail

  • Snowshoeing

    Anywhere in the park except on the xc-ski trails, the Gitchi Gummi is a designated intermediate trail and the Fifth Falls is a designated advanced trail

  • Electric Car Charging

    Near the pedestrian entrance to the visitor center on back side of lot. Free charging.

    2 EV Plug (J1772)s