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.
- From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
- 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.
- 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)
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?
Split Rock State Park is most widely known for the amazing Split Rock Lighthouse. Inside the park, though, is the Split Rock River. Along the river, there are a number of drops. As a whole, the set of waterfalls are not extremely exciting. The hike is very beautiful, but some of the drops are blocked by trees, while others are smaller. The red rock along the river is the one thing that makes the waterfalls more memorable.
The hike to the later falls, the 6th or 7th major one shown below, is a longer hike. It is not a terrible hike, though there are a lot of short ups and downs. It probably would have been more enjoyable if I hadn’t put on a new pair of shoes just that day…Now that I think about it, much more enjoyable. Check out the falls if you’re in the area, but there are still other falls that are more interesting.
- Heading north on MN-61 along the Lake Superior shoreline, you’ll enter Split Rock State Park. The Split Rock River is very close to the southern boundary, and so you’ll see the parking area.
- A sign indicating the Split Rock River is your best bet at identifying the parking lot for the falls. It is a smaller parking lot used frequently by fisherman. At the start of the trail head, you’ll see a sign indicating the trail.
- After about 0.5 miles, you’ll come to a fork in the trail. Head along the right fork, where you’ll soon come to West Split Rock River Falls. Keep heading along that trail, which goes on for a considerable distance. I only traveled about 2 miles along the trail (one-way).
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Distance of hike: 0.5 to 2.0 miles one-way, depending on how far you’d like to go…and it keeps going
One of the upper drops on the Split Rock River (May 2010)
Where in the World is Split Rock Falls #6?
High Falls of the Baptism River (August 2015)
The High Falls of the Baptism River is a definite must see for North Shore waterfalls. It’s a truly powerful waterfall that is accessed by a beautiful hike. I hadn’t planned on visiting this waterfall until later, but since I was passing Tettegouche State Park, I decided to check out the falls. I had already walked some distance, and my feet were hurting after changing to a new pair of shoes.
At first, I was slightly confused about where to access the falls. I was using the book “Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore”, and the book is rather useful, but I think that in the last year or so, some changes must have been made to the way to access the falls? I would check out the website for directions, but essentially you should enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park and drive past the visitor’s center (and pay the fee if you haven’t). You’ll drive under the M-61 bridge and you should just keep heading down this newly-paved road to the end of the road, where you’ll see a sign for the trail center. This is where you start your short journey.
After visiting the beautiful falls, you can continue on to Two Step Falls from either side of High Falls. I would suggest following the path that is on the south side of the river. You can cross the Baptism River and go see the falls on the north side of the river, but the only way to get back to the parking lot after visiting those falls is to retrace your steps, which is why I would just go on the south side. I ended up not visiting Two Step Falls because it was getting late. (I did get a chance to visit Two Step Falls in August 2015.)
- From M-61, enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park. Head past the visitor’s center and drive down to the end of the road to the trail center. Consult the visitor’s center if you want better directions. It’s not that hard to access.
- Follow the signs to High Falls.
Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate, consistent up-and-down)
Length of Hike: 1.4 miles round-trip
High Falls of the Baptism River (May 2010)
Where in the World is High Falls of the Baptism River?