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

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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. 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) though 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.

Our visit of this waterfall 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. 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, especially since we were talking about roughly 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.


The way we visited this waterfall 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. 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.

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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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