GALLERY: Minnehaha Falls Ice Caves

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One of the most popular attractions in Minneapolis is also one of the most dangerous right now.

Minnehaha Falls is frozen and not safe, if you’re trying to walk around its base.

But it’s also a spectacular sight to see.

So much so that people are ignoring the “No Trespassing” signs and barricades, and walking down frozen steps and slippery trails to take pictures.

It’s icy yet irresistible.

Bill Wallace drove up from Burnsville to take some pictures.

“It is barricaded, but where there’s a will there’s a way,” he said.

This attraction to a frozen waterfall is so strong that people are consciously choosing to trespass.

“It is kind of other worldly, so to speak,” Wallace said. “It is something to behold, that’s for sure.”

Matt Mattiacci and Allison Johnson are students at the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

They are home for winter break and spent time exploring the frozen falls.

“I had no idea that you could go back behind there,” Mattiacci said. “I’ve only seen the falls in the summer. I had no idea you could go behind it. It’s unbelievable–the colors and stuff. It’s very cool.”

They showed WCCO some of the photos they took behind the frozen falls, a view you can only get by crossing into the closed sections of the park.

They admit it was difficult walking and climbing along the ice.

“It’s really slippery,” Johnson said. “And Uggs are no good–I have Uggs on right now, and I barely even made it up.”

Minneapolis Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto issued a warning to those choosing to ignore the posted trespassing signs and barricades.

“If someone were to be injured and firefighters and police officers have to go to that scene to rescue them, now our firefighters and police officers are in harm’s way,” Ohotto said.

The chief said what some people are doing is illegal.

“Yes, you are breaking the law, and you could be cited and arrested for that,” he said.

But police and parks and recreation workers say they just want to keep visitors safe.

Adrianne Hoffer-Carter was one of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation staff members out at the falls putting up “No Trespassing” signs Wednesday.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“If someone falls and hurts themselves, it’s going to be awhile before they get help,” she said. “That’s my main concern.”

Ohotto said he understood the appeal of the frozen falls.

“It is absolutely beautiful,” he said. “We just want people to enjoy it from a safe perspective.”

Pete and his wife Ann came to the see the falls and resisted the temptation to creep down.

“I’d love to be down there,” said Pete. “I think the view is fantastic from down there, but if it’s closed, it’s closed.”

Still, not all ice climbers were deterred.

“It’s one of the most unique experiences in the upper Midwest for sure,” said one anonymous climber. “The fall itself is solid chandelier ice, and it goes from the top to the bottom.”

(credit: Matt Mattiacci)

(credit: Matt Mattiacci)

The staff at Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board told WCCO it’s fine for people to come and take photos from a safe location.

You can do that from the overlook area that’s near the pavilion and Sea Salt restaurant.

What you shouldn’t do is walk down the steps to the falls.

It’s very slippery and there are rocks and moving water under the snow and ice.

Park police officers will be patrolling the area and looking for people who venture past the restricted areas.

If you do, the likely scenario is that they will ask you to move to a safe location. If you refuse, then you certainly face getting arrested.

Comments