Michigan’s only national park is a car-free wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior. Hike, kayak, observe wildlife and enjoy tranquil moments.
Isle Royale National Park encompasses one large and more than 450 small islands in the northern waters of Lake Superior. Its isolated wilderness draws hikers, backpackers and campers seeking solitude and adventure.
Backpack along the island’s 45-mile (72-kilometer) length to experience raw wilderness. Pack in supplies for your trip since you won’t find grocery shops or convenience stores. Bring your canoe or kayak on the ferry to the island or rent one at Windigo or Rock Harbor to explore the shoreline and surrounding islands.
The park has been a site for wolf observation and preservation for over 50 years. Although these private animals may not reveal themselves, learn about their fascinating behavior and the challenges and discoveries of the project. You are likely to see moose as well as numerous red squirrels.
Find signs of earlier human occupation on and around the island. More than 200 archaeological sites show evidence of indigenous occupation and copper mining from up to 4,600 years ago. Copper mining continued in the 1800s leaving pits and trenches. Bring scuba gear to explore well-preserved remains of passenger steamers and freighters wrecked near the rocky coast.
No cars or even bicycles are allowed on the island, so be prepared to walk to anything you’d like to see. Accommodations take two forms on the island. Concessions at Rock Island and Windigo offer hotel-style rooms and meal service. Alternatively, stay at some of the park’s 35 campsites. Look for the aurora borealis in the perfectly dark night sky.
Not only is Isle Royale National Park a rugged wilderness, but getting here requires some effort. Enjoy a drive along Upper Michigan’s scenic roadways to reach Houghton or Copper Harbor to take a ferry or seaplane to the island. Purchase daily park user fees before making the journey to avoid lines upon arrival on the island. Transportation schedules change frequently so check to be sure your plans align with availability. The park closes in winter.
U.S. national parks offer a wide range of affordable adventure for all types of travelers. Visit Isle Royale National Park for a unique wilderness experience.