Grand Portage National Monument, Grand Portage

#16 of 172 in Museums in Minnesota
Must see · Specialty Museum · Museum
Grand Portage National Monument is a United States National Monument located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota that preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. The area became one of the British Empire's four main fur trading centers in North America, along with Fort Niagara, Fort Detroit, and Michilimackinac.

The Grand Portage is an 8.5-mile (13.7 km) (2720 rod) footpath which bypasses a set of waterfalls and rapids on the last 20 miles (32 km) of the Pigeon River before it flows into Lake Superior. This path is part of the historic trade route of the French-Canadian voyageurs and coureur des bois between their wintering grounds and their depots to the east.

Composed of the Pigeon River and other strategic interior streams, lakes, and portages, this route was of enormous importance in pre-industrial times. It provided quick water access from Canada's settled areas and Atlantic ports to the fur-rich Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory. Some 50 miles (80 km) upstream from Lake Superior, this trade route crosses the Height of Land Portage, on the Northern continental divide, and connects South Lake in the Pigeon River/Great Lakes watershed with North Lake of the Rainy River watershed. Grand Portage therefore was an essential link between the drainage basin of the Nelson River to Hudson Bay and that of the Saint Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Grand Portage National Monument reviews

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  • Wow - this is a must do if you are in the area! Highly recommend hiking up to the lookout (great view of the bay as well as Isle Royale) as well as visiting the historic fort on the shores of Lake...  more »
  • The staff ranger was so helpful and friendly. It is a nice view of Isle Royale as well Lake Superior. This is a very historic site with lovely exhibits. It is free and well worth the stop. Plan....  more »
  • Such a beautiful place! This is a trip we take every year. We spend the weekend at the powwow and we always visit this monument. The people here immerse you in history so that it comes alive. The people who are involved in this all dress in colonial attire. All the tents and the tools they use are all historically correct. This whole monument is built of wood! The kitchen and dinning hall is amazing! The table and chairs were hand made. They also have other areas that show how other things such as canoes were made. The blacksmith is amazing to watch. The gargen area is beautiful. This is a must see place!!
  • Must see! This visitor center was amazing, fun and educational! Both indoor and outdoor viewing opportunities and both are recommended. Start with the video! Awesome Junior Ranger patch upon completion of their packet. Bring a coat and stable shoes for the outside portion. Plan on 2+ hours!

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