Location: Google Maps
Minneapolis has one of the best park systems in the nation, and the 53 foot Minnehaha Falls at the center of Minnehaha Park was the perfect outdoor excursion during our trip to the city. The falls will freeze over in cold weather creating a dramatic ice cave to explore, which makes it even cooler to visit in the winter!
After parking our car along S Minnehaha Dr, we headed down the path towards the falls, and I was already slipping on the ice-covered stone pavement.
After we crossed the bridge, we got our first glimpse of the falls, and it looked like it still wasn't cold enough to freeze the entire lower bowl to walk on. We climbed over the blocked off stairway entrance and started down the slippery stairs. There were around 3 flights of stairs to get down to the creek, and I could see why they close these stairs in the winter.. they were almost completely iced over! If you do decide to head down to the falls, use the handrails and look for dry spots, since we saw at least two people take some nasty falls.
Once we got to the bottom and crossed the bridge, we had another fence to bypass before we started up the icy walkway to the falls.
Once behind the waterfall, the many icicles perfectly framed the wall of cascading water. The mist from the waterfall was absolutely freezing, so we moved further along the cave. There were some decent sections of dirt closer to the wall that provided some traction, otherwise we would have slid all over.
Everything here was especially slippery, and we did see many people slip, so bring good traction shoes. There was even an experienced photographer here with the brilliant idea to strap chains to his shoes.
Although it's not really considered a hike and it can get crowded, the Minnehaha Falls are a natural gem in the bustling city of Minneapolis. It's a great quick day outing that's easy to get to, and especially when frozen, the photogenic cave is definitely worth exploring.
Other useful sites: