Fortunately, our area had a prolonged cold spell, which allowed many waterfalls to partially or entirely freeze. Minnehaha Falls on Skeleton River drains Skeleton Lake, and the water flowing through it is sufficient not to freeze completely and still provide a fantastic spectacle.
The parking lot of Fish Hatchery Park is maintained in the winter and draws enough people to this location that the path to the falls is easy to follow. It is not a complicated pathway but has a few minor hills and steep sections. Within 10 minutes of walking, we were already there.
One of the first things we noticed was that the snow had covered all the fairy homes. I have always found this to be a fantastic and fun idea, and it helps to add to the experience, especially during our summer visit to this same fall. The path follows the river; before we knew it, we had come up the mostly frozen falls.
My wife Charlene spotted a heart in the ice. She has this incredible knack for discovering these during our trips. It touches my heart that she finds these, especially at places she loves. I also think that there is a bit of love for me too.
This tiny heart was located at the crest of the smaller section of Minnehaha Falls and allowed me to see just how thin the ice was. It took away all my temptation to cross over to the tiny island that would have allowed me to see the falls from a different angle.
We would stay at this place, together with no other people around, and watched how the water coursed through the rocks and ice. The mist had collected on a nearby tree giving it a skirt of snow. It was interesting that the ice followed the shape of the water and created many features with each examination that we took.
We had crampons on our feet, making walking in the winter so much easier and safer. Ice is not something we will slip on, and walking on snow gives us extra traction. These crampons allow us to go up and down slopes with relative ease. It is an absolute must, in my opinion, that everyone wears these whenever hiking in the winter.
Because of proper footwear and safety equipment, we could get to the base of the falls and see even more of this natural wonder. These falls provided us with a great view to see.
We headed back to see the two smaller falls across the road from the parking lot and the lake that is the source of these three falls. The lake was barely frozen near where we stood, probably because of the intensity of the water flowing. Beyond this, the lake was completely frozen, and the ice was thick enough for snowmobiles to travel on it.
- Safe trips are fun trips. Always be aware of your surroundings. Snow can cover so many pitfalls, and nobody wants to get hurt.
- Always dress for the weather and have proper footwear.
- This location is shown on Featured Maps.
There are other trails and educational signs in this park, and it is worth exploring both in winter and summer.