Minnesota April 15, 2018
This Hike Takes You To A Place Minnesota’s First Residents Left Behind
Though Minnesota has officially been a state since since 1854, its history extends far back in time. Across thousands of years, humans have walked, hunted, and lived in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And if you look closely, you can still see evidence of Minnesota’s first residents and all that they left behind. Read on to learn about one place where Minnesota’s early human history is most evident.
Grand Portage State Park is located more than five hours from the Twin Cities. It is 300 miles north, right on the Canadian border.
This area is full of history. The buildings date back to the 1700s and 1800s, when trade among European explorers prospered.
But Native Americans lived in the area long before Europeans arrived. They often crossed the area using a nearly 9-mile trail now called the Grand Portage Trail.
The trail bypassed what is now what the park is best known for: the High Falls of the Pigeon River, the 120-foot waterfall that is the tallest in Minnesota.
It made it possible to trade, hunt, and travel through the area's rough terrain. Despite being "discovered" by European traders and explorers in the 17th century, it had been used by Native Americans for centuries before that.
Today, you can still hike the historic Grand Portage Trail. The well-maintained trail goes from Fort Charlotte to Lake Superior - or vise versa - and will give you an idea of what early Minnesotans went through.
But if you're not up for a strenuous hike - the Grand Portage Trail takes about a day - you can stick to the paved boardwalk leading to the High Falls.
A walk down its 3/4-mile expanse will help put you in touch with the sights early people witnessed as they traveled through the area. It will give you a deeper appreciation of their strenuous 9-mile voyage, and of the rugged trail they left behind.
Have you ever hiked the Grand Portage Trail, or any of the other trails at Grand Portage State Park? Let us know in the comments. And if you’re interested in more historic trails in Minnesota, check out
the hidden trail that leads to a magnificent archaeological treasure.