Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

The Isle Royale National Park is in Michigan in Keweenaw County and the closest city to the park is Thunder Bay, Ontario. The park was established in 1940 on April 3, attracts nearly 16,000 visitors annually and covers and area of roughly 893 square miles. The park contains forests with pines, spruces, and furs, aspens, oaks, birches, ash, and maple trees. The island contains only about 1 3 of the large mammals that the mainland has. The region is regarded for it's moose and wolf population. It is the only location where moose and wolves live in close proximity to each other without having bears. Canoeing, kayaking, and camping are popular activities for the park. It's not typical for National Parks to close for long periods of time but the Isle Royal National Park closes every winter from November 1 to April 16 due to the harsh weather.

Isle Royale National Park Info


Isle Royale National Park

Warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/explorenationalparks.org/httpdocs/lib/model/parks.php on line 190

For Summer 2020, Ranger III to Provide Limited Passenger Service to and from Windigo, Isle Royale National Park

New for 2020, Isle Royale National Park and its Ranger III passenger ferry will offer limited transit from Houghton, MI to Windigo, MI, returning the following day from Windigo, MI to Houghton, MI. Trips will take place once each month from June through September.

Group Formation of New Isle Royale Wolves Leads to Territorial Aggression

The National Park Service (NPS) and research partners from the State University of New York are using data from GPS collars on introduced wolves to monitor associations between individuals and identify possible pack formation. As researchers and NPS staff anticipated, new wolves immediately began interacting with each other.

Become an Isle Royale Summer 2020 Teen Artist

Applications for Isle Royale National Park's 2020 Teen Artist Exploration will be accepted between January 2 and February 14, 2020. This artistic discovery is geared to all aspiring teen artists who want to develop their art through experiencing wilderness, and is open to all visual and performing artists, writers, and composers ages 13 to 18 at time of participation.

Apply to Become a Summer 2020 Artist-In-Residence at Isle Royale

Applications for Isle Royale National Park's 2020 Artist-in-Residence Program will be accepted between January 2 and February 14, 2019. Each 2 - 3 week residency provides artists the opportunity to become part of a long-established tradition of interpreting national parks through art.

Isle Royale National Park Photos

Sargent Lake from Ojibwe Tower

RPahre posted a photo:

Sargent Lake from Ojibwe Tower

One of the dozens of named inland lakes on Isle Royale.

Lake Superior and the Ontario shore lie behind.

This tower gave us our best views of the trip.

Beaver face in the light

RPahre posted a photo:

Beaver face in the light

I ended up jogging slowly on the shoreline to follow this beaver crossing Todd Harbor. I had debated carrying my heavy telephoto (2kg) on a long backpacking trip, but this was one of the two times when it was essential.

Todd Mine -- HFF!

RPahre posted a photo:

Todd Mine -- HFF!

This is one of the historic copper mines around Isle Royale. Euro-Americans generally dug shafts where the Anishinaabe had previously discovered copper. The Anishinaabe dug out shallow depressions and small holes.

Ishpeming Tower

RPahre posted a photo:

Ishpeming Tower

We passed Ishpeming Tower, first on this blue sky day and then a week later in pouring rain. It seems too short a tower to be useful, except as a way to get out of the rain.

Oranges at Todd

RPahre posted a photo:

Oranges at Todd

Sunset at Todd Harbor on Isle Royale, facing Thunder Bay and Sleeping Giant across Lake Superior.

Night sky at Lake Ritchie

RPahre posted a photo:

Night sky at Lake Ritchie

We got our best night sky (in May) at Lake Ritchie. We also had a great night sky on an earlier visit in August during the Perseid meteor shower.

Lake Ritchie has an online reputation as being a great place to fish, but uninteresting for the backpacker. I disagree.

It's true that Moskey Basin, a few miles away on Lake Superior, is an extraordinarily beautiful site. That said, Ritchie is Not Too Shabby.

Morning look across Lake Ritchie

RPahre posted a photo:

Morning look across Lake Ritchie

Lake Ritchie has an online reputation as being a great place to fish, but uninteresting for the backpacker. I disagree.

It's true that Moskey Basin, a few miles away on Lake Superior, is an extraordinarily beautiful site. That said, Ritchie is Not Too Shabby.

Buttercup bokeh - HBW!

RPahre posted a photo:

Buttercup bokeh - HBW!

Seen near Lake Ritchie, Isle Royale National Park

Painted turtle

RPahre posted a photo:

Painted turtle

As we left our camp at Lake Ritchie, we made a friend.

Indian Portage Trail

RPahre posted a photo:

Indian Portage Trail

Isle Royale has, in descending order of acreage, eight forest types: paper birch, sugar maple/yellow birch, aspen, northern white-cedar, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, and white pine/red oak/white ash.

Of course, the forest types often mix with one another, and there are many transitional zones.

In these five trail images, I thought I'd share a sample of this diversity. All are taken from the northeast side, from the Greenstone Trail at Indian Portage, down to Lake Ritchie and then Daisy Farm to Scoville Point.

Happy Tree-mendous Tuesday!

Scoville Point Nature Trail

RPahre posted a photo:

Scoville Point Nature Trail

Isle Royale has, in descending order of acreage, eight forest types: paper birch, sugar maple/yellow birch, aspen, northern white-cedar, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, and white pine/red oak/white ash.

Of course, the forest types often mix with one another, and there are many transitional zones.

In these five trail images, I thought I'd share a sample of this diversity. All are taken from the northeast side, from the Greenstone Trail at Indian Portage, down to Lake Ritchie and then Daisy Farm to Scoville Point.

Happy Tree-mendous Tuesday!

Chippewa Harbor Trail

RPahre posted a photo:

Chippewa Harbor Trail

Isle Royale has, in descending order of acreage, eight forest types: paper birch, sugar maple/yellow birch, aspen, northern white-cedar, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, and white pine/red oak/white ash.

Of course, the forest types often mix with one another, and there are many transitional zones.

In these five trail images, I thought I'd share a sample of this diversity. All are taken from the northeast side, from the Greenstone Trail at Indian Portage, down to Lake Ritchie and then Daisy Farm to Scoville Point.

Happy Tree-mendous Tuesday!

Mixed forest on the Greenstone

RPahre posted a photo:

Mixed forest on the Greenstone

Isle Royale has, in descending order of acreage, eight forest types: paper birch, sugar maple/yellow birch, aspen, northern white-cedar, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, and white pine/red oak/white ash.

Of course, the forest types often mix with one another, and there are many transitional zones.

In these five trail images, I thought I'd share a sample of this diversity. All are taken from the northeast side, from the Greenstone Trail at Indian Portage, down to Lake Ritchie and then Daisy Farm to Scoville Point.

Happy Tree-mendous Tuesday!

Rocky Trail at Three Mile

RPahre posted a photo:

Rocky Trail at Three Mile

Isle Royale has, in descending order of acreage, eight forest types: paper birch, sugar maple/yellow birch, aspen, northern white-cedar, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, and white pine/red oak/white ash.

Of course, the forest types often mix with one another, and there are many transitional zones.

In these five trail images, I thought I'd share a sample of this diversity. All are taken from the northeast side, from the Greenstone Trail at Indian Portage, down to Lake Ritchie and then Daisy Farm to Scoville Point.

Happy Tree-mendous Tuesday!

Welcome to Windigo

RPahre posted a photo:

Welcome to Windigo

I've always gone to Isle Royale from Minnesota (Grand Portage to Windigo) instead of Michigan (two options to Rock Harbor). Seeing this sign always makes me happy.

There are two park development centers, one at Windigo and one at Rock Harbor.

Welcome to Rock Harbor

RPahre posted a photo:

Welcome to Rock Harbor

This was more or less our half-way point. After hiking here from Windigo, with some detours, we hiked most of the way back, catching our return boat at Malone Bay.

Messy Kitchen!

RPahre posted a photo:

Messy Kitchen!

Dinner cooked, dishes are drying. The remains of the day at our first campsite, South Lake Desor.

Dinner was a braised seitan with polenta.

Moskey Blues

RPahre posted a photo:

Moskey Blues

Moskey Basin has a reputation among the online community for being the most beautiful campsite on Isle Royale -- especially at sunrise. We spent sunrise at Daisy Farm, and sunset at Lake RItchie, but had lunch at Moskey. It's definitely a beautiful location!

Lake Desor morning

RPahre posted a photo:

Lake Desor morning

The campsites above Lake Desor don't have much of a view.

Late light at Hatchet - HTT!

RPahre posted a photo:

Late light at Hatchet - HTT!

ICYMI, my story about Isle Royale here:
www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/06/park-different-isle...