Grand Portage is a tiny part of Minnesota right along the border with Canada. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in history and beauty. It also makes it easy to explore all of the sites in one day! Grand Portage has only one restaurant and one hotel, both of which are located in the casino. We drove all the way up to Grand Portage after stopping for dinner in Grand Marais and spent the night at the casino. This made it easy to get an early start on the day of exploring! Keep reading for what to do on your day in Grand Portage.
Wake up early and catch the sunrise
Explore Grand Portage National Monument
Grand Portage is a site of historical significance due to it’s strategic location for the fur trade. Fur traders would bring their furs from the interior of Canada, down the shores of Lake Superior to Grand Portage. Long before the fur trade started, this was also a place of significance for the Native American tribes in the area. Since the entirety of the monument is on the Ojibwa reservation, the national monument focuses on the lives of both the the fur traders and the Ojibwa in the late 1700’s.
The heritage depot is only open in the summer from the end of May to beginning of October. This was the best part so be sure to plan your trip accordingly!
Hike Mount Rose trail
I will warn you that this is a steep hike in certain sections with lots of stairs. However, it’s not very long and the views from the top are totally worth it!
See Minnesota’s tallest waterfall – High Falls
The falls of the Pigeon river plunge 120 feet and are the reason why the Native Americans created the 9-mile portage to bypass it. The hike to the falls is very flat and quite short so you don’t have any excuse to miss it! The falls are located in Grand Portage State Park which is in a different area from the National Monument. You can also wave to Canada from here as the Pigeon river is the border between Minnesota and are neighbors to the north 🙂
Take in the beauty of Judge C.R. Magney State Park
Make sure to leave enough time in your day to explore the Judge C.R. Magney state park as it’s a real gem! The park was named after Judge Clarence Magney who a champion for wilderness preservation and was instrumental establishing many state parks in his beloved north shore. Check out the Devil’s Kettle waterfall on the most popular hike in the park or just watch the fishermen catching rainbow trout in the Brule river.
Have dinner at Naniboujou Lodge
Started in 1927 as an exclusive club, the Naniboujou Lodge is definitely worth a stop. I would highly recommend the French onion soup!
On your way home, spend some time in Grand Marais
On our second night, we spent in a lovely B&B in Grand Marais called MacArthur House. I would definitely recommend spending the night there! Great hosts, cozy room, and delicious breakfast in the morning made for a wonderful stay. Check out my previous North Shore posts here, here and here for what else you can get up to!
We ran into some crazy fog too!
I hope you enjoyed the day in Grand Portage! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or anything to add.