The eight and half mile long "Grand Portage" was first used around 1765 by English fur traders to bypass several dangerous rapids on the lower Pigeon River. The trail connected Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River with the trade depot and stockade on the shore of Lake Superior that was the headquarters of the fur trade operation of the North West Company.
Grand Portage & Grand Marais Directory
Today, a reconstructed fort (pictured above) rests at the site of the original palisade and forms the nucleus of the Grand Portage National Park. The stockade wall forming the perimeter of the fort and four of the original 16 buildings have been recreated. Costumed interpreters portraying tradesmen and workers recreate the era as they prepare for the annual rendezvous of voyageurs and traders in the Great Hall.
Ambitious backpackers can trek "The Grand Portage" and retrace the footsteps of the "pork eaters" and north men. The Boy Scouts cleared the trail for hiking in the late 1940's and hiking clubs today continue to make improvements. One of the many falls and rapids on the Pigeon River that made the portage necessary is High Falls now preserved as part of the Minnesota Grand Portage State Park.
The Stockade & North West Company Post
Two "employees" of the North West Company begin their work day as the post prepares for the annual rendezvous of traders and voyageurs. You step back in history 200 years as you tour the stockade and talk to the friendly staff as they perform their duties.
A fascinating and educational experience that gives you insight into the role the Boundary Waters played in the exploration and eventual settlement of this region. Operated by the National Park Service. The new Heritage Center has more exhibits on 18th Century life during the Voyageur Era.
A great view of the Grand Portage Bay from the top of Rose Mountain (906 ft elevation). It is about a mile hike round trip. The trail is annotated with 18 points of interest that are explained in the map and guide pamphlet available at the new National Park Heritage Center near the foot of the mountain.
The trail is fairly steep but is paved in many places and several sets of stairs help the ascent . . . while giving your legs a workout!
Donna and Jo counted a total of 170 flights of stairs.
We didn't learn until the next day in Grand Marais that nearby there is a more challenging trail to the top of Mount Josephine (1300 ft elevation). We'll catch that one in a future year.
Spring & Summer Events - Grand Portage, Minnesota
More Visitor Information Links
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2017
Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Lake Superior Circle Tour Route