Grand Portage State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
Ernest Hemingway nicknamed it “The Big Wild.” The undeveloped tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead is noted for its thundering waterfalls, wilderness lakes, and forests. Moose, bear, timber wolves and deer have plenty of elbowroom. Grand Portage State Park is located 42 miles northeast of Grand Marais just off the North Shore Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Cook County.
Up until the early 1990s, the highest, most dramatic waterfall in the state, on the Pigeon River, which forms the U.S. Canadian border, was inaccessible to the general public. Now, the 120-foot Pigeon Falls, known locally as High Falls, is the focal point of the 291-acre Grand Portage State Park.
Pigeon Falls commands your attention. From the park overlooks, you can watch the racing river split into two torrents behind a rock wall on the edge of the precipice. As the water hurtles to the bottom of the rocky gorge, its formidable voice overpowers the other sounds of the aspen and birch forest along the Pigeon River.
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