|Distance||1 mile roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
- Unofficially the highest waterfall in Minnesota
- Perfect stop on a journey to or from Canada
- See rainbows in the mist on sunny days
This state park is a MUST SEE for anyone driving between the U.S. and Canada on Highway 61. At only one mile roundtrip, this stop should take under an hour including any bathroom breaks or visits to the gift shop. This hike is perfect for the entire family; the trail is flat and paved with one accessible overlook of the falls, making this hike accessible and stroller friendly. Dogs are allowed on leash. This is quite a popular stop, especially on holidays and weekends, but there is a short (0.1 miles), unpaved side trail on the right side that takes you to the river for a momentary escape from the crowd of the main trail. There also are a few benches scattered on the side of the trail if you get tired.
The High Falls may technically be the tallest waterfall in Minnesota, but it has never been officially measured. The waterfall also straddles the U.S.-Canadian border (the highest waterfall entirely within Minnesota is the High Falls at Tettegouche State Park, another excellent hike that you probably passed on your way here). Superlatives aside, this waterfall and the other waterfalls and rapids nearby made the Pidgeon River unnavigable. As a result, the 8.5 mile "Grand Portage" trail was developed to connect Lake Superior with northern and western Canada -- visit Grand Portage National Monument to hike the original trail.
Grand Portage State Park is also unique in that the State of Minnesota does not own the land, but rather leases it from the Grand Portage Chippewa Indians. Long before the voyageurs and other European settlers arrived, native people used the Grand Portage route, called Gitche Onigaming -- "great carrying place" -- in Ojibwe. Several signs along the trail celebrate the native heritage of the area and explain how the native people lived with the seasons.
After seeing the waterfall and stretching your legs, you will not regret this short stop. If you hunger for more intense hiking, check out the Middle Falls Loop. Happy hiking!
From Duluth, Minnesota take Minnesota Highway 61 north towards the Canadian Border. Look for the sign for Grand Portage State Park just before the border crossing, then turn left into the parking lot.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Unlike other Minnesota State Parks, there is no vehicle fee! This park functions as a highway rest area, so there is a picnic area, travel information center, and flush toilets near the large, paved lot.