It may be pretty, but going behind Minnehaha Falls is dangerous

A chunk of ice fell on a woman's head Sunday afternoon.

Minnehaha Falls is a popular place to take photos – but getting up close to the frozen falls is illegal, and can be dangerous.

Every year, Minneapolis parks officials remind visitors that there are only two places to view the frozen falls safely and legally – from the footbridge above the falls or the overlook near the Sea Salt restaurant, the Minneapolis Park Board posted on Facebook.

But every year, people ignore warnings and trespassing signs, duck under the barricades and go behind the frozen waterfall. They may take some incredible photos, but doing so is illegal because of how dangerous the moving water, boulders and slippery slopes can be, the park board said.

A 20-year-old woman who trespassed at the frozen falls learned this first hand Sunday afternoon, Robin Smothers of the Minneapolis Park Board, told GoMN Monday. She was hit on the head by falling ice and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, WCCO reports.

Video of a huge chunk of ice falling at the falls was posted to Facebook:

Minnehaha falls this afternoon

Posted by Judy Babcock on Sunday, January 8, 2017

This Twitter user took photos of the apparent incident:

After Sunday's incident, seven people were cited for trespassing, Smothers told GoMN. Park Police had been warning people all weekend to get out of the area beneath the falls. On Saturday, 75 people received warnings, and on Sunday another 60 people were warned to get out of the area.

Park officials say going behind the falls not only puts you at risk of getting hurt, but it also endangers first responders who have to go down into the frozen falls if someone gets injured.

Sunday's incident marked the first time this year where police were called to the falls, Smothers said, noting most accidents where someone gets hurt aren't reported to police – and they typically are only called to the park when an injury requires emergency medical care or evacuation.

There were two injury incidents reported to police in 2016, according to Smothers. One in March, when a 24-year-old woman flipped on a rock behind the falls and suffered what could have been a broken ankle, and then in December a 35-year-old man cut his leg while trying to scale a fence at the park. He admitted that he ignored signs telling him to avoid the area.

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.


St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.


Video: This time-lapse of the sunrise over Minnehaha Falls 👌

Now you don't have to wake up early to see the sunrise.

Video: This time-lapse of the sunrise over Minnehaha Falls 👌

Now you don't have to wake up early to see the sunrise.

Minnehaha Falls picked as one of the world's 55 most 'breathtaking destinations'

An Expedia blog picked Minnehaha Falls as one of the 55 most breathtaking places – in the entire world.

Winter is back on: It's going to get pretty cold this week

The wind chill will fall below zero this week.

It's going to feel a lot like winter next week

Temps will drop into the teens for many by Thursday.