Plentiful precipitation has North Shore waterfalls roaring

Week after week of spring storms bringing snow and rain may be disappointing to some Minnesotans who like to get outdoors.

But for those who are drawn to the state's waterfalls — along the North Shore in particular — the repeated rounds of precipitation are adding to an already spectacular show.

Above-average snowfall this past winter — followed by spring storms, including the latest that's dropped more than a half-foot of snow along parts of the North Shore as of Monday morning — have rivers running high.

Crowds flocked to Gooseberry Falls State Park near Two Harbors over the weekend to see the show. Rocky terrain that was dry and exposed during last summer's drought was covered by swirling, icy, root-beer-colored water tumbling over the landmark falls.

Other state parks with waterfalls along State Highway 61 — Tettegouche, Cascade River and Temperance River, among others — also draw crowds each spring.

Visit Cook County and other groups are promoting attractions like waterfalls — as well as fall colors — to help bring more tourists up the North Shore at times other than the busy summer season.

A waterfall in northern Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls is seen as it runs near spring peak on Saturday, thanks to runoff from above-normal snowfall over the winter.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Kjersti Vick with Visit Cook County said the spring waterfall season includes more than just the popular state parks. Vick said she prefers the unnamed falls that form each year during spring runoff.

"All these little pop-up waterfalls start to just show up out of nowhere, that otherwise typically don't exist," she said. "And so you're driving along and all of a sudden there's a waterfall on the side of the road, and it's just so captivating and mesmerizing."

Vick said peak waterfall season this year should last into early May.

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