• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Winter

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Scenic
Waterfall

Climbing a frozen waterfall. Incredible contrast of colors between the white snow, blue sky and brown rock. Easy parking. Experiencing a summertime place in the winter.

Minnehaha Falls Park in South Minneapolis is a big draw during the spring, summer and fall months. Experiencing an urban waterfall and scenic hiking trails in the middle of a major city is a treat. However, come wintertime, the falls freeze and a spectacular scene emerges. Many people flock to the frozen falls to climb and hike.

Park your car at one of the many lots on property at Minnehaha Falls Park and follow the sign toward the falls. Upon arriving at the top of the falls, you'll see a long, winding staircase leading to the base. Traversing the steep stairs is a bit challenging, as they are often completely iced over. Some portions of the stairs have small, man-made paths alongside so that people can slide down on their butts. Just before reaching the end of the staircase, you may notice a 'Do Not Enter' sign posted by the Minneapolis Park Board. Clearly, it is more of a recommendation than a mandate, as plenty of people climb over the rope to explore the frozen falls.

In order to capture the scale of the falls, I used a GoPro Hero3+ Silver. The wide-angle lens does a nice job of showcasing the massive falls and the tiny people below exploring. Because this GoPro model doesn't have a display on the back, I framed most of my shots using the GoPro app on my iPhone. I also used timelapse mode (one shot every 0.5 seconds) in order to capture a variety of pictures in a single take. To edit my photos, I like to use Snapseed.

Pack List

  • GoPro Hero3+ Silver
  • iPhone
  • Winter clothes (hat, gloves, scarf)
  • Snacks and water
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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If you really want to explore frozen water go to the Apostle Islands. If you get caught behind the "Police Line Do Not Cross" or walking on the stairs prepare for a day in court, they are a lot more serious about this now than before.

23 days ago
23 days ago

Checked out the falls for the first time yesterday, I'll definitely be going again. Unfortunately with the warm temps it wasn't as frozen as I was expecting. Can make a fun trip of it if you park in Ft. Snelling and walk the three miles each way.

12 months ago
12 months ago

I enjoy Minnehaha Falls even more when it's frozen! It's awesome to explore behind the falls, but there's been "talk" of more enforcement of the do not enter sign.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Dan Mirocha

Always up for an adventure, both urban and off-the-grid. Instagram: @danmirocha

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