Gooseberry Falls State Park is known as the gateway to the North Shore and is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks. It has a lot to offer and many things to see and do. Very easily, you could spend a whole day exploring the park and still not see everything. Accessing the park is easy! A large parking area is located a short drive off of Highway 61. The park is located in between Two Harbors and Beaver Bay and just a few miles from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
Here is a list of our seven favorite things to do in Gooseberry Falls State Park:
- Visit the Falls: View the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls of the Gooseberry River as it cascades through a steep, rocky gorge. Then, 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. Many sections of this trail are paved and ADA compliant.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Go Biking: 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.
Be Sure to 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. 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. While you’re in the visitor’s center, be sure to check out the Dire Wolf display!
Want More Info?
Check out the Exploring the North Shore guide to learn more about this popular state park. The guide includes accessibility, camping, and electric vehicle information.
The park is located 15 miles from Two Harbors and 11 miles from Beaver Bay. It is also just 6 miles away from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The parking area is located on the lake-side of Highway 61. Look for signs for the park and turn onto the road leading to the parking area.