The Witch Tree

The Witch Tree also known as the Little Spirit Cedar Tree, is a gnarled and very old tree growing out of the rocks on the shoreline of Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minnesota.

Round-Trip: 1 km
Difficulty: Easy
Location: Grand Portage, MN

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This tree has been mentioned in written accounts by explorers as early as the 1700s and some say this tree is over 300 years old.  Local Ojibwe holds the tree sacred and leave tobacco offerings in hopes of safe travel on Lake Superior.

Due to its sacred nature and vandalism problems in the past, the tree is off-limits to visitors unless they are accompanied by a local Ojibwe band member.

As a tourist, the best way to visit The Witch Tree go to the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center in Grand Portage to learn about the tree and the local people.

The Witch Tree is located a short drive from the Heritage Center. The trail into the Witch Tree is an easy walk on a wide trail to stairs leading down to an observation deck.

12 thoughts on “The Witch Tree”

  1. @ Tom….If with Cherokee blood you are from the Iroquian tongue and hence from a de facto enemy tribe …the presence of an Ojibwe guide is particularly proper … if you feel not so? then then you may indeed claim to be many things.. but civilized would seem not one of them….

  2. Just wondering of one is part indian what part would that be your toes or maybe your ears. Cherokee are not native to minnesota so that part that is indian should respect the locale tribe or maybe that part is an ass.

  3. One would “need” a guide because they are trying to preserve this tree from vandalism. It’s a worthy sacrifice to make, to go accompanied to see this interesting old specimen. Don’t be such a troublemaker. Being “somebody” doesn’t mean anything. But cooperation with others DOES mean that you have that good character quality. Go with a “guide.” Show respect. THAT makes you “somebody.”

  4. I don’t think I need a guide to go to the witch tree. I am an native American. I was born here. I am part Cherokee. I grew up in Northern Minnesota. I am a Ranger, both Cuyuna and Mesabi Range. I am a Vet and college grad. I don’t need permission to visit a tree.

  5. In 1965 I produced an hour-long film for the Milwaukee Public Museum on Isle Royale. Roy O. Berg, skipper of the “Voyageur,” told me about the “Sacred Cedar Tree.”

    A couple years ago, my wife and I kindled a nostalgic flame and visited the new Interpretive Center, met the superintendent and tribal chief who took me to the site (it is in Minnesota, not Michigan).

    As mentioned, visiting the site is a spiritual experience for most people as it well should be.

  6. “To visit The Witch Tree go to the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center in Grand Portage and ask for an escort to visit the Witch Tree.”

    The Grand Portage National Monument does not provide escorts to visit Manido Gizhigans, Spirit Little Cedar Tree. Currently, there is no official person who does. The Tribal Council Office phone is 218-475-2277.

  7. I apologize, upon further research, It looks like there are actually 2 towns both named Grand Marais one in MI & 1 in Minnesota, coincidently very near each other and both on Lake Superior. It looks like I was wrong & the Witch tree is in Minn after all..

  8. This Witch tree is sited as in Minnesota in several areas on the internet including Wiki but I believe this White cedar tree is actually located in Michigan on Lake Superior… Not Minnesota.

  9. I last saw the Witch Tree on my honeymoon with my new wife the last weekend in May, 1984. We are now planning our second excursion to it this weekend, September 1st, 2012. We hope to be able to canoe around Hat Point and view it as the sun rises Sunday morning.

  10. Went to see the Witch Tree with a local band member and the feeling you get there is one of reverence and respect for something of nature that has survived so long. To think the french explorers and indians spoke of this tree 300 years ago. I hope it survives at least another 300!!!!

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