Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park is known as the gateway to the North Shore and is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks. With easy access off of Highway 61 between Two Harbors and Beaver Bay, Gooseberry Falls State Park is also easy to get to, and hard to miss. Also, paved pathways to the falls also makes this an accessible State Park for those with mobility issues.
Gooseberry Falls State Park has a lot to offer with many things to see and do. You could easily spend a whole day exploring the park and still not see everything. Without a doubt, we consider Gooseberry to be a must-see if this is your first trip to the North Shore. Know that it can get quite crowded during the summer months, especially on the weekend, but is worth your time to visit!
Here is a list of our favorite things to do in Gooseberry Falls State Park:
Visit the Falls:
View the Upper, Middle and Lower Waterfalls of the Gooseberry River as it cascades through a steep, rocky gorge. A short hike from the visitor’s center will bring hikers to a bridge that stands over the waterfall. Continue past the bridge to see more falls.
Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Historic CCC Area:
The original bridge and a few buildings in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. All are on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. A popular CCC destination is the stone water tower and CCC Worker statue.
Explore the Joseph N. Alexander Visitor Center:
Inside the visitor’s center, you will find a theater, interpretive displays, trail center, natural store, and North Shore travel information. In the main theater, the 13-minute film “Lake Superior: The Greatest Lake” features fun facts about the Great Lake and a quick introduction to area geology, and the 11-minute film “Minnesota’s North Shore: A Constellation of Parks” highlights North Shore and park history, as well as a look at other area state parks.
Picnic on the Picnic Flow:
A tranquil area, great for enjoying a quick bite. When you’re done, explore the ancient lava flow that was formed a billion years ago. The basalt flows that created the Picnic Flow are the same types of lava flows that created the famous Lake Superior Agates. Be sure to find the Belle P Cross anchor the sits between the Picnic Flow and Agate Beach.
Visit Agate Beach:
Speaking of agates, Agate Beach is a sandbar located at the mouth of the Gooseberry River. This sandbar seems as though it’s a living, breathing being as it changes shape and evolves slowly throughout the year. Scouring the river’s edge you may also find some Lake Superior Agates!
Attend a Naturalist Program:
North Shore-themed programs are offered at the park throughout the year. Topics have included geology, geocaching, snowshoeing, birding, and more. Call the park at 218-595-7100 for information on upcoming programs.
There are 2.5 miles of trail that connect bikers to the Gitchi-Gami State Trail near the picnic flow parking lot. Open in the summer months, bikers can enjoy beautiful outlooks of the rocky Lake Superior shoreline and ride past the historic Civilian Conservation Corps structures. The bike trails at Gooseberry are not open for fat biking in the winter months.
Go Cross-Country Skiing:
While the bike trails are not open in the winter, there are several miles of groomed cross-country ski trails that you can enjoy, making this a great park to visit no matter the season.
Finally, birding is great at Gooseberry Falls State Park all year long. Over 200 species of birds have been spotted. Print off the Birds of Gooseberry Falls State Park Checklist before heading out on your birding adventure.
As we said earlier, Gooseberry Falls State Park is hard to miss! Just drive along Highway 61 between Two Harbors and Beaver Bay and you’ll spot the entrance to the park on the lakeside of the Highway. It sits about 13 miles from Two Harbors and 12 miles from Beaver Bay.
There is no charge to park or to enter the Visitor’s Center and falls area. There is a charge to camp at the Gooseberry Falls State Park campground.
Hours and Seasonality:
The park itself is open year-round from 8 AM-10 PM. Hours may vary but the park and Visitor’s Center are usually staffed from 8 AM-6 PM in the summer and 9 AM-4 PM in the winter. The best time to call and contact the park regarding campground space is 9 AM-4 PM.
The parking lot, Visitor’s Center, and many of the hiking trails are accessible and ADA compliant.
Camping and Lodging:
There are 69 drive-in sites, 3 pull-through sites, 1 kayak site, and 3 group camping sites that can accommodate up to 50 people each. The campground includes showers, flush toilets, vault toilets, and a dump station. The showers and flush toilets are only open May-October. Flush toilets are available year-round at the Visitor’s Center.
There is service for most cell services at the visitor’s center and most other areas of the park. You may have cell coverage issues the further back on the trails you go, depending on your carrier. Before you go download the Gooseberry Falls Go App onto your phone to help you get the most out of your experience.
A Clipper Creek 120 volt electric vehicle charging station is located in the main Visitor’s Center parking lot. It has two cables and is free to use.
Information on this page is subject to change. For current information, including contact information, current hours of operation, and camping information please visit the official Gooseberry Falls State Park DNR website.