Isle Royale National Park, one of the major national parks in Michigan, is the largest island in Lake Superior, and it was established as a national park in 1940. Notorious for rough waters and located on a historical shipping route, Isle Royale Michigan is home to a number of shipwrecks. In addition to learning about these historic sites, visitors can take advantage of a variety of activities on the island, such as trekking, canoeing, and touring several attractions. Plenty of campgrounds and a lodge offer guests a host of opportunities for overnight trips to the Isle Royale National Park. Additionally, getting to and around the island can be done by bus, ferry, and floatplane, allowing access to every part of the island for virtually all visitors.
Paddling, hiking, and camping are among the most popular activities among visitors to Isle Royale Michigan. Covered with a network of trails that total more than one hundred miles, a trekker could spend days at a time just hiking across the island and coming across dozens of breathtaking views along the way. Canoes, kayaks, and other boats can be rented in several locations, and taking on the many challenges or simply rowing leisurely around the coastal areas and in the inner waterways can prove to be an enchanting voyage.
With ample facilities, including multiple campsites and a well-appointed lodge located within the Isle Royale National Park, guests can create their ideal overnight experience on the island. One of the unique aspects of the island is the mineral and rock formation: The Isle Royale Greenstone, Michigan’s state gemstone, is found here, in addition to parts of the Upper Peninsula. Adventurers can also reserve guided tours or take self-guided tours of several attractions such as caves, island tours by water taxi, and walking or boating tours. These activities can be booked by those staying at the lodge, or if you’re camping you can contact the companies yourself ahead of time or once you arrive on Isle Royale Michigan.
First and foremost, as with other national parks in Michigan and around the country, Isle Royale is a nature preserve before it is a tourist attraction, meaning the focus here is on protecting the wilderness and wildlife on the island. Thus there is a leave-no-trace policy, meaning campers, trekkers, and all other visitors must clean up after themselves and keep the land as pristine as when it was encountered. Accessing the island can be done by private boat from Canada, floatplane from the Houghton Airport, or by ferry from several ports, which, of course, takes significantly more time than the plane but is also quite a bit less expensive.
Whether you are staying for one day, one week, or even longer, respecting the land is an important custom that is expected of all visitors without exception, and by doing so, guests can truly appreciate the wilderness that openly welcomes sightseers and explorers. For the avid adventurers and for the leisurely vacationer, this is one of the most beautiful national parks in Michigan, offering pristine landscapes and tons of challenges to make for a charming outdoors experience. Although the island is part of Michigan, it is not far from the Canadian border and Thunder Bay, and it’s even closer to northeastern Minnesota, making it easy to combine a visit here with trips to Grand Portage or Voyageurs National Park.