Isle Royale National Park is a 45-mile-long island of pristine wilderness located in Lake Superior.
The park is isolated and can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. Needless to say, this national park is not crowded! Annual visitation is around 25,000.
Isle Royale National Park is open seasonally from mid-April through October.
Getting to Isle Royale
The only way to get to Isle Royale National Park is by boat or seaplane. Visitors are not allowed to bring vehicles.
To visit Isle Royale from Minnesota, travelers can take a seaplane from Grand Marais or a boat from Grand Portage.
From Michigan, visitors can travel from Houghten (boat or seaplane) or Cooper Harbor (boat).
We took a boat from Grand Portage, MN. The boat ride is not a typical boat tour. It’s more utilitarian.
We stayed at the Best Western Superior Plus hotel on the coastline in Grand Marais, MN. This hotel was our base for exploring the North Shore and Isle Royale NP.
Isle Royale National Park – What to Expect
The island has two main areas. Rock Harbor is on the east, and Windigo is on the west. There are no roads. The only way to get around the island is on foot by boat.
Isle Royale National Park has three visitor centers, two on the island (Rock Harbor and Windigo) and one in Houghten, MI.
The Windigo Visitor Center has a sizeable exhibit area and a park bookstore.
Lodging is also available on the island. Rock Harbor has a lodge, and Windigo has camper cabins. Campsites are available throughout the island. However, the only restaurants are in Rock Harbor Lodge. Most visitors pack in food.
We stayed in Grand Marais, MN and visited the park on a day trip from Grand Portage. For lunch, we packed lunch and enjoyed a solitary picnic with scenic views.
Isle Royale is a hiker’s paradise with 165 miles of trails. Trails range from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day treks.
Abundant wildlife inhabits the island. The park is home to moose, wolves, otters, beavers, and many other animal species. Visitors may also spot bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and other birds of prey.
Isle Royale National Park is a unique destination that offers a genuine wilderness experience. The park’s rugged terrain, including rocky ridges and dense forests, provides breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the surrounding wilderness. Its remote location, untouched wilderness, and abundant wildlife make it an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic outdoor adventure.
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