15 Best Things to Do in Grand Portage, MN

Grand Portage, MN
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Are you looking for the best things to do in Grand Portage, Minnesota?

Located on Lake Superior at the northeastern tip of Minnesota, Grand Portage is part of Cook County.

Grand Portage is a community with long traditions and a thriving culture.

This village is one of the first Ojibwe towns in Minnesota.

See winding rivers, gorgeous shorelines, vast meadows, dense woods, and hilltops with panoramic views of the whole region in this area.

Likewise, marvel at the breathtaking vistas of waterfalls along the Pigeon River, including one standing at an astonishing 120 feet.

Visits to Grand Portage are always enlightening and entertaining, regardless of the season.

Bring your camera, as there will be plenty of great photo opportunities.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Grand Portage, MN.

Enjoy Various Activities at Grand Portage National Monument

Welcome sign of Grand Portage National Monument
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

The Grand Portage National Monument is the first place you should visit in Grand Portage.

This national monument is on the north coast of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, and it's well worth a visit.

Situated in the heart of the Anishinaabeg Ojibwe culture and history, the monument reminds guests of the region's fur-trading activities.

The term Grand Portage comes from the 8.5-mile trail that skirts the Pigeon River's rapids and waterfalls.

Visitors may take a scenic climb up Mount Rose.

See the hardwoods and evergreens.

Climb the summit to see the old terminal, meadows, and dazzling Grand Portage Bay.

The Historical Gardens, Canoe Warehouse, Great Hall, and the Ojibwe Village are among the most popular attractions in the area.

The waters of Grand Portage National Monument
Brian Zinnel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stock Up Your Supplies from Ryden's Border Store

Ryden's Border Store in Grand Portage stands only half a mile from the border.

Travelers have relied on our shop since 1947 for all their needs.

Customers may shop for duty-free goods and currency exchange and use the Coffee Bar, bathrooms, and Gas Bar.

Local art, apparel, amethyst, jewelry, moccasins, home furnishings, soda, candy, chips, and World Famous Jerky are just a few examples of the incredible variety of goods available in the region.

Subject to current exchange rates, Ryden's Border Store accepts both US and Canadian money, Visa MasterCard, and Discover credit cards.

Climb the Summit of Mount Josephine

View of the ocean from Mount Josephine's summit
Nicholas Charles Pederson / Shutterstock.com

The relatively steep trek to the summit of Mount Josephine is perfect for those who are health-conscious and want to get their heart rate up.

The Sawtooth Mountains' Mount Josephine offers spectacular views of Lake Superior's Wauswaugoning Bay, Grand Portage Bay, Isle Royale, the Susie Islands, and Pigeon Point.

The Grand Portage Indian Reservation is home to Mount Josephine, a prominent landmark in the area.

While traversing the ledge rock, you can expect uneven and slippery areas.

Use caution while trekking.

The mountain's summit is 1,342 feet above sea level and you can reach it via a moderately strenuous climb.

Hikers may also go from the little parking lot in the hamlet of Grand Portage to the historic fire tower and several viewing sites, ascending roughly 656 feet.

The lookouts near the ancient fire tower are a popular destination for some.

However, the route continues to the fabled Witch Tree at Hat Point's tip.

Reports say that the Witch Tree is one of the world's oldest and tiniest trees, making it an excellent photo opportunity.

Journal entries from the 1790s mention the tree by name, indicating that it is at least three hundred years old.

See the Rich Wildlife of Grand Portage State Park

The gorgeous waterfalls of Grand Portage State Park
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Located at the northernmost point of Minnesota, where the United States and Canada converge, Grand Portage State Park is home to 278 acres of beauty.

Quaking aspen and paper birch dominate the park's flora, with spruce, balsam fir, black ash, and cedar showing up from time to time.

You can also spot animals like white-tailed deer, moose, red foxes and bears, beavers, and river otters in this park, which is open year-round.

A 3.5-mile journey takes visitors to Middle Falls, where they may see the 120-foot cascading cascade.

Otherwise, you can take in the stunning vistas of Lake Superior and Isle Royale National Park.

Welcome sign of Grand Portage State Park
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

You may find an introduction to the Grand Portage Ojibwe community's customs and culture in the displays.

Artworks depicting seasonal mobility and a subsistence existence resonate with many people today.

Members of the Ojibwe community developed these exhibits.

This is the only state park inside a Native American Reservation, which is also under the ownership of the tribe.

It provides visitors with a unique 'sense of place.'

Boardwalk trail in Grand Portage State Park
Paul Paschke / Shutterstock.com

Go Fishing at Lake Superior

Winter view of Lake Superior
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You may fish at Lake Superior and the lakes and streams in the area.

Likewise, you can catch a wide variety of fish on the main lake, in the streams, and in interior lakes.

These fish include the smallmouth bass and northern pike, and brook trout.

Read the descriptions and hints to learn more about the fish you'll catch.

You may also use any public property near Lake Superior for shore casting.

Most service stations and outfitters along the coast and the Gunflint Trail sell fishing licenses, bait, tackle, and other fishing equipment.

If you're going trout fishing, you'll need a trout stamp.

Don't forget to look for fresh and smoked Lake Superior fish at your local grocery shop or fish market.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take Photos with the High Falls of the Pigeon River

A rainbow over High Falls of the Pigeon River
Ralf Broskvar / Shutterstock.com

As the sole North Shore state park with a primary feature that you can reach in a wheelchair, High Falls lies after a gentle, 0.5-mile paved route and boardwalk.

You can find this place in Ontario, Canada, eight minutes from Grand Portage.

Admire the natural beauty and grandeur of the largest waterfall in the Minnesota region.

At the High Falls, you can find three observation decks to take in the scenery, whether for photos or to relax and reflect.

The Pigeon River rushes over the top, past the rocks, and into the valley below at the 92-foot high Falls.

The top of High Falls of the Pigeon River
Gus Garcia / Shutterstock.com

Flowing inland from Lake Superior, the Pigeon River marks the boundary between the United States and Canada.

After you've enjoyed the falls' majesty and captured as many shots as possible, continue the river walk and down the stairway.

This vantage point also gives you beautiful views of the Pigeon River and surrounding countryside.

The base of High Falls of the Pigeon River
Gus Garcia / Shutterstock.com

Admire the Stunning Views of the Region at Wayswaugoing Bay Overlook

The Wayswaugoing Bay Overlook is near Grand Portage, in Cook County's northernmost limits.

An adjacent parking lot makes it simple to get to Highway 61.

When you get there, you'll enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Overlooking the canopy of a dense northern Minnesota forest, this place offers spectacular views.

It's a long way to the ocean, but the forest is a beautiful sight.

Fortunately, you can see it all from the Wayswaugoing Bay Overlook.

Let your jaw drop when you see Lake Superior's frigid, turbulent waters above the forest canopy.

If you stand on the overlook, you'll see for miles despite its modest elevation of about 600 feet above sea level.

Check Out the Hollow Rock

Scenic view of Hollow Rock
TammiMild / Shutterstock.com

To the northeast of Grand Marais in Cook County, Minnesota, you'll find Hollow Rock.

It's near Grand Portage, a town of around 2,000 people.

You can find this natural marvel on an arching rock structure off the coast of Lake Superior.

Decades of erosion from the ocean's relentless pounding left the arch in its wake.

Silhouette of Hollow Rock during sunset
Nature's Charm / Shutterstock.com

Regardless of the season, photographers flock to this location.

The Hollow Rock Resort provides easy access to this natural icon.

Discover History at Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center

Exterior of Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

In 2007, the community of Grand Portage inaugurated the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center.

It honors the history, people, and culture of the region.

The structure houses galleries dedicated to the history of the Ojibwe people and the fur trade.

You can always visit Heritage Center and its paths since they are open year-round.

Likewise, you can access the historic depot with the Great Hall, kitchen, and canoe warehouse from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

The Ojibwe Village is open year-round.

Together with the Grand Portage Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, the National Park Service built this visitor's center.

Check out the views of the recently renovated fur trade post from here.

Cruise along Minnesota State Highway 61

Highway 61 beckons you whether you're looking for a brief getaway or a multi-day road trip across the country.

The North Shore of Lake Superior's unspoiled beauty, unforgettable memories, fun times, excellent cuisine, magnificent accommodations, and casino excitement await you on your cruise.

Lakeside fire pits, an indoor pool, and a relaxing lounge await you after a day of biking throughout the area.

One end of Highway 61 ends up at Grand Portage, which you should visit on your next trip.

These are the best options if you're looking for a break from the city.

Ask about their group rates on motorcycles.

Enjoy the Snow at Grand Portage Snowmobile Trail

Don't let the snow keep you away from one of Minnesota's most gorgeous places.

Over 100 miles of well-groomed snowmobile tracks allow riders to enjoy the trails, animals, nature, and breathtaking scenery.

This trail is an ideal destination for those who like snowmobiling.

The same paths are lovely to hike in the spring, summer, and autumn, each offering a unique perspective on the region's natural splendor.

You can also enjoy snowmobile group packages.

Trail authorities organize an annual Snowmobile Poker Run with the help of surrounding lodges in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail.

Every week during the snowmobiling season, they update their site's latest snowmobile trail conditions.

Go on a Cruise with Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation Lines

The Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation Lines provides water transportation.

It serves as access to Michigan's Isle Royale National Park.

This transportation service features two boats, allowing it to provide a wide range of travel choices plus drop-off and pick-up sites across the island.

Passengers on day visits to the island will enjoy the short distance and quick travel times.

On the tours, tourists will have an opportunity to see the Spirit Little Cedar Tree.

This tree is a white cedar almost 400 years old.

Likewise, guests can also see the wreck of a 182-foot steamer America after a shallow water disaster.

Test Your Luck at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

Signage of Grand Portage Lodge and Casino
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Find the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino off State Highway 61.

You can play over 450 video, multi-game, and multi-line slot machines in the casino's 15,000-square-foot gaming area.

Visitors may also test their luck at the casino's table games, such as Blackjack and Progressive Three Card Poker.

Guests may relax in the Antlers Lounge before traveling to the Island View restaurant for a succulent steak.

Enjoy the lodge's amenities like the lodge's state-of-the-art fitness center, glistening pool, and relaxing sauna while staying at the property.

Celebrate the Grand Portage Pow Wow

People gathered during Grand Portage Pow Wow
Wpwatchdog, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dancing, singing, and family celebration highlight the Grand Portage Pow Wow.

The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sponsors this cultural event.

Check out the food, music, and artisan stalls during the annual Pow Wow.

The opening parade features hundreds of dancers.

Staff bearers in traditional garb lead the pow wow dancers to the arena.

During the pow wow, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a unique taste of Native American culture.

The Pow-Wow Grand Entry includes talks and activities at the Depot.

The Grand Entry and other Pow-Wow activities are open to the public.

Grab Your Supplies from Grand Portage Trading Post

The Grand Portage Trading Post is a throwback to the days of primitive businesses that served loggers and trappers.

As Grand Portage's only local grocery store, they do an excellent job of stocking up on everything you could need without having to leave town.

There's a post office, money exchange, and even a little casino.

You can also fill your belly with pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, and egg rolls.

Likewise, you'll find toilets, a petrol station, and the usual convenience store goodies at this location.

Final Thoughts

Grand Portage is a great place to visit for those who like the great outdoors.

Don’t overlook this place when planning your North Shores getaway.

Book your Grand Portage trip today!

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