Middle Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

When I think about waterfalls, I don’t often think about individual favorites, but often groups of falls within proximity to each other. And Gooseberry Falls State Park is a perfect example of this. It might not be my favorite set of falls, but there are a number of them on the Gooseberry River, AND they are surrounded by a number of other beautiful waterfalls along the North Shore of Minnesota.

Middle Gooseberry Falls is somewhat difficult to separate from its relative, Lower Falls. I believe there might be a way to “hike” down to the base of Middle Falls to get a better view, but I’m not 100% sure. Instead, you can get a pretty complete view of both Middle and Lower Falls together from a viewpoint further downstream. I don’t remember if the view was from the north bank of the river or while crossing the river on one of the bridges. Both falls together are impressive. Gooseberry Falls State Park is pretty popular, though, so choose your visit wisely. In early May, it was bustling, so I can’t imagine the summer months! (Trying to visit a few years later in August, we couldn’t find a parking spot…)

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Follow the trail down to the first group of falls, which includes Lower and Middle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Both Middle and Lower Gooseberry Falls in May 2010

Where in the World is Middle Gooseberry Falls?

Upper Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

Gooseberry Falls State Park is one of the more popular state parks along the North Shore of Minnesota, and you’ll definitely want to stop and take the hike to see the falls. There are 4 great falls in the park, all very photogenic and three that are easy to visit. Only Fifth Falls requires a longer hike to view. I first visited Lower and Middle Falls and then started on the loop trail that led me to Fifth Falls. I was on the north side of the river, and did not see Upper Falls on the hike to Fifth Falls. Hiking along back on the south side of the river afforded a really great view of the falls.

You actually have to be pretty careful when viewing Upper Gooseberry Falls, as I don’t remember there being any guard rails anywhere near the falls.  In one way, that can be nice, as it doesn’t prohibit your view, and yet you still do have to be aware that there is a significant drop to the river below.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Head west on the south side of the river, pass under the bridge, and you’ll shortly arrive at Upper Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Upper Falls in Gooseberry Falls State Park in May 2010

Where in the World is Upper Gooseberry Falls?

Lower Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

One portion of Lower Falls in May 2010

Lower Falls is the furthest downstream of the large drops on the Gooseberry River. I saw pictures to suggest there might be smaller falls further downstream, which would not surprise me. The river drops numerous times along its journey to Lake Superior.

Lower Falls has two different parts that could even be considered two different falls separated by rock. The photo here shows what I believe is the right side, though I might be wrong about that. Other pictures show different viewpoints. Whatever viewpoint this is at, the falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park are really great and VERY easily accessible.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Follow the trail down to the first group of falls, which includes Lower Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Lower Gooseberry Falls?

Fifth Falls, Minnesota

There are numerous waterfalls on the Gooseberry River in Gooseberry Falls State Park. There are four in the entrance to the park that don’t require much work to visit and view. The fifth fall, aptly named Fifth Falls, takes more effort, though the hike is very enjoyable. I’m not sure that I would ever hike it again, though, as the first four falls are just more interesting.

When you get to Fifth Falls, there are multiple drops that can’t be viewed simultaneously, though they are close to each other.  As with some of the falls in the park, you can get pretty close to the falls, so the view is great. Neither drop is particularly tall, though.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Follow the trail down to the first group of falls. To get to Fifth Falls, it can be helpful to get a map of the park. You will head west along a trail that goes along the Gooseberry River on both sides of the river. I took the north trail on the way there and then the south trail to complete the view full circle. The better views are obtained from the north trail.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

The upper drop of Fifth Falls (May 2010)

The lower drop of Fifth Falls

Where in the World is Fifth Falls?