Gooseberry Falls State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
The inhospitable shoreline of Lake Superior in Minnesota was born from volcanoes 700 million years ago. Lava flowed over older formations and formed bedrock. You can see hardened lava along the lakeshore south of the river and at the Upper and Lower Falls at Gooseberry State Park. After the volcanic activity, glaciers advanced and retreated over Minnesota, sculpting Lake Superior’s basin and most of the land forms that we see today.
Gooseberry State Park is located 12 miles northeast of Two Harbors on the North Shore Scenic Drive in Minnesota’s Lake County.
You can hike the length of the park along the Gooseberry River or explore the uplands on trails dotted with overlooks. Small trail shelters are scattered along the main paths.
The paved Gitchi Gami State Trail, which connects to the park, is a good place to observe the Lower Falls. It offers ridge top vistas of Lake Superior as well. On the other side of the gorge, the Lower Rim Trail leads to Agate Beach, at the mouth of the river.
The 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail, a footpath from Duluth to the Canadian Border, also passes through Gooseberry State Park.
Backpackers sometimes like to set up in one of the walk-in sites near the main campground, because the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail passes through the park. If you’re traveling on the Lake Superior water trail, a special campsite is available for kayak-in only.
About 12 miles of cross-country ski trails to suit all tastes help to make Gooseberry Falls State Park busy year round. Snowshoeing and hiking are permitted throughout the park except on groomed ski trails. A warming house with bathrooms, a fireplace and vending machines is open for everybody in the trail center.
More about skiing in the Two Harbors area