Welcome to the Grand Portage State Park virtual tour! Explore exhibits inside the visitor center or stunning views of waterfalls along the Pigeon River. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Welcome Park Visitors!
The visitor center at Grand Portage State Park is called a welcome center. It also serves the public as a highway rest area and travel information center. Park staff take pride in making visitors feel welcome, and helping them enjoy their travels. This honors the centuries old tradition of Ojibwe people welcoming travelers to the Grand Portage area.
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Welcome Center Lobby
The lobby of the welcome center is designed to introduce park visitors to the culture of the Grand Portage Ojibwe people. The turtle on the floor helps illustrate the Ojibwe creation and migration stories. This is the only state park in Minnesota located on Tribally owned land.
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Niibin (it is summer)
Interpretive displays create a sense of place where visitors can glimpse what life means to the Grand Portage Ojibwe. Four life-sized murals help visitors understand how seasonal rhythms are woven into the fabric of everyday life at Grand Portage. It is summer or the Ojibwe word Niibin (pronounced “nee-bin”) in this first mural. Artwork shows an elder telling stories about the seasonal activities depicted in four mural vignettes.
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Dagwaagin (it is fall)
It is fall or Dagwaagin (pronounced “dug-wah-ghi”) in a second mural which depicts Ojibwe men on a present day moose hunt. A reading rail describes why moose are culturally important to the Grand Portage people.
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Ziigwan (it is spring)
It is spring or Ziigwan (pronounced "zee-gwun”) in this life-size mural. This display shows a spring spear fishing scene near the mouth of the Pigeon River, two miles downstream from the state park. The date of this scene is before European contact, perhaps the year 1600 or earlier.
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River Overlook Deck
This accessible, wooden deck next to the visitor center has a great view across the Pigeon River into Ontario, Canada. Eagles and ospreys are sometimes seen from this overlook. If you are lucky, you might see a moose browsing on the islands below.
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Paved Trail to High Falls
The one-half mile trail to Minnesota's highest waterfall is paved with very gentle elevation changes. The roundtrip walk is one mile with several benches for resting along the way. Expect to take thirty to forty minutes to travel the trail, including time for spectacular photography opportunities at High Falls.
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The Pigeon River
Along the paved path to high falls, the first of two stairways lead you down to this view of the river. The Pigeon River is the international border between the United States and Canada.
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Pigeon River Gorge
This gorge lies just downstream from High Falls. Park visitors often sun themselves on the streamside boulders, and relax to the sound of the river rushing by on its way to Lake Superior.
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Boardwalk to High Falls
This boardwalk takes visitors the last few hundred feet to the High Falls viewing decks. The sound of the roaring waterfall can be heard long before arriving at High Falls.
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High Falls - Main Deck
The High Falls of the Pigeon River is Minnesota’s highest waterfall, plummeting 120 feet into a narrow rocky gorge. The stunning view from this deck is accessible to wheelchairs and families with children in strollers. A beautiful rainbow can often be seen arching over the river, which separates the United States from Canada.
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High Falls – West Deck
A stairway of forty steps leads to this viewing platform that brings you closest to High Falls, shown here during low water. However, during spring, early summer, and after a heavy rain, the mist and spray from the thundering waterfall keeps this deck wet all day and night! Looking across the river, you can see remnants of an old logging sluiceway that carried saw logs safely around High Falls through the early 1900s.
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High Falls - East Deck
This is the third and smallest viewing deck for the High Falls. From here, visitors may notice hikers on the other side of the river enjoying the view from the Provincial Park in Canada.
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View - Middle Falls Trail
The trail to Middle Falls climbs 300 vertical feet to give hikers some incredible views over Lake Superior and the beautiful Grand Portage Indian Reservation that surrounds the park.
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Highest Point in Park
A short spur off the Middle Falls Trail takes visitors to this overlook over 400 vertical feet above Lake Superior. On clear days you can see Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, twenty-two miles offshore!
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Middle Falls Trail
Grand Portage State Park has one backcountry trail. This narrow trail to Middle Falls is lined with thick vegetation. The trail to Middle Falls is a moderately strenuous four-and-a-half mile roundtrip from the visitor center.
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Above Middle Falls
The bedrock next to the river makes a good resting place near the end of the Middle Falls Trail. Hikers can almost reach out across the international boundary and touch the Ontario side of the river.
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Middle Falls rushes over resistant diabase rock and drops thirty feet into a wide pool just two miles upstream from High Falls. Prehistoric volcanic activity created resistant ridges of diabase rock. Diabase is responsible for the dramatic, steep topography in the Grand Portage area.
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Group Picnic Shelter
The park's gathering shelter lies along a paved trail next to the Pigeon River. The shelter is a good place for a family picnic lunch or to listen to the park naturalist talk about Ojibwe culture.