Places To Go

People dressed in historic voyageur clothing on a trail through the forest, carrying heavy bales strapped to their heads.

NPS photo

"Geography, exploration, and economics came together in one place and that explosion opened half a continent."

E. Thompson

For thousands of years, people walked Gichi Onigamiing. Beginning as a game trail and later as a passage in the gentler part of the landscape, this route allowed access to the rest of the continent. When La Vérendrye learned of the path from Cree guide Auchagah, he dreamed of the Northwest Passage. Alexander Mackenzie, passing through Grand Portage, would reach the Pacific Ocean ten years before Lewis and Clark on their Voyage of Discovery. When the world was navigated by water, the Great Carrying Place was firmly in the center of travel. Eight weeks travel by canoe brought a journeyer from here to either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. In as little as one hundred days and no walk or portage longer than ten miles, one could go from salt water to salt water to reach the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, Hudson's Bay, or the Gulf of Mexico from the Grand Portage at the edge of Lake Superior.

The North West Company, using Grand Portage as their key portal, built an enterprise that dominated the economy of the world. In partnership with the Indigenous people, particularly the Anishinaabe of this region, the NWCo. brought furs of this continent to the Old World at a time when the demand for these products was at its peak. By the 1820s, the only remains of this once significant post were depressions in the ground instead of buildings. Come explore the world of the fur trade, the Native trappers, and the colorful voyageurs who made this possible.

A building with many windows on a hill, nestled among fall colored trees.
The Heritage Center is nestled at the base of Mount Rose

NPS photo

Visit the Heritage Center

The Heritage Center (visitor center) is the best place to begin when you arrive at Grand Portage National Monument.


Explore History

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      Hike a Trail

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        Camp at Fort Charlotte's Historic Location

        Basic Information

        Accessibility Information

        Last updated: January 11, 2023

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        Contact Info

        Mailing Address:

        P.O. Box 426
        Grand Portage, MN 55605


        (218) 475-0123

        Contact Us