The park is characterized by a spectacular river gorge and two
dramatic cataracts: High Falls and Middle Falls.
About 1.1 billion years ago, dark, molten rock from deep within
the earth flowed upwards along cracks in the surface. The flow hardened
as vertical dikes and horizontal sills in the layers of metasedimentary
rock. Withstanding eons of natural erosion, remnants of these diabase
intrusions are visible in cuestas and mesas. At High Falls, the
river has undercut the softer metasedimentary rock beneath the more
resistant diabase caprock.
During the draining of the ancient Lake Superior basin, three
shorelines left their mark on the topography of the park. Lake Duluth
and Lake Beaver Bay represent glacial lake stages about 9,000 years
ago. The lowest shoreline was produced by post-glacial Lake Nipissing
7,000 years ago.
Bur oak, red maple, black ash, and white elm are southern types
of tree that mingle with the predominant species of the boreal forest.
Downy woodpeckers and yellow-shafted flickers are among the birds
that dart through the bush. Large mammals such as moose, white-tailed
deer, black bear, and wolves also inhabit the area, but are seen
less frequently than smaller animals, such as red squirrels and
chipmunks. Several field guides and nature books are available in
the park office for reference.
Throughout much of the 18th century, the Pigeon River was the
preferred route west to the Lake of the Woods and points beyond.
Early in the twentieth century, loggers harvested white and red
pines from the region, using the river as a log drive. A dam, a
sluiceway, and steel deflecting plates on sharp bends in the river
remain as evidence of their presence.
Park Facilities and
The campground at Pigeon River is no longer open but visitors
are welcome to explore the trails in the park.
Location: Near the Minnesota border, just west of Lake Superior;
68 km west of Thunder Bay along Highway 593.
For more information:
Ministry of Natural Resources
435 James Street South, Suite 221d
Thunder Bay, ON