Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.Lovelle Drachman
About the Park
Isle Royale National Park is an isolated island in Lake Superior that offers peace and refuge on a beautiful wilderness island. Once on the island, there are many adventures like hiking, paddling, boating, camping, and diving. We enjoyed the experience of riding in our first seaplane to visit this unique park. The 40-minute ride allows you to see this remote paradise from above.
Check out the view of the park!
Live it up!
Best Things to do in the Park
- The journey is half the fun there. We took a Seaplane from Houghton, MI and loved it
- Backpacking and Camping is a favorite activity in the park
- Check out areas around Rock Harbor and Windigo for great day Isle Royale hikes
- Go fishing in the waters of Lake Superior or the inland lakes and streams
- Canoeing and kayaking on the inland lakes or Lake Superior
- Take a guided boat tour to various parts of the island
We took our first seaplane ride from Houghton, Michigan, to Isle Royale National Park. Bev was a little nervous about the 40-minute flight over Lake Superior, but it was one the smoothest flights we had ever taken. It was much better than the 6-hour ferry ride.
Size of Park
207 square miles
In addition to Isle Royale, there are over 400 small adjacent islands.
The Isle Royale National Park is an island located remotely in Lake Superior, near the border Michigan shares with Canada. This park is only accessible by ferry, seaplane, or private watercraft. It was established in 1940 and is situated over 893 square
Once you arrive at the park, we recommend spending some time in the Visitor’s Center. The park rangers explain the park and there are exhibits that show the history. You can then take one of the many Isle Royale hikes, wilderness camp, or explore the waters around the park by fishing, canoeing, or kayaking.
Isle Royale Best Hikes
Isle Royale National Park has a total of 36 hiking trails. These trails are excellent for hiking, bird-watching, and camping. Some of these trails are adventurous, with their challenging landscapes, but many are
easy, enjoyable hikes for the novice.
The Greenstone Ridge Trail is a 63.6 km hiking trail. It is considered highly challenging. It takes an average of about 15.5 hours to complete. Many visitors typically complete this hike over the course of four to five days while camping on the way.
This trail is also excellent for backpacking and bird-watching.
The Stoll Trail is a 7.6 km loop trail located near Rock Harbor. It is a moderately challenging trail and takes an average of an hour and a half to complete. It is a non-technical, easy-to-follow trail with some beautiful shoreline views. The best time to visit this trail is from May through September.
The Feldtmann Lake Loop Trail is 52.9 kilometers and extends from Windigo to Feldtmann Lake Campground. This trail is generally considered a highly strenuous and challenging route and can take about 12 hours to complete. If hiking this trail, plan to camp along the way.
On this trail, you will unlikely encounter many people, so if your trip to Isle Royale National Park for hikes is to enjoy some solitude, the Feldtmann Lake Loop Trail is a great option.
The Tobin Harbor Trail is a 9.5 kilometers (out and back) trail near Rock Harbor, connecting it with the Mount Franklin Trail. This trail is a moderately challenging route and takes an average of 2 hours to complete. However, many hikers prefer this trail because of its smoothness and a gentle grade. The trail winds gently downhill until it meets Tobin Harbor and then continues downward, ending near the Rock Harbor Lodge in the Rock Harbor area.
Camping in the Park
There are several excellent campgrounds at the Isle Royale National Park. Some of these are listed below:
Three Mile Campground is a peaceful and very basic campground situated along Rock Harbor. The campsite area has seven tent sites.
The campground is perfect for people who plan to spend their time in the Park exploring the island rather than going hiking. This is because you can conveniently access some pretty amazing places, such as Suzy’s Cave, and canoe to the nearby Tookers Island. You can also visit Greenstone Ridge and discover its stunning views.
The Daisy Farm Campground is a popular campground at the Isle Royale National Park. It has nine tent sites. You can access this campground by canoeing via Rock Harbor or hiking. This makes even reaching the campground a very adventurous experience. Once you have arrived, you can stay at one of the basic tent sites or shelters at the base camp.
If you camp at the Daisy Farm Campground, you can access a number of points, such as Lake Benson, Moskey Bay, Caribou Island, or Rock Harbor Lighthouse.
Scoville Point is located on the Stoll Trail. At the trail’s end, both paths converge for the last half mile and lead up to the rocky face of Scoville Point. This viewpoint provides a more secluded location to explore and is a great place to relax away from the higher visitation areas. This spot offers a beautiful view of Lake Superior and is also a great spot to sit and watch the sunrise or sunset.
Another beautiful viewpoint at the Isle Royale National Park is the Rock Harbor Lighthouse. You can climb the stairs of the lighthouse to the lantern room to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas. Even though the lighthouse is no longer illuminated, it remains a popular tourist spot. You can also visit the keeper’s quarters at the lighthouse and learn about the island’s history.
Lookout Louise is a popular overlook perched over Duncan Bay and offers an excellent view of Lake Superior. On a clear day, nearby islands are also visible from this viewpoint. These include Pie Island, the Sibley Peninsula, and Edward Island. With binoculars, you can also see the buildings dotting Sibley Cove, a silver mining town from the 1870s. The only catch is that the hike to this viewpoint is a mile-long, uphill hike.
Click on the button to explore the state and travel guides for the area.
Getting to the Park
There are four places to take ferries to the island, 2 in Michigan (Houghton and Copper Harbor) and 1 in Minnesota (Grand Portage) Typical transit time is about 3-6 hours. There are also 2 places for taking a seaplane (Houghton, Michigan) and (Grand Marais, Minnesota). The seaplanes take you to both Rock Harbor or Windigo on Isle Royale. The seaplanes take around 40 minutes.
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