Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, wildlife and the forest of the Lake Superior shoreline beckon visitors to explore this 73,000+ acre park. Attractions include a lighthouse and former Coast Guard life-saving stations along with old farmsteads and former logging trails. The park is a four season recreational destination where hiking, camping, hunting, nature study, and winter activities abound. At its widest point the Lakeshore is only five miles and hugs the Superior shoreline for more than 40 miles.This was the first National Lakeshore and was authorized in 1966. The park mission is to conserve the ecosystem integrity of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a mosaic of geologic, biologic, scenic, and historic features, offering opportunities for recreation, education, inspiration and enjoyment forever.
Seasonality / Weather
Lake Superior greatly ameliorates temperature extremes, slowing spring warming and the onset of winter. The coldest months average well below 0°C (32°F) and the warmer months about 22°C (70°F).
The average date of the last freezing temperature in spring is June 8, and the average first fall freeze is September 23; however, freezing can occur during any month. The freeze-free period, or growing season, averages 107 days annually.
The big lake's presence also increases precipitation at the Lakeshore. Annual precipitation averages 31 inches; annual snowfall is 140 inches. Snow generally covers the ground from late November through late April.
The area is the second-most cloudy region of the United States, characterized by an annual mean cloud cover of 70 percent. Much of the cloudiness occurs in autumn and winter, and can be attributed to cool air flowing over Lake Superior being warmed along the shore and forming clouds. This condition also often results in rain, fog, and snow. Spring is relatively clear due the cold water surface of the lake.
The prevailing wind is from the west, with average velocities ranging from 7 to 9 miles per hour. High winds and storm conditions on Lake Superior are not uncommon. The highest recorded one-minute wind speed was 59 miles per hour.
The lakeshore is located approximately 46 degrees north latitude and 86 degrees west longitude. Munising is 680 feet above mean sea level.
Michigan state highways M-28 and M-94 lead to Munising; state highway M-77 leads to Grand Marais. County road H-58 and other spur roads provide access throughout the park.
Regional bus lines stop in Marquette and Escanaba. Local bus service (Altran, (906) 387-4845) offers backpacker shuttle service in the summer; reservations are required.