|Signs warning Gooseberry Falls visitor|
|River ice from the Gooseberry pushed up against an old cedar|
Unfortunately for us fans of waterfalls, it will be tough going to see these torrents up close. The snowpack still reaches all the way to the lakeshore. At Gooseberry Falls State Park, where at least a foot of snow is found in the woods around the visitor center and much more inland, signs warn visitors to the most popular falls to use ice cleats (and "CAUTION").
How do I know?
I decided this morning to check out one of my favorite North Shore waterfall hikes. It's Hike #17 in my book Hiking the North Shore: 50 Fabulous Day Hikes in Minnesota's Spectacular Lake Superior Region. It's a three-mile hike that runs up one side of and down the other of the Gooseberry River, bringing you to all five of the park's main waterfalls.
|Upper Falls, Gooseberry River|
|Andrew on Fifth Fall Bridge|
Other parks, same story
This pattern of snowy slushy hiking on North Shore waterfall hike is true all the way up the shore. The snow gets deep fast as soon as you head inland from the lake and from Highway 61. Another favorite waterfalls hike, the Split Rock River loop on the Superior Hiking Trail, is probably deep in wet snow along the west side of the river.
For the best waterfall hiking on the North Shore this week, stick close to the lake and on well-used paths. If you have cleats for your shoes, strap them on; last thing you want is to slip off the well-packed trail down the gorge and into the just-melted river water rushing away.
|Broken up river ice below Middle Falls, Gooseberry River|
So you should definitely go check out some North Shore waterfalls this week or next. By the time the great hiking trails dry up, the waterfalls might have dried up too.