What to See and Do Near Grand Portage Lodge and Casino

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Logo Overtop A Waterfall on Right and a Lakeview on Left

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino is a phenomenal place to game and lodge.

But what if you’re looking to unleash the explorer in you?

Hey, when you’re in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes and even a few illustrious state parks, the thirst to explore one of America’s most scenic states will take center stage. And when you look at today’s post, you’ll discover that all eight cool sights close to this casino are nature-based.

So if you thirst for nature, be sure to set aside a few days to explore one of America’s finest natural settings. Even if you didn’t win in the casino, the mind, body, and soul will win after a visit to even a few of the natural sights listed below.

Oh, and plenty of what you’ll find made the list of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2020 Award.

Let’s take a tour.

1 – Grand Portage National Monument

We’ll begin the tour outside Grand Portage Lodge & Casino at the Grand Portage National Monument. Out of 323 reviews on TripAdvisor at the time of today’s writing in February 2021, this location has maintained its stellar 5-star rating.

The place has quite a history, but its claim to national fame came in 1951 when after several years of dormancy, it reopened as Grand Portage National Historic Site. In 1958, they designated the spot as a national monument.

This is a great place if you’re looking for a history lesson regarding the fur trade in the early nineteenth century. They host plenty of exhibits reconstructed to replicate the time and paint a real picture of what life was like for fur traders.

Plus, if the trip to Grand Portage Lodge & Casino is your primary draw to the area, a trip to the Grand Portage National Monument won’t take much time out of your day.

Plenty of reviewers stated they either went to the casino or hiking and still found time to fit in such an interesting historical tale.

2 – High Falls

High Falls is another location that has garnered a perfect, 5-star rating out of 160 reviews. Again, as of February 2021. At High Falls, you’ll discover Minnesota’s largest 120-foot waterfall raging into the river below.

Along with the falls, epic forested scenery flanks the area in all four directions. Whether you’re in the area during the spring and summer, or if you’re here during the winter, you’re in for a sight to see. Also, if you’re here during different seasons, be sure to make return trips.

The frozen falls in winter are just as breathtaking as what you’ll find during the warm summer weather. Capture a few photos, and don’t forget to point your camera toward the treetops rising about the falls for a fantastical scene.

3 – Grand Portage State Park

As mentioned in the intro, Grand Portage State Park is yet another recipient of the Traveler’s Choice 2020 Award. And if you’re already at High Falls, you’re in the park. This section just tells you of a few recreational activities you can indulge in during your time here.

The Ojibwe Tribe manages the park, and as you already know, houses the largest waterfalls in Minnesota. You’ll find the park just south of the Canadian border in the extreme northeast portion of the state as far as you can go without crossing into Canada.

Grand Portage State Park Waterfall

It’s a great place for a hike, picnicking, and especially sightseeing. Along with the falls, you’ll find overlooks that stretch into Canada and Lake Superior. It’s a real treat for you or anyone in your travel group looking for outdoor recreation.

4 – Pigeon River

Pigeon River is the place to be if you’re looking for challenging hikes. And best yet, you’re in the area if you’re planning on heading to the previous two attractions. Yes, lots of attractions within this little area that one section alone cannot cover.

If you’re an avid hiker, however, Pigeon River guarantees the toughest hike or your life. Yeah, so if you just finished playing a few challenging table games at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, it’s time to up the ante with a hike.

One of their hikes involves a trail so steep that in some spots, reviewers have noted that you’ll climb a good 300 feet. Vertically. Devil’s Kettle is another good trail. But they warn you not to try multiple trails on the same day unless you’re an experienced hiker.

Along with the climbs, the trails along the Pigeon River include a plethora of slippery and loose rocks. Along with jagged terrain. Hiking is not recommended for children or anyone with little to no hiking experience. The chances are that if you hike the area, it was a draw in the first place.

5 – Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation Lines

Alright, the Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation Lines, like the trails on Pigeon River, is not for the faint-hearted. Weather will be an issue here, as you’re crossing Lake Superior. But, if the lake is calm that day, you’re in for quite an adventure.

So if you’re willing to take the risk of a loud and somewhat turbulent voyage on the lake, you’re in for a fantastic view of the Minnesota scenery from a different angle. Reviewers have said it’s more than worth taking the time to take part in.

But if you’re sensitive to loud noises, be sure to bring earplugs or at least earbuds. They also provide pills for motion sickness. So if you’re easily seasick, don’t sweat.

6 – Grand Portage State Forest

The State Forest is also in Grand Portage State Park, Pigeon River, and the High Falls. So once again, you got another plethora of activities if you’re already in the area, whether it’s summer or winter.

You’ll find it just northwest of Lake Superior, and they offer even more hiking options, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and dog sledding in the winter, and so much more. It’s the perfect place to further engross yourself in the Minnesota scenery, along with what we have covered so far.

And if you love winter sports, it gives you even more of a reason to frequent during the coldest months of the year.

7 – Points Unknown

Looking to meet a few snow dogs?

Points Unknown is where it’s happening. Come over, interact with Minnesota’s highly trained huskies, and catch a taste of a dog musher in Minnesota’s north woods. It’s a great place to learn a few new things and socialize with the animals.

It’s also a great place for recreational activities, as with the sections above this one. Especially in the winter, if you’re into skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and other fun winter activities.

Points Unknown Dog Based Adventure Sign With Dogsled Teams Behind It

Oh, and as with many of the above subheadings, you’ll also find plenty of hiking space here too. Many who have come to Points Unknown have noted the place to be a grand stop for a winter hike.

If hiking in a world of white isn’t something you’ve tried yet, be sure to head on over and experience it.

So come on out, learn how to dog mush, glimpse their lifestyle, and immerse yourself in a few fun, winter-based sports. Odds are, you’ll have a blast. Perhaps even as much fun as winning the jackpot at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino.

8 – Pigeon River Provincial Park

You’ll find Pigeon River Provincial Park across the border in Thunder Bay, Canada. And yes, it’s close to the other fine attractions listed above. So once again, if you’re in the area and you have permission to cross the border, why not visit the park?

Here, you’ll catch a view of the High Falls and Pigeon River from a different angle. And on the Canadian side, you’re right overtop the falls. It’s an epic view that can’t go without a visit unless you don’t have permission to cross the border.

The park also has a few more interesting hiking trails, plus a fair share of interesting structures. Definitely more than worth the trip into Canada.

Some have stated the Provincial Park is very easy to miss whether you’re coming from the Canadian or the American side.

Many have stated that you’ll find the park at the final turn before customs, regardless of what side you’re coming in on. So don’t miss it and inadvertently drive into the opposite country. And only consider coming in from the American side if you have permission to cross the border.


The best thing about what you’ll find in today’s post is that four of the eight cool places to visit near the casino are in the same area. And all eight have to do with outdoor activities.

So if you read today’s post and know that you’re one for the great outdoors, you have a full vacation ahead of you when you venture out.

A trip to Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, as you can see, should comprise more than just a trip to the casino resort. So be sure to take a few days and lap up all of what the Northern Minnesota wilderness offers.

Have you been to Grand Portage Lodge & Casino? If so, tell us if you visited any of the attractions listed in today’s post. We are looking forward to reading your stories and experiences.