Gooseberry Falls In The Winter: A Frozen Paradise In Northern Minnesota

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It was a cold winter Friday (I’m assuming) in Menomonie, Wisconsin, when me and my roommate and two friends decided to drive up to Duluth, Minnesota just for funsies. 

We didn’t really know what we wanted to do there other than see Gooseberry Falls.  So, of course, we packed up the car and headed out!

It was a fun little trip and I finally got to see the falls.  I found my pictures from the trip up there and decided to share them (finally).

You can visit Gooseberry Falls State Park year round, I would love to go back in the summer, but we got to see it in all it’s frozen glory, which was pretty cool.  It was so long ago I don’t really remember specifics of where we were or anything, so just keep that in mind.

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We didn’t spend all day at the park, but I did enjoy it while we were there.  We wandered along a partial boardwalk trail before wandering onto the ice. 

It wasn’t totally frozen everywhere, so I’m not sure how much I would recommend that.  Just use your own judgment and be careful.

We followed the trail down a bit and admired the falls from afar before heading back out.  We also made a stop at the Split Rock Lighthouse. 

There wasn’t a whole lot to do there in the winter, so we looked around a bit before calling it a day and probably heading home.

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How much is Gooseberry Falls?

Park entrance is $7 per day.  A year pass is $35.  Camping is $17-$23 per day.  If you plan on visiting a lot of state parks over a short trip or the year if you live nearby, the $35 pass is good for all 75 Minnesota State Parks!  If you want more ideas of outdoorsy things to do in Minnesota, check out my Minnesota bucket list.

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When is Gooseberry Falls open?

Gooseberry Falls is open year round.  In the winter, the hours are 9-4, but they are extended in the summer.  The best time to visit will just depend on how you want to see it.  In the winter, the falls are all frozen, which is really cool.  The visitor center is open year-round.


How to get to Gooseberry Falls

The directions from Duluth to Gooseberry Falls are the same in winter and summer unless there are any temporary road closures.  It should take just under an hour to get there.

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What to bring to Gooseberry Falls in the winter:

Warm hat – You’ll definitely want a warm hat for a winter Gooseberry Falls trip.  I have a different color of this hat and love it.

Gloves – If you plan on being outside all day, you’ll probably want thicker gloves, but these are perfect for a few hours.

Hand and toe warmers – If you don’t want to get thicker gloves, bring some hand warmers.  If your feet get really cold really easily, definitely bring toe warmers.  They’re a game changer.

Warm socksSmartwool socks are always a good choice, but I also love my Farm to Feet socks.  I usually just get hiking socks and might wear a lighter pair underneath.

Warm bootsI love my Sorel boots.  They’re cute, comfy, and warm.  Plus, there is room under my toes for toe warmers.

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Tips for visiting Gooseberry Falls in the winter:

  • The state park is about 40 miles north of Duluth.
  • You can explore the park with snowshoes in the winter.
  • There are also tons of cross-country ski trails and a few miles of snowmobile trails as well.
  • If you want to walk on the ice, be careful and make sure the ice is solid.  I’m not sure I would recommend it because a few of our feet fell through a bit, but we made it out alive and not frozen.
  • It can get pretty cold here, so be prepared with good winter gear and layers in case it’s a warm winter day.

Have you been to Gooseberry Falls in the winter?  Did you like it?  What is your favorite Minnesota state park?

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