Preparing For A Wilderness Adventure At Isle Royale National Park

Preparing For A Wilderness Adventure At Isle Royale National Park

If the Scout’s motto is “always be prepared,” the official motto of Isle Royale National Park should be “be prepared for anything!” As anyone who has ever traveled to and experienced the rugged wilderness and the stunning beauty of the remote islands in the middle of Lake Superior can attest to, a trip to Isle Royale is truly an adventure of a lifetime.

However, to get the most out of your visit to Isle Royale, you need to plan ahead and pack appropriately if you are to be truly ready for anything! Here are a few planning and packing tips to get you started.

Prepare To Dress For Any Season

Lake Superior has a reputation for fickle, unpredictable weather. Dense fog, high winds, and sudden thunderstorms may infringe on your adventure at any given time. With surface water temperatures of the lake rarely reaching more than 55 degrees, this could mean cold wet weather even in the dead of summer.

To stay comfortable throughout your visit, it’s recommended you pack clothing and footwear for all seasons. While a downlines parka may be overkill in July, a t-shirt, long-sleeved Henley, sweatshirt and a durable raincoat will ensure your comfort as you can shift layers on and off as the weather dictates.

Pack Like There’s No General Store Two Blocks Away

Because there’s not. Unless you’re planning to stay at Rock Harbor Lodge, the Windigo Camper Cabins, or at the campsites in the immediate area, you will be backcountry camping. Rock Harbor and Windigo both have a store and marina that stocks food, water, gas, bait and tackle and other necessities in high season. If you visit during the offseason, these stores will be closed.

If you’re planning to strike out and find a remote place to camp, you will be leaving these resources far behind regardless of season, so it’s essential you pack the appropriate amount of food, water, and necessary gear for your camping party.

Plan Your Recreation Activities In Advance

Isle Royale is known for fishing, boating, scuba diving, kayaking and canoeing, as well as hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. Because the park is only accessible by seaplane or ferry (or private boat), you are generally limited by the amount of gear you can pack in.

During high season, visitors can rent canoes and kayaks out of Windigo or Rock Harbor. Fishing charter and sightseeing vessels can be commissioned out of Rock Harbor as well. Scuba diving charters are privately operated and reservations may need to be made in advance to ensure you get to dive while visiting Isle Royale.

Getting There Is Half The Fun

Yes, planning and packing for your visit to Isle Royale takes just that… planning! But once you’re there, the possibilities for recreation and relaxation are virtually limitless. If you’re eager to start your wilderness adventure, ditch the four-hour ferry and climb aboard Isle Royale Seaplanes instead! A short, but exhilarating, 35 minute trip will give you a birds-eye view of Michigan’s rugged Keweenaw Peninsula, the seemingly depthless blue waters of Lake Superior, and finally a stunning aerial view of the archipelago that makes up the pristine wilderness of Isle Royale National Park.

For more information or to book your flight, visit our website or give us a call at (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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