Isle Royal National Park certainly lives up to its name. Tucked away on the Michigan side of the US-Canadian border, it is comprised of the largest island in Lake Superior, Isle Royale, and some 400 surrounding islands.

What really sets Isle Royale National Park apart is its beauty. As a relatively small park compared to so many in the National Park System, it certainly holds its own in both beauty and splendor. If you have a chance to visit Isle Royale, you’re going to be in for a treat.

Let’s take a look at some of the more unique features.

Wildlife Abound

What makes Isle Royale truly wild are the creatures you’ll find in and around the island on a trip there. The island is especially known for its “immigrant” moose and wolves. These animals made their way over to the islands during a time when the surrounding lake was frozen over 50 years ago.
You’ll also encounter a number of beavers happily building their dams, foxes, water birds, and other animals. So be sure to keep an eye out for any special visitors while out on the trails!

Hill Islands

NPS Photo

Rustic Camping

One fascinating fact about Isle Royale is that the average visitor to this National Park stays for an average of 3 days. Do you know how long a visitor to a typical National Park stays? About four hours.
If you want to truly escape from the hustle and bustle of life, then this is place to do it. There is primitive camping available all over the island. With no designated camping spots, you can choose what works for you, but make sure to carry out everything what you carry in.
For those who aren’t quite as adventurous but want to spend more time on Isle Royale, then you’re in luck. At Rock Harbor Lodge you can find full service lodging, and a handful of rustic one room cabins.

Rock Harbor Lighthouse

Rock Harbor Lighthouse

Things to Do

Just because Isle Royale is rustic, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do there. Of course, most visitors are perfectly happy exploring many of the island’s hiking trails. Many of them are shorter loops, perfect for easy day hikes.
There are a number of programs that are run by the Rangers of the National Park Service on Isle Royale that you should be sure to check out. These include interpretive programs like Island Connections and Rock Harbor Reflections, the Daisy Farm Area Program, and a number of guided tours in and around the island.

Getting There

Isle Royale
As you might have guessed, it’s not quite as easy as driving over to Isle Royale National Park as many other parks. So, you will need to do a bit of planning in advance of your visit, as you will need to book a ride on a ferry boat.
Boats take off from Houghton, Michigan, Grand Portage, Minnesota, and Copper Harbor, Michigan. If you want to get there even faster, and feel a bit adventurous, you can book a seaplane ride which leaves from the Houghton County Memorial Airport.
However you enjoy Isle Royale, and however long you decide to stay, you won’t regret spending time at this beautiful National Park.