Explore the most popular historic site trails in Minnesota with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The bridge is out near Jab Farm. We hiked 4+ miles in the snow only to have to turn around and double back so close to the end. Made for an unexpected long day. Crossing the river in the winter would have been a bad idea. This information should be posted at the trailhead. The trail itself is nice and the area is remote and lovely.

7 months ago

Very easy trail, with quite a lot of traffic. Completely worth it to see (and wade in) the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

It was a cold day for me but it's a easy walk. Great views of the structures and a waterfall. Grab a little brochure that tells you a bit about each stop. Great for historical learning.

Easy hike, interesting geology and history. Didn’t spend a whole lot of time as it was 13 degree wind chill!

When you visit the Grand Portage National Monument you'll notice a signpost just behind the fort for the "Grand Portage" itself. This is the beginning of the actual portage the fur traders used to transport their canoes and goods between Lake Superior and the old Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River that is the border between the US and Canada.

The portage is 8.5 miles and for those willing to walk in the shoes (or moccasins) of the ancient explorers this is a nice day hike in and back from the fort at Grand Portage to the old Fort Charlotte site and back.

The hike starting at the Lake Superior fort and back will take approximately 7 hours, so its a full day hike, but if you want to make it shorter you can start at the portage crossover point on either Old Highway 61 or Cowboys Road. This will cut the hiking time considerably without losing any of the scenery or historical perspective of what the explorers went through.

The trail itself is quite wide and very well maintained. I hiked it a few days after a half inch rain and during a rain storm, so the path was quite muddy. This trail does not handle rain well so you won't enjoy this hike unless its dry, but when dry you can move quickly and easily. The footing is good and there are very few steep areas. You will not find vista views, but the forest, marsh and wildlife is abundant. I didn't see any moose, but there were a lot of footprints on the trail and the grouse were everywhere.

Once you get to the old Fort Charlotte site there are picnic tables, tent platforms and a nice canoe landing for the Pigeon River. This is a great place for lunch or a snack to take in the history and sounds of this ancient trail. I was welcomed by a group of swans that took flight when I arrived. The parks service also has a set of informative signs that take about the fort, the portage and it;s history.

I applaud the park service for keeping this trail in excellent shape. There were several places that you could see the work being done on maintaining the trail adding or fixing walkways and building steps. You really get the sense that this portage must have been extremely difficult when carrying long and large canoes and heavy packs. I hiked this in September and there were really no bugs to deal with, but I can image that bugs could be oppressive during the summer and certainly a few hundred years ago for the voyagers.

I'd recommend this hike for it's historic significance. This has been an active trail and trade routes for several hundred years or more. It's a good hike to add in with a hike to Eagle Mountain or if you're hiking sections of the Superior Hiking Trail, and if you don't want to do the whole Grand Portage start at Old Highway 61 or Cowboy Rd.

Super busy in August but worth the trip! Dog friendly too

Very beautiful trail. There is a fee of $7 per person.

Super easy trail walking with beautiful views!!

Nice views. Easy terrain.

So cool to see where the Mississippi River starts. We went at sunset, so it was not too busy, but still quite a few people.

Quite easy trail

Beautiful trail system

Monday, April 10, 2017

was great except for the trail being closed 3/4's of the way through the hike and having to back track

Saturday, April 08, 2017

It's was a good little walk! It's paved sidewalks, very kid friendly! I would suggest doing it in the fall, when the leaves are changing colors!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beautiful day on nice trails. It is a wildlife reserve with hunting in the area.

on Mazomani Trail

Thursday, June 30, 2016

hay Linda !! we doubled back the 4 miles !! Made for a nice long hike that day ..But now I want to make the crossing

this is one of my favorites!!! lots of historic sites, not to mention if you go off trail just a bit there is GREAT easy rock climbing!!! I always feel like a kid again climbing around....

Saturday, March 26, 2016

It was a beautiful hike. However, once past the homestead we needed to cross the river to return to the beginning of the trail, we encountered an unexpected challenge. There is no bridge. We could back track the 4+ miles or wade through the rapid to get to the other side. We crossed the river. It was exciting and fun. But I could skip the wet shoes, socks and pant legs afterward. Once we reached the other side we found the closed trail sign. I'm still glad we did it.

Monday, July 13, 2015

This is one of my favorite hiking spots close to the Twin Cities. It feels more remote in many spots than other spots close to the Twin Cities. Highly recommended for a couple of hours of on the trail.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Went here today with the family and dog. Spent about 6 hours hiking most of the loops and checked out the farmstead, shelter, campsites, etc. One of the sections was closed due to flooding but was overall a great time. PLEASE NOTE, the water access / pump they have marked on the trail map near the shelter does NOT work. It is missing the main pump handle and the linkage to the pump shaft so don't plan on filling up with water there.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

New to Minnesota and I absolutely loved finding this place! So beautiful! Even with everything frozen it was beautiful. The ice shelf on the river was amazing! Moderately muddy and slippery in some spots but really nothing bad to say down the five mile loop

Monday, December 15, 2014

I hiked during this warm pre Xmas weekend. Although there were some hunters, I was the only hiker there. The trail was good - not much mud. It's very flat. I looped south and west to the erratic (to shorten the loop I went off trail for about 200 feet) and although it's not on the map, it was easy to find with a cell phone. I looped back to Jab's farm and across the levee. Anytime I can get 3 solid hours in with a minimal drive from home (40 min) it's a win for me!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Great trail! Very quiet on a 75 and sunny day. Little muddy in some areas but just adds some fun challenges. Great minnesota views along the ridgeline!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I just finished part of this hike. A section of one of the trails was flooded so I was only to do 3 miles instead of the full deal. I'll come back again though. Great scenery despite it being too early for everything to be in full bloom.

on Pipestone National Monument Trail

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Beautiful scenary and definately worth the drive out to check it out. The trail was closed across the waterfall, so that made the trail twice as long by the time we circled back and did the other side.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pipestone National Mon. is a great site to visit to understand our native american heritage. The site has a great visitior center with a superb introductory film, nice indian artifacts. The short paved trail leads to the working pipestone quarry and a neat special scenic area with a waterfall and nice rock formations, and restored prairie. The trails is not fully wheelchair accessible, but, one in a wheel chair can do the trail with some assistance. Well worth the trip. Their is an entry fee, but worth it.

1 month ago

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