Isle Royale National Park

Overview

Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, everchanging weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale National Park. This wilderness archipelago is 45 miles long and nine miles wide at its widest point. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extends four and a half miles out into Lake Superior. The archipelago is composed of many parallel ridges resulting from ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated. Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife. Roadless Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane. Dogs, cats, and other pets are not allowed within park boundaries, which extend 4.5 miles into Lake Superior from the outermost land areas of the park. Isle Royale is relatively untouched by direct outside influences and serves as a living laboratory and United States Biosphere Reserve.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Lake Superior weather is cool throughout the operating season, causing dense fog in spring and summer months. The lake's water temperature rarely exceeds 52 degrees Fahrenheit, while Island temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees. Thunderstorms and rain occur throughout the season, causing rapid changes in wind and wave conditions. Weather and rough seas rarely delay departures to and from the island.

Directions

Driving: 

Vehicles are not permitted on Isle Royale. Visitors park their cars in Houghton, Michigan; Copper Harbor, Michigan; or Grand Portage, Minnesota and ride passenger ferries to the island, or fly with Isle Royale Seaplane Service to the island from Houghton, Michigan.

Flying: 

Regular seaplane service is provided by the Royale Air Service based out of the Houghton County Airport. They can be reached by calling toll-free 877-359-4753, or emailing RoyaleAirService@aol.com, or write Royale Air Service, Inc., P.O. Box 15184, Duluth, Minnesota 55815.

Public Transport: 

Passenger ferries from Houghton, Michigan; Copper Harbor, Michigan; and Grand Portage, Minnesota provide boat access to Isle Royale. Seaplane service is provided from Houghton, Michigan.