Gooseberry Falls State Park

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After stopping for a lunch date at Carmody 61 my boyfriend and I decided to go to Gooseberry Falls State Park in Two Harbors, MN and I HAVE to share it with you! It’s also known as “the gateway to the North Shore” because it’s borders meet up with Lake Superior. Its like this cute little paradise tucked in the woods way up north.

You can almost always count on there being a few people here and it was PACKED. Partly because it was a Friday in July – peak vacation season – and partly because it was almost 100 degrees outside and 90% humidity.

It was SO F****** HOT why wouldn’t we go cool off at some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Minnesota?

The parking can be tough as the lot provided doesn’t compare to the amount of traffic during peak season, so like us you may end up parking on the road and having to walk a little bit. The Joseph N. Alexander Visitor Center has all your normal provided information on the history and resources, interpretive displays, nature store. There’s even a couple Electric Vehicle charging stations – a new addition this year.

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After you get your fix of information and memorabilia there is a short walk to either the Upper Falls or the Middle & Lower Falls. They practically bring you to the same place it just depends on if you’d like to overlook the waterfalls or be at the base. Depending on the time of year and recent rainfall the middle area of the waterfalls can be completely underwater. We got lucky and the water level was just right for me to stand in the mid point and take fun pictures in what would be an underwater passageway!

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BRING YOUR BIKES! There’s 15 miles of paved trails. If you’re familiar with the Gitchi-Gami State Trail  (you probably aren’t unless you’re Minnesotan) there is a 2.5 mile section that runs through GBF. The trail connects GBF to the town of Beaver Bay and has access to Lake Superior and campgrounds. There is standard campsites ($15-23/night) all the way up to the option of staying in a yurt ($50-65/night).

**This park is extremely handicap accessible (so much so that MN residents with physical disabilities get 1/2 price camping rates Sunday-Thursday)**

There is 20 miles of hiking trails along the Gooseberry River and 15 miles of groomed xx-skiing trails, 2 miles of snowmobile trails and you can snowshoe anywhere!

Some day I’ll make it down the tree lined trail to see the Fifth Falls but time did not permit it this trip (also I NEED to see this place in the winter time).

Some cool stuff about GBF is that it started showing up on explorer’s maps as early as 1670. It has also been determined by Geologists that about 1 billion years ago the earth began to split allowing lava to flow out which can be seen at the upper, middle and lower falls (or under my feet in the below picture).

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Remember your swimsuit, towel, SPF and some sort of water shoe!

Have fun & happy hiking!

-Mag

DOGGIE ZIPLINE

IMG_0713You know that rule in every campground that’s just so obnoxious? The one about how your dog must be on a leash no longer than 6ft at all times – SO INCONVENIENT

Well you see there’s a way around it! Here’s the super long list of supplies you’ll need:

A long ROPE (mines 30ft) and a CARABINER

Tie the rope between two trees at your campsite. Use the carabiner to attach your leash handle to the rope. Get a cozy harness for your dog and hook ‘em to their leash – WAHLAH! Doggie zip line.

You may now go back to your regularly scheduled camping life hands free of your dog.

Happy hiking!

-Mag

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Jay Cooke State Park

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Northern Minnesota has some amazing state parks  – if you’ve never been, GO!

One I am particularly bias about is Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton. My parents took me and my older brothers here as kids to play in the St. Louis River and hop on all the huge boulders – I’m not sure this is authorized anymore but the 90’s were a different story – HAH!

There are 50 miles of summer hiking trails and for the winter go-getter 32 miles of xx-skiing trails or 7 miles of snow shoe trails if you’re in to that like I am.

You’ll start at the visitors center – get a State Park Pass ($7.00/day)  and find a parking spot. Walking across the swinging bridge is where it all starts – seriously it started out as logs and ropes The Forest Service put into place in 1924. Obviously its been rebuilt since then, a couple of times at that due to HUGE F****** floods in 1950 and 2012. From there its up to you if you’d like to go left or right on to the trails. There’s a little map on a wood post at every trails intersection to get you through the park. There is even a portion of The Superior Trail that runs through Jay Cooke so keep your eye out for backpackers!

Make sure you have bug spray and sunscreen as you’ll be coursing from shady river bottoms to sunshine filled cliff tops. Also there are these cute little covered picnic area’s for lunch, and campsites and cabins available for the over-nighters ($23 regular season/$17 off season).

Aside from hiking and camping there is white water rafting, biking, bird watching, and a pioneer cemetery within the park as well.

If you’ve been, do tell!!

HAPPY HIKING!

-Mag