• A fall day on Mt. Rose overlooking the historic depot at Grand Portage.

    Grand Portage

    National Monument Minnesota

Things To Do

Bagpipes at Grand Portage

Living history interpreter presenting program, "Bagpipes at Grand Portage."

NPS Photo / Mike Plummer-Steen

There are many things to see and do during a visit to the Monument. How much time do you have?

Things to do if you have:

One or two hours:

  • Start at The Heritage Center: view exhibits about the Grand Portage community with many museum objects, view artifacts from the many archeological investigations since the 1930s watch the films and visit the bookstore (an hour).
  • Visit the Historic Depot: three log buildings (great hall, kitchen, and canoe warehouse), four outside areas (Ojibwe village, voyageur's encampment, dock and historic gardens (European kitchen and Ojibwe three sisters gardens)) and read wayside exhibits around the depot area (One quick hour).

A half day:

Everything you can do in one hour plus:

  • Become a Grand Portage Junior Ranger / voyageur - ask for your booklet from a ranger at the information desk in the Heritage Center or a guide in the great hall, answer the questions by querying living history interpreters around the various sites of the depot, go bock to the Heritage Center to have your answers checked and obtain your junior ranger badge and voyageur contract from the ranger at the information desk (45 minutes to one hour).
  • Hike the Mount Rose Trail (one mile round trip, take a self guided brochure highlighting geology and vegetation at 16 numbered posts along the trail) (One hour).
  • Enjoy picnicking beside Lake Superior in the historic porkeater's camp (voyageur's who paddled from Montreal) also read the wayside exhibits in the picnic area (One hour).
  • Participate in a ranger walk or talk titles could include: (30 minutes to one hour).
    • Saving the Past Through Seeds: The Historic Gardens
    • From Tree to Makuk
    • Building a Birchbark Canoe
    • Historic Bread Baking Demonstrations in the NWCo Kitchens
    • What's Cookin'
    • Why Grand Portage,? Walking Tour
    • "My Grandpa Had One of Those," Historic Tools and Their Uses
    • To the Pacific by Land 1793
    • Native American Lifeways
    • Bindagodiwin: The Ojibwe/Dakota Conflict
    • Bagpipes at Grand Portage
    • The Art and Craft in Ojibwe Technologies
    • Portage into the Wilderness: Walk along the Grand Portage

View films shown in the Heritage Center:

  • Rendezvous With History: A Grand Portage Story - Running time is 23 minutes
  • Film Shorts: "Our Home: The Grand Portage Ojibwe," "The Gift of the Birch Bark Canoe," "A Gap in the Hills: Geography of Grand Portage," and "The Men of the North West Company" - Running time for all four is 24 minutes.
  • Northwest Passage - Running time is 10 minutes.
  • The Voyageur - 20 minutes.

A day:

Everything you can do in a half day plus:

  • Hike the Grand Portage footpath from the depot to new Highway 61 (1 1/2 mile round trip - about one hour).

More than a day:

Everything you can do in a day plus:

  • Hike the Grand Portage footpath from the stockade to Old Highway 61 (eight miles round trip - three to four hours).
  • Hike the Grand Portage from Old Highway 61 to Fort Charlotte (nine miles round trip - six to eight hours).
  • Hike the entire Grand Portage footpath from the stockade on Lake Superior to Fort Charlotte and back (17 miles round trip eight to 16 hours).
  • Camp overnight at Fort Charlotte - obtain your backcountry permit during regular business hours from the Heritage Center or after hours at three registration boxes located at new Highway 61, old Highway 61 or Fort Charlotte depending upon your entrance to the Grand Portage footpath (24 hours plus).
  • Visit Grand Portage State Park - See High Falls, the highest waterfalls in Minnesota - hike to upper and lower Middle Falls.
  • Take an excursion to Isle Royale National Park for a day aboard the Sea Hunter or overnight or longer aboard the Voyageur II.

Did You Know?

Portrait of Alexander Mackenzie - Grand Portage National Monument

Nor’Wester Alexander Mackenzie jumped off from Grand Portage to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793, 13 years before Lewis and Clark crossed the continent.