Experience Incredible Winter Outdoor Activities At This US State Park

Minnesota is known for having tough winters. This is so true that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has titled its yearly winter weather record as the "Twin Cities Winter Misery Index." And despite the many downsides of below-zero temperatures and mounds of snow, there is one major upside — the opportunity for incredible winter outdoor activities. If you're looking for a winter wonderland where you can take out your seasonal gear and get active, then head to one of Minnesota's most beloved natural reserves, Gooseberry Falls State Park.

Located at the North Shore of Lake Superior, this park covers 1,662 acres of Minnesota wilderness. The park is most famous for its five rushing waterfalls that cascade along rocky formations in the Gooseberry River and ultimately merge with Lake Superior. As a result, the park is a serious statewide attraction. Visitors come from around the country for the park's scenic hiking, biking, lakefront activities, camping, fishing, and more. During the winter months, the list of park activities transforms and guests are privy to a new, magical side of the park's beauty.

Follow a scenic trail through Gooseberry Falls State Park

One thing that is a must if you're going to visit Gooseberry Falls State Park is that you check out its renowned waterfalls. This is especially true in the winter, when you might even be able to catch the rapids ground to a halt, frozen in motion. In fact, in January and February, you can usually spot some daring ice climbers attempting to scale the Middle and Lower Falls. To get a gander at this magnificent sight, you'll need some gear to trek through the snow-laden trails.

Snowshoeing trails abound during the winter at Gooseberry Falls State Park. To get to the falls, we recommend you follow the 2-mile route on the Fifth Falls Trail. Another popular route is the Gitchi Gummi Trail. This 2.1-mile path is known for offering stunning lookouts over Lake Superior.

If you'd like to cruise through the park on skis rather than on foot, there happens to be phenomenal cross-country skiing weaving through the park's pine and aspen trees. Purchase the required state ski pass at the park's visitor center and get going on the 2-mile Lakeshore Loop. This option is perfect for beginners and anyone hoping to ski past wonderful waterfall views.

Go winter camping and ice fishing at Gooseberry Falls State Park

While many people will take a pause from their fishing and camping hobbies when it gets chilly outside, that doesn't mean you have to. Gooseberry Falls State Park is a great place to keep doing the activities you love, no matter the weather. The Gooseberry River attracts fishermen all year long for its flourishing trout population. Across the state of Minnesota, ice fishing is free and available throughout the winter for die-hards of the hobby. Bring your rod, grab your ice auger, and bundle up for a lovely, serene fishing excursion.

While you're at it, you can post up for the night at the park's abundance of campsites. With 69 drive-in sites, three group campsites (up to 50 people), three pull-through sites, and availability for 40-foot RVs, the campgrounds at Gooseberry Falls are versatile enough to suit whatever you're looking for. Offering showers and toilets for camper use, the area is well-equipped for a comfortable stay. However, if you choose to spend the night outdoors, take extreme care to keep warm in your tent because Minnesota winter temperatures are no joke!