quick stop before the Canadian border
Grand Portage Travel Blog› entry 4 of 18 › view all entries
We stopped at a couple of waysides between Cascade River State Park and Grand Portage State Park. Both waysides had great views of Lake Superior and rocks. Our first official stop was at Grand Portage State Park on the United States/Canadian border to see the Pigeon River Falls. The entrance to the park was a few hundred feet from the border crossing. The park name comes in reference to early Native Americans and fur traders that had to make a 30 mile portage around several sets of cascades and waterfalls to get from Lake Superior inland.
The park was under construction so there was no visitor center open and no maps except one posted. I led my mom through a picnic area and over to a sign that talked about the park and which country owned the land.
Pigeon Falls is the highest waterfall in Minnesota, at 120 ft, except technically it is shared with Ontario, as the border runs right through the middle of the river. The park is also jointly operated by the Minnesota State Parks and the local Native American tribe.
We followed a level, paved path to a boardwalk and finally made it the 0.6 miles to the falls overlooks. The main part of the trail to the first overlook is handicap accessible. There are two overlooks with steps as well. The trail continues another mile or so to view the High Falls, but we didn't take it.
Next stop was the Canadian Border! I haven't crossed the border since passports were required but I made sure we both brought them with us. We had no trouble crossing, even after saying we were only going to spend the day in Thunder Bay.
Pigeon River Provincial Park is located on the Canadian side of the Pigeon River and the parking area is shared with the visitor center. There are trails out to the falls from here, but the trail is longer. After our super long hike yesterday and the hike today, I just didn't feel like hiking out there. There was a geocache I wanted to get along the trail but I was tired and my mom was antsy. We were going to have lunch at Kakabeka Falls and still had a ways to go.