Gooseberry Falls State Park Snapshot Tour

Welcome to the Gooseberry Falls State Park virtual tour! Explore the various waterfalls, take a peek inside the visitor center, marvel at the view from the overlook, and admire the stonework in the historic Lady Slipper Lodge and campground shelter buildings. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.


Photo of the Middle Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Middle Falls

The cedar-shaded viewing deck at the Middle Falls is a great place to take a photograph. From the wooden platform you can also see the top of the Lower Falls, an arch and a cave. During the summer many visitors cool their feet in the shallow water below the Middle Falls, but take precautions as wet rocks can be slippery and unstable.


Photo of the Middle and Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Middle and Lower Falls

During the summer months, these waterfalls often have just a thin veil of water moving over the edge and onto the rocks below, but as the seasons change so do the waterfalls. In the early spring this tranquil stream becomes a raging torrent, filling the river banks and making a thunderous sound that can be heard from the visitor center and other distant locations.


Photo of the eastern Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Lower Falls—East

Erosion and weathering are continuous, natural processes. Since the last glacial episode, the river has carved deeply into this volcanic landscape. Today water, wind and weather continue to shape the falls and river gorge area of this park. Look for eroded gas bubbles at the tops of each waterfall, giving the rock a textured appearance.


Photo above the western Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Above Lower Falls—West

Above you are the Middle Falls, and below you the river ripples over rocks, eventually smoothing out and flowing on into Lake Superior. Steps and a boardwalk trail hug the riverbank so that you can take in all the sights.


Photo of the lower west side of Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Below Lower Falls

A large rock island divides the river between the east and west sides of the Lower Falls. During the spring and fall, migrating salmon (and fishermen) can be seen in the river below these falls. The west side of the Lower Falls also has beautiful ice formations during the winter months.


Photo of the bridge below Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Bridge Below Lower Falls

Three bridges cross the river to join the hiking trails that follow the banks on either side. Many visitors take this trail (called the Falls Loop) that circles around the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Look for naturalist-led interpretive hikes and other programs throughout the summer months!


Photo of the Middle Falls Overlook at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Middle Falls Overlook

On the northeast side of the river, several overlooks along the trail give a different view of the waterfalls and river valley. With over a half million visitors each year, Gooseberry Falls is one of the busiest state parks in Minnesota. Most people come to see the waterfalls, but you also won't want to miss the gorgeous views of Lake Superior!


Photo from above Middle Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Above Middle Falls

From this point, visitors can take in a three-dimensional view of the tiered, rocky landscape. The park has a diverse vegetative cover of mixed evergreen, aspen and birch forests that provide habitat for a variety of birds and other animals. Please take precautions when visiting the waterfalls, as rocks can be unstable and are slippery when wet. Enjoy the park with safety and good judgment.


Photo from the Catwalk Bridge below Highway 61 at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Catwalk Bridge

A wonderful birds-eye view of the Upper Falls is found as you cross the catwalk bridge below Highway 61. This is part of the Falls Loop Trail, and leads to the Gateway Plaza and visitor center on the west bank or the Gitchi-Gami State Trail on the east bank. You can also head northwest to the Fifth Falls from either end of the catwalk!


Photo of the Upper Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Upper Falls

Water at the Upper Falls spills into the ever-changing pool at its base. Lots of ooo's and ahh's are heard around this lovely waterfall. Just west of these falls was the Civilian Conservation Corps camp area, where hundreds of men lived while building this state park during the 1930s.


Photo of the Snowmobile Trail Bridge that spans the river above Gooseberry Falls State Park's Upper Falls.
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Snowmobile Trail Bridge

This wide, sturdy bridge spans the river above the Upper Falls. A spur trail from the C.J. Ramstad / North Shore State Trail crosses here on its way to the visitor center parking lot, allowing snowmobilers to take advantage of the warmth and amenities found at the park during the winter months. Many hikers and skiers also pass this way as they head off to enjoy the more remote trails in the park.


Gateway Plaza

Level with Highway 61, the Gateway Plaza has interpretive signs, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, and a panoramic view of the Gooseberry River and Lake Superior basin. The Plaza sits atop the 300 foot long "Castle in the Park." This highway retaining wall was the largest Civilian Conservation Corps building project in Minnesota.

Photo of the Gateway Plaza atop the hundred yard 'Castle Wall' at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Photo of the Gateway Plaza atop the hundred yard 'Castle Wall' at Gooseberry Falls State Park.

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Photo of a statue dedicated to the Civilian Conservation Corps workers who helped develop Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Civilian Conservation Corps Worker Statue

From 1934-1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps relief program brought young, unemployed men here to develop Gooseberry Falls State Park. In exchange they were given $30 per month to help their families back home. Facing the "Castle Wall," the Civilian Conservation Corps worker statue is dedicated to the hard work and lasting legacy of these young men.


Photo of the front of the Visitor Center at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Visitor Center

The visitor center is a great source for interpretive and resource information, and is a starting point for trails to the waterfalls and other areas of the park. The visitor center is named after Joseph N. Alexander, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner from 1979-1991. He had the distinction of being appointed by both Democratic and Republican governors, and was the longest serving commissioner at the time of his retirement.


Visitor Center—Interior

The Joseph N. Alexander Visitor Center includes an information desk, Nature Store, theater, interpretive displays and restrooms. There are check-out materials at the front desk, such as birding kits and GPS equipment. The theater can be also be rented for meetings and presentations by calling the park office.

Photo of the interior of the Visitor Center at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Photo of the interior of the Visitor Center at Gooseberry Falls State Park.

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Photo of the Gitchi Gummi Trail Overlook at Gooseberry Falls State Park, with Lake Superior down below.
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Gitchi Gummi Trail Overlook

The Ojibwa people called Lake Superior "Gitchi Gummi," meaning "big water." This hiking trail is appropriately named, as the breathtaking views of the lake are larger than the sky. The trail loops through a lush forest and passes by Civilian Conservation Corps structures (stone steps, shelters and a surprise), the river mouth, three overlook decks and Nelson's Creek.


Photo of Agate Beach on the shores of Lake Superior, at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Agate Beach

Like an unsettled painting, this sandbar at the mouth of the river changes throughout the year. Spring brings forceful melt-water that blasts the river open, while fall sees powerful storms sending Lake Superior's waves crashing to the shore. The smooth, flat rocks you'll find on the beach are created by wave action moving like a giant rock tumbler.


Photo of a stone picnic table at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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CCC Picnic Tables

Not only did the Civilian Conservation Corps construct the larger buildings, they also worked on many smaller projects at the park. These log and stone picnic tables are found at the river mouth, on the Picnic Flow by Lake Superior and at Lady Slipper Lodge. Enjoy!


Photo of the reserveable log and stone Lakeview Shelter at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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CCC Lakeview Shelter

The Lakeview Shelter is located on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Inside, you'll find picnic tables, a fireplace and modern restroom facilities. This log and stone CCC building can be rented for group gatherings by contacting the park office up to a year in advance of the rental date. Restrooms are typically open from early May to early October.


Photo of the interior of the reserveable log and stone Lakeview Shelter at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Lakeview Shelter—Interior

The Lakeview Shelter is located on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Inside, you'll find picnic tables, a fireplace and modern restroom facilities. This log and stone CCC building can be rented for group gatherings by contacting the park office up to a year in advance of the rental date. Restrooms are typically open from early May to early October.


Photo of the Lake Superior shoreline at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Lake Superior Shoreline

Visitors love the waterfalls, but the park's rocky shoreline is an even more fabulous place to explore! On a calm day the lake looks like glass beside the pebble beach, but waves can crash up to 30 feet high against the volcanic cliffs during a storm. Sightings of herring gulls, loons, bald eagle, osprey, ravens and cormorants are a regular occurance, especially during the migratory seasons, as the park is situated on the North Shore Flyway.


Photo of the Picnic Flow area along Lake Superior's shoreline at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Picnic Flow

Enjoy a picnic lunch on ancient rock! Geologists have determined that over one billion years ago, the Earth's crust began to split apart, creating the Mid-Continental Rift. Lava oozed onto the surface and as it cooled, it formed volcanic rocks like the basalt in this exposed flow. Today, it's a beautiful and fascinating place to explore.


Photo of vernal pools at the Picnic Flow area along Lake Superior's shoreline at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Picnic Flow Shoreline

The lower portion of the Picnic Flow is dotted with temporary pools of water during the spring and summer months. These nooks and crannies collect moisture from waves and rain, creating micro-habitats for the smallest of critters. You may hear frogs calling or see tadpoles swimming in a pool that's shaped like the big lake next door (Lake Superior)!


Photo of the historic CCC Lady Slipper Lodge at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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CCC Lady Slipper Lodge

Lady Slipper Lodge was the first of many historical structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Gooseberry State Park. Made of log and stone, it blends well into the wooded setting. Enjoy a picnic outside on the historic picnic tables or an interpretive program at the amphitheater, both just a short hike away from the campground.


Photo of the interior of the historic CCC Lady Slipper Lodge at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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CCC Lady Slipper Lodge—Interior

This Civilian Conservation Corps building contains a fireplace, which creates a cozy 'north woods' atmosphere. It has bench seating inside, and is often used for interpretive programs during the summer months. The building can also be rented for group gatherings by contacting the park office up to a year in advance of the rental date.


Photo of the historic CCC Campground Shelter at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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CCC Campground Shelter

Located in the lower loops of the campground, this shelter can be used by anyone looking for a place to have a picnic, get out of the elements, or sit by a cozy fire. It was one of the last projects completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps before they departed from this area.


Photo of the interior of the historic CCC Campground Shelter at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
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Campground Shelter—Interior

Located in the lower loops of the campground, this shelter can be used by anyone looking for a place to have a picnic, get out of the elements, or sit by a cozy fire. The other half of the building includes restrooms with showers and flush toilets. Restrooms are typically open from early May to early October.


Photo of a tent set up at the Gooseberry Falls State Park campground.
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Campground

The Gooseberry Falls State Park campground is located close to Lake Superior. The nicely wooded sites have no electricity, but are large enough to accommodate either tents or RVs. There are two modern shower buildings, and campers can enjoy interpretive programs at nearby Lady Slipper Lodge, biking on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail or hiking along the scenic shoreline.


Virtual Tours

Gooseberry Falls State Park home page

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This program is made possible by funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.