State & National Parks in Cook County

National and State Parks in Northeastern Minnesota

“Hidden gems” is an apt way to describe the four MN State Parks in Cook County. Each of these wild and beautiful places to visit in Minnesota has its own allure. Marvel at Minnesota’s tallest waterfall, climb an anorthosite dome and peer into the mysterious Devil’s Kettle — all without the big crowds of some other North Shore parks.

Discover Our Best-Hidden Gems, the Minnesota State Parks and National Monument

  • Cascade River State Park
  • Judge C.R. Magney State Park
    • Where it is: 14 miles northeast of Grand Marais on Highway 61.
    • What to do: Hike 2.5 miles (round-trip) beside the Brule River to see the Devil’s Kettle — an enormous hole in the rock that some say is bottomless.
      Official Judge C.R. Magney State Park website.
  • Grand Portage State Park
    • Where it is: 36 miles north of Grand Marais on Highway 61, just before the Canadian border.
    • What to do: Marvel at High Falls—at 120 feet, the highest waterfall in Minnesota. You can reach the falls with an easy half-mile stroll on the barrier-free/handicapped-accessible boardwalk.
      Official Grand Portage State Park website.
  • Grand Portage National Monument
    • Where it is: 34 miles northeast of Grand Marais in town of Grand Portage.
    • What to do: Travel into the past by exploring the Heritage Center and the Historic Depot (Great Hall, kitchen, canoe warehouse, Voyageurs Encampment, Ojibwe Village, and historic gardens).Hike the steep but short Mount Rose Trail for an incredible view of the Grand Portage Bay, the fur trader’s fort, and on a clear day – distant views of Isle Royale National Park. Attend the Grand Portage Rendezvous Days and Powwow held annually the second weekend in August where history comes to life.
      Official Grand Portage National Monument website.
  • Isle Royale National Park
    • Where it is: Michigan, technically. Isle Royale National Park is an archipelago in Lake Superior that comprises one main island and hundreds of smaller islands. The park is about 22 miles from Grand Portage.
    • What to do: Take a day trip or overnight journey and go fishing, kayaking, hiking, boating, birding and more.
      Explore historic sites, including lighthouses, copper mining sites, and shipwrecks.How to get to Isle Royale National Park: Boat service runs from Grand Portage from spring through early fall. Learn more about access: Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Line.
      Official Isle Royale National Park website.
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
    • Where it is: Many opportunities to access sections of the trail from seven states.
    • What to do: Take a Hike! Pick a distance, select a section and put on your hiking boots. You can hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail, Kekekabic or Border Route Trail individually or all together.
      Official North Country National Hiking Trail website.

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