High Falls Trail

Grand Portage State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Monday, July 3rd, 2017
Last Updated: Thursday, December 12th, 2019
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★★(5/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 1 mile roundtrip
Time 30 minutes
Terrain A few hills
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible Yes


Hike Summary

Grand Portage State Park is a MUST SEE for anyone driving between the U.S. and Canada on Highway 61. 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, so it may not count as Minnesota's highest waterfall for everyone (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).

At only one mile roundtrip, this stop should take under an hour including any bathroom breaks or visits to the gift shop. The trail is wide, paved, and wheelchair accessible. Signs along the trail celebrate the native heritage of the park (fun fact: Grand Portage State Park is unique in that the State of Minnesota does not own the land, but rather leases it from the Grand Portage Chippewa Indians) and explain how the native people lived with the seasons. At the end of the trail, a large wooden viewing deck provides the view you've been waiting for (pictured below).

The main event at Grand Portage State Park: High Falls

The main event at Grand Portage State Park: High Falls

This waterfall and the other waterfalls and rapids nearby made the Pidgeon River unnavigable. Long before the voyageurs and other European settlers arrived, native people refered to this area as Gitche Onigaming -- "great carrying place" in Ojibwe. Later, the voyageurs built the 8.5 mile "Grand Portage" trail following the original native route, connecting Lake Superior with northern and western Canada -- visit Grand Portage National Monument to hike the original trail.

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!

Important Information

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.


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.

Nearby Hikes

The reward for your adventure through the woods: Middle Falls
Middle Falls Loop
Grand Portage State Park, Minnesota
The second highest waterfall in Ontario: Kakabeka Falls
Kakabeka Falls Boardwalk and Mountain Portage Trail
Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, Ontario
The small lake beneath the observation platform is quite pretty
Moose Viewing Trail
Superior National Forest, Minnesota
Just one of the views from Honeymoon Bluff
Honeymoon Bluff
Superior National Forest, Minnesota

External Links