Middle Falls of the Pigeon River

Grand Portage State Park / Pigeon River Provincial Park, Minnesota / Ontario, USA / Canada

About Middle Falls of the Pigeon River


Hiking Distance: 1/4-mile round trip; scramble
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2015-09-27
Date last visited: 2015-09-27

Waterfall Latitude: 48.01278
Waterfall Longitude: -89.61604

Middle Falls of the Pigeon River was further upstream of the more famous High Falls of the Pigeon River.

And since this river defined the international boundary between USA and Canada within the immediate area, this was also another one of those lesser known trans-national waterfalls.

Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_004_09272015 - Middle Falls of the Pigeon River
Middle Falls of the Pigeon River

However, the similarities ended there as the Middle Falls was much shorter than the High Falls at 20ft (roughly 100ft shorter than the other one).

That said, it had the potential to be much wider depending on the flow of the Pigeon River itself.

The infrastructure to access this waterfall was also far less developed and more primitive than its more famous neighbor further downstream.

Experiencing the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River

Our visit of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River was pretty much confined to the Canadian side since it was more like a roadside waterfall.

We only needed to do a short scramble to get to the banks of the Pigeon River with the distant view of the falls that you see at the top of this page.

Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_001_09272015 - Roadside barricade that was set up where I did the short scramble to the shores of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side for a frontal look at the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River
Roadside barricade that was set up where I did the short scramble to the shores of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side for a frontal look at the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River

There was a road barricade that hinted to us where to scramble to get down to the river’s banks with some informal pullout shoulders nearby to stop the car (see directions below).

From that same pullout, I also did another short scramble on a trail of use descending to the brink of the waterfall though the view from here was quite obstructed.

It was possible to hike to a different view of this waterfall from the American side on the High Falls trail.

However, we opted not to do the 3.5-mile round trip hike from where it deviated from the main trail and back so we can’t say anything much about it.

All I know from the park literature was that the trail was said to be more primitive with more climbing so it was also not recommended for children.

Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_016_09272015 - Looking down over the brink of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River from the Canadian side
Looking down over the brink of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River from the Canadian side

This was especially since we were talking about roughly an additional 1.5 hours to do this out-and-back detour.

Our visit from the Canadian side pretty much took just 10 minutes.

Despite the short duration, I raised the difficulty from 1 to 1.5 given the scrambling and informal nature of this excursion.

Authorities

The Middle Falls Falls of the Pigeon River resides in Grand Portage State Park on the USA side near Grand Marais in Cook County, Minnesota, and just outside the Pigeon River Provincial Park on the Canada side near Thunder Bay, Ontario. On the USA side, it is jointly administered by the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. On the Canada side, it did not seem to be administered by any formal government authority.

For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the Grand Portage State Park website or the Pigeon River Provincial Park.

Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_002_09272015 - This partial view of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River was seen as I was approaching the final short descent to the banks of the river on the Canadian side
Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_005_09272015 - I noticed some stacked rocks from people who had been here before at the Canadian side of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River
Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_008_09272015 - View of Middle Falls from the banks of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side
Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_012_09272015 - Distant view of the more voluminous segment of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side before returning to the parked car

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The way we visited the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River was from the Canadian side so we’ll describe the directions from Thunder Bay, which was where we had stayed the previous night.

From Thunder Bay, we drove about 34 miles on the Hwy 61 before keeping right to get onto Road 593.

We then followed Road 593 for about 1.4 miles, where we were able to catch a glimpse of the Middle Falls (also referred to as Little Falls according to my map) right off the road.

Middle_Falls_Pigeon_River_013_09272015 - Context of the roadside shoulder along the Road 593 that I stopped at before descending to the banks of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side to experience the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River
Context of the roadside shoulder along the Road 593 that I stopped at before descending to the banks of the Pigeon River on the Canadian side to experience the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River

There was a shoulder to pull over immediately nearby, and we then walked and scrambled from there to get a closer look.

For the American side, the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River shared the same trailhead as that of the High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park.

See the directions on that page for how to get there.

Finally, for geographical context, Duluth, Minnesota was 154 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 189 miles (about 4 hours drive) southwest of Thunder Bay, Canada, and 397 miles (6 hours drive) northwest of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Checking out the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River from the Canadian side from the banks of the river


Checking out the brink of the Middle Falls of the Pigeon River from the Canadian side

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Tagged with: cook county, grand portage, state park, minnesota, usa, pigeon river, provincial park, thunder bay, ontario, canada, waterfall, chippewa, lake superior



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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