Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the first National Lakeshore in the United States. While 2016 marks the centennial of the National Parks Service, it also signals the 50th anniversary of Pictured Rocks. With many things to do and see, it’s a must for anyone who loves the outdoors—and is still trying to Find Their Park.

Logistics

"The Coves" on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore “The Coves” on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks is located on south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, between the towns of Grand Marais to the east and Munising to the west. Named after the colorful cliffs that reach up to 200 feet out of the lake, the park is accessible by car and bus, with a shuttle service offering transportation within the park. Pictured Rocks itself is free to enter and open to the public year-round, though some roads might be closed in the winter due to snow and ice. In addition, certain attractions and visitors’ centers are also closed during off-season, be sure to check before you go.

The weather near Lake Superior can range anywhere from below zero in the coldest months to 70 degrees in the summer. The region is also the second-cloudiest in the nation and averages 31 inches of rainfall and a whopping 140 inches of snow annually—all things to keep in mind when planning your visit.

Things to Do and See

Chapel Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Chapel Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks is a great place for all of the perennial outdoor activities: camping, bicycling, boating, hiking, fishing, ect, and there is plenty to see in the park, too.

It’s home to not one, but three lighthouses, including the Au Sable Light Station, the Munising Front Range Light and Auxiliary Station, and the Munising Rear Range Light Station. All there were originally built in the 1900s, and you can even take a guided tour of the Au Sable Light Station during the warmer months.

If you’re after photogenic scenic sites, Pictured Rocks has got you covered. In addition to the aforementioned Pictured Rocks and various other sites, you can also visit Miners Castle, the most famous rock formation in the park by vehicle and a short hike. It’s made of beautifully colored sandstone and holds great spiritual significance to the Anishnabe people who have lived in the area for centuries.

Miners Castle on Lake Superior near Munising Michigan. Miners Castle on Lake Superior near Munising Michigan.

The park is also home to seven waterfalls! The aptly named Bridalveil Falls resembles a white veil floating down the side of the cliff and is often pictured on postcards and brochures from the area. In the summer and fall months, it slows to a trickle, so plan accordingly. The Mosquito Falls are best experienced during the springtime, when the wildflowers are in bloom and otters can be seen in water.