Welcome to Isle Royale National Park, a remote wilderness area located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior. This stunning island park is one of the least visited national parks in the lower 48, but those who venture here are rewarded with unparalleled beauty, peace, and solitude.
Isle Royale is an archipelago of over 400 islands, with the largest being Isle Royale itself. The park is a refuge for a variety of wildlife, including moose and wolves, and is designated as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. Visitors can explore the park’s rugged beauty by hiking on over 165 miles of trails, kayaking or canoeing along the shoreline, or taking a boat ride to see the many shipwrecks that dot the area.
Whether you’re a backpacker looking for a multi-day backcountry excursion or a day tripper seeking a secluded spot for a picnic, Isle Royale has something for everyone. With campgrounds, cabins, and lodges located throughout the park, visitors can choose from a variety of accommodations to suit their needs. Entrance fees can be paid upon arrival, or visitors can purchase a Senior Pass in advance to save on fees. So come and discover the beauty of Isle Royale National Park, a true gem of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Isle Royale National Park is located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, Michigan, USA. It is a remote wilderness island archipelago that is only accessible by boat or seaplane. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including moose, wolves, and numerous bird species. It is also a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve, recognized for its unique ecosystem and geology.
Isle Royale National Park is located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, Michigan, USA. It is approximately 56 miles from the Canadian border and covers an area of 571,790 acres. The park is made up of one main island, Isle Royale, and over 400 smaller islands.
Isle Royale has a rich history that dates back over 4,500 years. The island was first inhabited by indigenous people, who used it for fishing and hunting. Later, European explorers and fur traders arrived on the island. In the early 1900s, Isle Royale became a popular destination for recreational boaters and fishermen. In 1940, the island was designated as a national park to preserve its unique ecosystem and protect it from further development.
Isle Royale is a rugged and isolated island that is characterized by its rocky shoreline, dense forests, and numerous inland lakes. The island is home to several mountain ranges, including the Greenstone Ridge, which runs the length of the island. The park is also home to several shipwrecks, which have become popular dive sites for visitors.
Overall, Isle Royale National Park is a unique and remote wilderness destination that offers visitors the opportunity to explore a rugged and isolated island far from our connected communities.
Isle Royale National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, from hiking and backpacking to boating and fishing. Here are some of the most popular activities to try during your visit:
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Isle Royale National Park, with over 165 miles of hiking trails to explore. From scenic day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, there is something for hikers of all skill levels. Some popular hiking trails include the Greenstone Ridge Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding islands, and the Minong Ridge Trail, which takes hikers through some of the park’s most remote wilderness areas.
For backpackers, Isle Royale National Park offers a unique opportunity to explore a remote wilderness area. With over 36 campgrounds scattered throughout the park, backpackers can spend several days or even weeks exploring the park’s rugged terrain. It’s important to note that backpackers should be prepared for changing weather conditions and should be comfortable with backcountry camping.
Boating and Kayaking
Boaters and kayakers can explore the park’s many islands and waterways, including Lake Superior and the surrounding inland lakes. The park offers several boat tours and water taxis for visitors who want to explore the park by water. Kayakers can also rent kayaks and explore the park’s many coves and bays.
Fishing is a popular activity in Isle Royale National Park, with opportunities to fish for lake trout, salmon, and other species in Lake Superior and the park’s inland lakes and streams. Visitors must have a valid Michigan fishing license to fish in the park.
Isle Royale National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, wolves, and other species. Visitors can observe these animals in their natural habitat while hiking, backpacking, or boating. It’s important to remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife and to never approach or feed them.
Overall, Isle Royale National Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy during the summer months. Whether you’re a hiker, backpacker, boater, or wildlife enthusiast, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this remote archipelago.
Isle Royale National Park is located in Lake Superior, accessible only by boat or seaplane. There are no bridges or roads leading to the island. Here’s how you can get there:
If you have a private boat, you can dock it at one of the park’s many marinas. The park has several docks, including Rock Harbor, Windigo, and McCargoe Cove. Alternatively, you can take a ferry to the island. The Isle Royale Queen IV, Ranger III, and Voyageur II are three popular ferry options.
Another option is to take a seaplane to the island. Isle Royale Seaplanes offers flights from Houghton, Michigan, and Grand Marais, Minnesota. The flights take about 45 minutes and offer stunning aerial views of the island.
Ferries are a popular way to get to Isle Royale National Park. The Isle Royale Queen IV, Ranger III, and Voyageur II all offer ferry service to the island. The Isle Royale Queen IV is a passenger-only ferry that departs from Copper Harbor, Michigan. The Ranger III is a larger vessel that can accommodate both passengers and cargo. It departs from Houghton, Michigan, and takes about 6 hours to reach the island. The Voyageur II is another passenger-only ferry that departs from Grand Portage, Minnesota.
No matter how you choose to get to the island, it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure to check the schedules of the ferries and seaplanes, as they only run during certain times of the year. It’s also a good idea to book your transportation in advance, especially during peak season.
Once you arrive on the island, you can explore the park by foot, bike, or boat. The Keweenaw Adventure Company offers bike rentals, and there are several watercraft rental options available as well. Don’t forget to check out the Rock Harbor Light, a historic lighthouse located on the eastern end of the island.
Overall, getting to Isle Royale National Park may require a bit of planning, but the journey is well worth it. Whether you choose to travel by boat or seaplane, the island’s natural beauty and remote location make it a unique and unforgettable destination.
Lodging and Camping
Isle Royale National Park offers a variety of lodging and camping options to visitors. Whether you prefer to stay in a tent, a lodge, or backpack through the wilderness, Isle Royale has something for you.
Rock Harbor Lodge
The Rock Harbor Lodge complex, located on the northeast end of Isle Royale National Park, is the only full-service lodging facility on the island. The lodge offers comfortable rooms, cabins, and suites, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and marina. Rooms and cabins are available from mid-June through Labor Day, and advance reservations are recommended.
For those who want to experience the wilderness, Isle Royale’s backcountry camping is a great option. The park has 36 campgrounds located across the island, accessible only by foot or watercraft. All campgrounds offer tent sites, a water source, and outhouses. Some campgrounds on Lake Superior offer shelters and picnic tables. Backcountry excursions require a permit, which can be obtained at the park’s visitor center or online. Group camping is also available.
Isle Royale National Park offers a variety of campsites for visitors. Backpackers can hike or paddle to a different campground each day, while basecampers can set up camp at one campground and explore by day, returning to camp each night. Boaters can cruise to a dock and tie up for the night. Overnight permits are free for parties of six or fewer.
Whether you’re looking for a comfortable room at the Rock Harbor Lodge or a backcountry camping adventure, Isle Royale National Park has something for everyone. Don’t forget to make advance reservations for the Rock Harbor Lodge and obtain a permit for backcountry camping.
If you’re planning a trip to Isle Royale National Park, there are a few things you should know before you go. In this section, we’ll cover the Visitor Center, Passes and Fees.
The Isle Royale National Park Visitor Center is located in Houghton, Michigan. It’s open year-round, but hours vary depending on the season. The center is a great place to start your trip, as it provides information about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife. You can also pick up maps, guidebooks, and other resources to help plan your visit.
Passes and Fees
To enter Isle Royale National Park, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee. The current fee is $7 per person per day, with a maximum of $35 per person for a 7-day pass. Children under 16 are free, and there are also discounts available for seniors and disabled visitors. If you plan to visit multiple national parks in a year, you may want to consider purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass. This pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks, for a one-time fee of $80.
If you’re a senior citizen, you may be eligible for a Senior Pass. This pass provides lifetime access to all national parks and federal recreation sites for a one-time fee of $80. To qualify, you must be 62 years of age or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
Isle Royale National Park offers a wide variety of activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some popular activities include hiking, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife watching. If you’re planning a trip to the park, be sure to check the park’s website for trip ideas and itinerary suggestions. You can also talk to park rangers at the Visitor Center for recommendations based on your interests and abilities.
In summary, if you’re planning a trip to Isle Royale National Park, be sure to stop by the Visitor Center for information and resources. Don’t forget to purchase an entrance pass, and consider purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass or Senior Pass if you plan to visit multiple national parks. With so many activities and attractions to choose from, Isle Royale National Park is a great destination for visitors of all ages and interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Isle Royale National Park located?
Isle Royale National Park is located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, near the Canadian border. It is an isolated island wilderness that can only be accessed by ferry, seaplane, or private watercraft.
What are some popular activities to do in Isle Royale National Park?
Isle Royale National Park is a popular destination for backpacking, hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. The park has over 165 miles of hiking trails, and visitors can also explore the island’s many lakes and waterways by canoe or kayak.
What wildlife can be found in Isle Royale National Park?
Isle Royale National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including moose, wolves, beavers, otters, and many species of birds. The park is also known for its population of gray wolves, which are one of the most studied wolf populations in the world.
Are there any lodges or accommodations in Isle Royale National Park?
Yes, there are a few lodges and accommodations in Isle Royale National Park, including the Rock Harbor Lodge and the Windigo Camper’s Lodge. Visitors can also camp in one of the park’s many campgrounds or backcountry sites.
What is the best way to get to Isle Royale National Park?
The best way to get to Isle Royale National Park is by taking a ferry or seaplane from one of the nearby towns, such as Houghton, Michigan or Grand Portage, Minnesota. Visitors should plan ahead and make reservations in advance, as transportation to the island can be limited.
Can you drive to Isle Royale National Park or is transportation limited?
No, you cannot drive to Isle Royale National Park. The park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, and transportation to the island can be limited. Visitors should plan ahead and make reservations in advance to ensure that they can get to and from the island safely and efficiently.