Backcountry camping at Grand Portage National Monument
The Grand Portage is a nearly nine mile portage/trail that connects Lake Superior to the Pigeon River over land. The hilly, rocky, rutty route challenges even experienced hikers. When making your camping plans please take into consideration your group’s physical condition and experience. Know your limits.
Camping at Grand Portage National Monument is limited to two campsites at Fort Charlotte.
Campsites are equipped with tent pads and must be used to protect the delicate topsoil at Fort Charlotte.
A free backcountry permit is required for all camping at Fort Charlotte.
Campsites are limited to nine people.
- Call Park Headquarters for availability and to request the Fort Charlotte Backcountry Permit Application. Applications can be submitted by e-mail or USPS Mail. Approved permits will be sent via e-mail or USPS Mail.
Make camping reservations well ahead of time, Fort Charlotte is becoming a popular destination. Allow two weeks for permit processing.
- Applications for camping permits can be submitted any time of year.
How to Apply for a Backcountry Permit
- Complete all fields on the Fort Charlotte Backcountry Permit Application.
- Save the form on your Desktop or other file on your computer
- Attach it in to an E-mail and send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- USPS Mail request can be sent to - Grand Portage National Monument, Backcountry Permits, P.O. Box 426, Grand Portage, MN 55605.
- For further information about camping, view our Camping Information page.
- Thank you for your cooperation and efforts to help preserve and protect our park for present and future generations of canoeists, backpackers, and hikers.
A backcountry permit is required for:
- Overnight camping at Fort Charlottet
A backcountry permit is NOT required for:
- day hikes (this includes nighttime "day" hikes)
Rules - Best Practices
- Backcountry travelers must have their permit in their possession while in the backcountry.
- Once camp is established, the permit must be attached to a pack, tent, or other equipment in plain view so it can be easily checked by rangers. A plastic zip-lock style bag will keep your permit dry.
- Permits are valid only for the trip leader, itinerary, number of people, and dates specified on the permit.
- Permits for all overnight backcountry use must be obtained through Grand Portage National Monument.
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- Current Hydrograph
- The USGS provides a duration hydrograph that is very useful for forecasting paddling conditions on the Pigeon River from South Fowl Lake to Ft. Charlotte.
- After examining the current hydrogaph (be sure to select the right year) you should note that very difficult paddling conditions can be expected at 100 cfs (cubic feet per second) and below.
- At this low water stage, you can expect exposed rocks in the river channel- especially where the English portage used to be located.
- The English portage is likely little used today as there is typically more than sufficient water to float through this section of river.
- Very good paddling conditions can be expected at 500 cfs. Conditions for paddling become more complex and difficult as discharge increases above 500 cfs.