This is a continuation of a travel series to Wisconsin and Minnesota's North Shore. To start at the beginning, go HERE. Part one of day two is HERE.
As I stated in last week's travel post, we did so much on our second day on the North Shore that I may have to divide it up into two or three posts. I found that as I started to sort through all my pictures of day two, that would have to be the case, so this week's travel post will only cover our visit to Gooseberry Falls.
As hinted in my title, this was not our first visit to the park. The last time we were here was over thirty years ago, and it changed so much we barely recognized it. It used to be located right off the highway, you'd just park your car, get out, and view the falls. But because of an "incident" they moved the access to the falls to make it safer.
There is no charge to visit this park since now you have to walk in and state parks never charge walk in fees. The parking lot is located in a safe, wooded area and then you walk a short distance to the Visitor Center which has a little museum, a gift shop, restrooms and snacks.
There are five waterfalls in Gooseberry Falls, but the one below is the most popular one "Middle Falls". On our visit, we saw three waterfalls: "Upper Falls", "Middle Falls", and "Lower Falls".
There are hikes for all skill levels at this park. You can see all five falls in one moderately difficult three mile hike (Fifth Falls Hike), or you can do what we did and hike the one mile loop trail to see three of the five waterfalls from multiple viewpoints.
This is the view if you had your back to the waterfall.
Gooseberry Falls State Park is only thirteen miles from Two Harbors right on scenic highway 61(which I covered in last week's travel post) so it's super easy to find. In last week's post I also mentioned the "Gitchi-Gami" State Trail which we hiked a short bit of in Silver Creek. You can access this paved trail in this park...all the highlights of the North Shore are connected by this bike trail.
There are multiple scenic bridges that you use to cross the river that provide amazing scenic shots.
There are five trails in the park, "Fifth Falls Trail" (which I described above), the "Gitchi-Gummi" Hiking Trail which is a 2.5 mile loop with incredible views of the Gooseberry River Valley and Lake Superior (I didn't do this one when we were there, but I sure wish I did!), "River View Trail" a 1.25 mile one-way hike past the fall and downstream to the river mouth, the "Gitchi-Gami State Trail" which is a paved, shared bicycle trail that is 8-15 miles one way, and the one we did while visiting: the one-mile "Falls Loop Trail", although we also popped across the bridge to see the upper falls too.
The one mile loop trail is so easy, I didn't even bring my walking sticks!
The park trails wind through 1,700 acres of mixed evergreen, aspen, and birch forests bordering Lake Superior.
A view of the river taken from the bridge above.
If you look in the background of the photo below you will see a bridge. The top part of the bridge is for cars, but there is a middle portion for the hikers to cross over the top of the falls.
This is the lower falls.
A view of the falls from the opposite side of the loop trail.
The next three photos were taken from the bridge at the top of the falls.
To see the Upper Falls, you can view it from the bridge, but if you want a closer look you can access it with a short hike down and turn around and go back the way you came or do a 1.2 mile "Upper Falls Loop".
I just now realized that there are people at the top of the falls....now I wish we would have done the "Upper Falls Loop", that would have been fun. I think we had a big day planned for us, and since we were here before, we just did the one hike.
We saw two caves on this trail, the one below which is near the Upper Falls and also one near the "Middle Falls" which you can see most clearly in the third picture of this post.
Finally, here is a short video of me waving to the grand babies. I think you need to see video of waterfalls and hear the sound to really appreciate them.
Next week, I will hopefully be able to complete Day Two with a visit to Split Rock Lighthouse and Onyx Beach.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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