Located across the shores of Lake Superior lies Isle Royale National Park, a park composed of the main Isle Royale and hundreds of nearby islands. Nestled in the state of Michigan, the National Park Service deemed the area a National Park in 1940, and shortly after, the region was also protected from development as a wilderness area in 1976. This parkland is home to the Anishinabewaki (??"??"'?"???—?'?) and O?héthi ?akówi? Native American tribes.
In that same year, the parkland in Michigan was declared a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019 as the Minong Traditional Cultural Property. This incredibly unique island park in Keweenaw County spans 894 square miles, with 209 of those land and 685 of those water.
About Isle Royale National Park
All park visitors of Isle Royale must travel by seaplane, ferry, floatplane, boat, and other forms of island transport. You can start your journey in towns from Michigan or Minnesota, such as Houghton, Copper Harbor, Grand Portage, or Grand Marais. Ferry services such as the Isle Royale Queen, Ranger III, the Sea Hunter, or Voyageur II take you to and from the island.
This isolated and rugged National Park on Michigan's Upper Peninsula boasts so much for its visitors to do and see. From hiking trails with epic views to diving for shipwrecks to sunbathing on the lakeshore to visiting the Rock Harbor Lighthouse to backpacking in the north woods, Isle Royale has an island adventure for all.
Day Trips to Rock Harbor & Windigo
If you do not have the time to camp overnight at the park, take one of the day trips offered by the ferry services. You can go to Rock Harbor on the northeast end or to Windigo on the southwest end.
Don't have enough time for an overnight visit to Isle Royale National Park? Visit for the day! Some ferries offer day trips to Rock Harbor on the island's northeast end and Windigo on the southwest end. Check out the day trip options here.
Camping on the Island
It is truly a fascinating experience staying the night on Isle Royale. The island has 36 campgrounds, all accessible only by foot or watercraft. Every site has a tent site, a water source, and access to an outhouse.
Campers must obtain a permit no matter their size. Backpackers typically hike to different campgrounds or take the 14.7-mile Greenstone Ridge Trail. There are campgrounds for kayaks and canoes locate inland and can only be accessed via non-motorized boats. Read more on the details and opportunities here.
Boating at Isle Royale National Park
Boating and fishing at the park is a dream, whether you are on the freshwater of Lake Superior or the inland lakes. The ecosystems of the Great Lakes are highly fragile, and the management of fish and aquatics works extremely hard to preserve and protect the native fisheries.
Located on the Rock Harbor end of the park, the Edisen Fishery was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
The Edisen Fishery is a fishery located in Rock Harbor in the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Wikipedia
An excellent way to enjoy the park is by booking lodging at the Rock Harbor Lodge. Other popular activities include wildlife watching (for the loons - a common bird) or berry-hunting for a wide variety of shrubs and berries (blueberries, raspberries, and sugar plums). The island has three different visitor centers in Houghton, Windigo, and Rock Harbor.
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