Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pigeon River Valley Overlook - Middle Falls Trail

Looking for a great fall hike?  Check out the Middle Falls Trail at Grand Portage State Park.  It's an adventurous 5 mile round-trip hike that crosses a variety of terrain.  The first half-mile of the trail is paved and brings you to High Falls of the Pigeon River, Minnesota's tallest waterfall.  Backtrack from High Falls just a short distance and you'll see the fork in the trail heading off to Middle Falls.  

The Middle Falls Trail is a more rugged trail, with lots of rocks and tree roots to step around.  The trail begins climbing almost immediately and before long you are at the top of a ridge that overlooks Lake Superior and the Pigeon River Valley.  This is the high point in elevation on the trail.  You are about 300 to 350 feet higher in elevation than you were at the start of the hike.  The view shown in this photo is the overlook from the top of the ridge, which is a short spur off the main trail.  

After taking in the overlook view, head back to the main trail and you'll almost immediately descend towards the river. You'll hear the river, but you won't see it until you get to Middle Falls.  Many varieties of trees line the trail including pine, cedar, maple, birch and aspen.  The Middle Falls area is definitely worth the hike, as the trail follows along the river for about a 1/4 mile and provides several nice views of the river.  The real treat is standing right at the top edge of Middle Falls where the river curves right towards you then away as it plunges over the edge and down into a large pool below.  If you haven't done this trail before, I strongly urge you to do so!  It's also a nice hike if you're looking for solitude, as it is one of the lesser-traveled trails along the north shore.  

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