Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trail heads to Gooseberry’s highest point

High Point Trail (click for a larger version)
Day hikers can head to the highest point in Minnesota’s Gooseberry Falls State Park on the High Point Trail.

The 2.9-miles round trip trail rambles into the highlands overlooking Lake Superior after passing a number of the park’s top sights, including two waterfalls and Nelsens Creek. Note that the name given to the trail here is not official but provided for easy reference.

To reach the park, from Two Harbors travel north on Minn. Hwy. 61. Leave your vehicle at the rest area or visitor center lots.

From the parking lot, head north past the visitor center. At the first fork in the paved path, go left/northeast. The next junction overlooks Middle Falls; go left/northwest there and cross the walking bridge over the Gooseberry River at Hwy. 61. Head under the highway and pass Upper Falls along the river.

Upon reaching the Superior Hiking Trail, go right/south. The crowds thin considerably at this point, as few day hikers venture this far, and when they do, they're usually going in the opposite direction on the SHT to Fifth Falls.

The trail next swerves around the backside of a hill summit, which rises to about 880 feet. At that hill's northeast corner, you’ll come to another trail junction. Stay on the Superior Hiking Trail and cross Nelsens Creek.

On the creek’s other side, leave the Superior Hiking Trail by going right/southeast. At the very next trail junction, go left/northeast.

The trail is fairly flat at first but upon making a U, it climbs in elevation. As gaining in elevation throughout the trail, you’ll notice that a variety of trees make up the heavy forested area. Aspen, birch, cedar and white pine dominate the highlands in the southern part of Minnesota’s North Shore.

At the next trail junction, go left/right. This will take you to a overlook with a trail shelter. The elevation here is just a little over 900 feet, or about 300 feet above Lake Superior.

Upon taking in the view, retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

Learn about more day hiking trails at and near Gooseberry Falls State Park in my Day Hiking Trails of Gooseberry Falls State Park guidebook.