Escape It All At This Remote National Park In The Midwest Bursting With Adventure

When pondering which island to visit, it's unlikely that you'll find yourself dreaming about Michigan. After all, the Great Lakes State isn't considered a tropical paradise, and many people probably think of Michigan as cold and not very captivating. However, it's no surprise to anyone familiar with Michigan and this region that Lake Superior is home to some really spectacular islands, there is one in particular that nature-loving travelers should consider, as it is certainly one to visit if you prefer a place with no crowds and abundant wildlife to enjoy. 


Isle Royale National Park is a spectacular place deep in the rugged, rural wilderness of Lake Superior. Because it doesn't draw many visitors, the wilderness is allowed to flourish and remain wild. Visitors simply need to come prepared to have one of the best times of their lives while also leaving only footprints in their wake. Somewhere, this special deserves to be protected at all costs.

The best time of the year to visit is in August or September, as that's when you won't deal with as many bugs, but if you travel any other times, be sure to pack accordingly and know how to banish bugs from your campsite. Visitors typically enjoy traveling the waters surrounding Isle Royale in canoes, kayaks, and small vessels, so be prepared for myriad adventures.


What to expect while visiting Isle Royale National Park

The adventure begins before your arrival on the island since a big part of the journey is how to get there. From Michigan, visitors can choose to take a 6-hour, one-way ferry ride over from Houghton, or a 3.5-hour ferry ride from Copper Harbor. Visitors traveling from Minnesota can catch a ferry from the Grand Portage Marina — a ride from the Sea Hunter III is only 1.5 hours. Another choice is a quick seaplane flight (under 1 hour) from both Michigan and Minnesota. Once you arrive in the national park, you will be amazed by the thick wilderness surrounding you. Be sure to have safety measures in place, especially for those who will be hiking solo or with children.


Isle Royale National Park is spread out with more than 160 miles of rugged hiking trails, 450 islands, and four lighthouses. Throughout the compact island, trails crisscross for those who explore by land, but the water can be the best way to take in all the beautiful scenery. It is suggested to pack enough for four or five days of backpacking on trails. Depending on which course you choose, a hike can take you through old-growth forests, through wetlands or you might get to climb a few rocks to experience a fantastic overlook. 

At the end of the day, you can choose to camp, stay in a rustic camping cabin in Windigo, or check into the Isle Royale Resort, also known as the Rock Harbor Lodge.

Become one with nature at Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale is filled with wildlife, which adds a bit of a thrill when hiking on the island. Stumbling across a moose, for example, is not out of the ordinary. There is also a healthy pack of gray wolves on the island; however, it is highly unlikely that you will get a glimpse, though you might get lucky and hear them at night. Some of the other inhabitants of the island are coyotes, caribou, foxes, beavers, otters, and snowshoe hares. It's fun to try to figure out who tracks belong to near the lake's edge.


While enjoying the great wilderness and all of the winding trails throughout the park, it's important to leave the local flora and fauna alone. If visitors need a break from hiking, they can attend a ranger program or even go on a boat tour of the area. Some people are even crazy enough to go scuba diving in the frigid water. Whatever adventure you choose while on Isle Royale is destined to be memorable. Chances are you will be returning for a second adventure since the park is actually one of the nation's most revisited parks, even if it has so few visitors.