How To Get To Isle Royale National Park

How To Get To Isle Royale National Park

When you plan a vacation to Isle Royale National Park, you have a two-part adventure ahead. Isle Royale National Park is located in Lake Superior, above the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Technically considered part of that state, it is 56 miles from Michigan, 18 miles from Minnesota, and 22 miles to the Canadian shore. Inaccessible except by boat or seaplane, the first part of your wilderness vacation involves your transportation to the island.

Making The Trip To The Island

If you are coming to the island from Houghton, there are two boat ferry services available, which have a travel time of either 3.5 hour or 6 hours. A flight to the island by seaplane will take respectively 35 minutes. Coming in by plane allows you a stunning aerial view of the island where you will be spending your next days. Your pilot will show you points of interest, and tell you stories about the island’s formation as the glaciers receded over millions of years. You will have a profound appreciation for the island before ever stepping foot on its pristine shores.

Isle Royale’s Accessibility

Once you arrive, whether you are staying at Rock Harbor Lodge, or camping on the island, walking is your only way to get around. No wheeled vehicles except wheelchairs are permitted. You will check into the visitor center at Rock Harbor or Windigo, and if camping on the island, obtain your no-charge backcountry/camping permit, which is required. The national park does require that a user fee is paid prior to your visit, so please verify that you have paid this in advance. Because of the remote nature of the island, permits help to monitor usage and track visitors in case of emergency.

Preparing To Come To The Island

The average stay on Isle Royale is 3.5 days, in comparison to the four hours that the average visitor spends at other national parks. This, and the fact that you will have a totally off-grid wilderness experience, means advance preparation and planning are critical. When you come to the island by seaplane and will be camping, you will need to come prepared with everything necessary for a backcountry trip, while keeping within the 50 pound luggage limit. The only restrictions are against bringing in hazardous gas or liquids. You may pack regular camping items, such as small knives and hatchets in your gear. If you are carrying a firearm, you must notify your pilot in advance.

Wondering what to do about fuel and other things you may need? You can buy provisions and fuel, as well as rent kayaks, canoes, and motorboats from either the Rock Harbor Lodge and Marina or the store at Windigo.

Make Your Reservations Now

With many years of flight experience, our Isle Royale Seaplanes pilots serve the island between May 19 and September 23.

Click here to schedule your trip.

If you have questions about visiting this beautiful location, contact us via the website or by calling (906) 483-4991.

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Hancock Portage Canal
Seaplane Base
21205 Royce Road
Hancock, MI 49930

Cook County Airport
123 Airport Road
Grand Marais, MN 55604

(906) 483-4991

Isle Royale Seaplanes


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