Grand Portage National Monument was designated as a national historical site on September 15, 1951. After getting congressional approval as a national monumnet in September of 1958, it finally became as national monument on January 27, 1960. The monument is located in northeastern Minnesota's "Tip of the Arrowhead" within Grand Portage Indian Reservation Cook County, Minnesota. Grand Portage National Monument is about 150 miles northeast of Duluth, Minnesota and 50 miles southwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior. The historic site is ½ to 1 mile south of the west and east exits from Minnesota State Highway 61 in the village of Grand Portage.
First revealed to French explorers by Cree guides, Kitchi Onigaming the Great Carrying Place or Grand Portage footpath became the main entry point of European trade with Native peoples into British Canada. To efficiently move the cargos, successful traders adapted Indian technologies: birchbark canoes, snowshoes, toboggans and sled dogs.
Today, Grand Portage National Monument includes the archeological remains with several reconstructed fur trade era buildings inside a stockade of the supply depot on Lake Superior, the site of Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River nine miles west, and the Grand Portage footpath connecting the two posts. Grand Portage continues to be home place for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, of tribal and family history and cultural persistence.
Weather conditions change frequently, due to the site's location on the north shore of Lake Superior. Cool onshore lake breezes are common in spring, summer and fall along with an occasional shower. Summer inland temperatures can reach into the 80's and 90's but are usually 10 to 15 degrees cooler by Lake Superior. Winter weather can be very cold and windy, with consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures, followed by calm sunny moderate temperatures in the 20's and 30's.
Monument grounds, trails and the Grand Portage are open year-round. The reconstructed stockade and buildings are open late-May to early-October, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the winter, the Grand Portage is available for snowshoeing and cross country skiing but closed to motorized vehicles such as snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles. The Grand Portage is also closed to horses and mountain bicycles.