Pigeon River Cliffs


Area and County

    Cook County
    Northeast Minnesota

Driving Directions

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103 acres


Grand Portage State Forest Map


 Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

N48 2.182, W90 0.721

Hiking Trails

The Border Route Trail passes through this preserve.


Contact NE MN Program Office (218) 727-6119 for more information.

Ecological Classification Province  

Laurentian Mixed Forest

Ecological Classification

Northern Superior Uplands


Border Lakes

Land Type Association(s)

Rove Slate Bedrock Complex

Native Plant Communities1 Not mapped (2/2/2018)
Natural Features

Rove Slate Hills


The Nature Conservancy logo


The Nature Conservancy


Getting There
Park at the end of South Fowl Road. Follow the narrow, unimproved road north 0.3 miles (540 yards) to the Border Route Trail. The road continues north to South Fowl Lake and is heavily used by OHVs. The trail crossing is easy to miss. It is unmarked and, depending on the time of year, overgrown. Look for a blaze in the form of two pieces of surveyor’s tape, one blue and one pink, hanging from a branch of a quaking aspen sapling on the east side of the road. See the map for the GPS coordinates of this trail crossing.

Border Route Trail/North Country Trail
The Border Route Trail is flagged with blue, sometimes pink, surveyor’s tape. In a few places there is a pile of stones (cairn) marking the trail. Visitors are asked to stay on the trail to avoid trampling endangered plant species. The North Country Trail has been routed onto the Border Route Trail for 65 miles.

State Forest
This site lies within the Grand Portage State Forest.









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The Approach


  Pigeon River Cliffs    

Trail Blazes and Cairns

  Pigeon River Cliffs   Pigeon River Cliffs

The Preserve

  Pigeon River Cliffs   Pigeon River Cliffs
  Pigeon River Cliffs   Pigeon River Cliffs

South Fowl Lake

  Pigeon River Cliffs    









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Visitor Observations

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One bird species with conservation status in Minnesota and one tracked species have been seen here:


Special concern

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)



Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Black-capped Chickadee

Fungi and Lichens

Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)

Cavern Beard Lichen (Usnea cavernosa)

Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum)

Black Knot

Insects and Arachnids

white admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)

white admiral


Two mammal species with conservation status in Minnesota and one tracked species have been seen here:



gray wolf (Canis lupus)


Special concern

Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

moose (Alces americanus)


American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

American red squirrel


Nine plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:



rough-fruited fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa)

sticky locoweed (Oxytropis borealis var. viscida)



Franklin’s phacelia (Phacelia franklinii)

large-leaved sandwort (Moehringia macrophylla)

Laurent’s cliff fern (Woodsia scopulina ssp. laurentiana)

Ross’ sedge (Carex rossii)


Special concern

blunt-fruited sweet cicely (Osmorhiza depauperata)

rock whitlow-grass (Draba arabisans)

White Mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga paniculata)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Plant List


balsam fir


common mullein

common strawberry

common yarrow

prickly rose

spreading dogbane

veiny pea




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