Isle Royale National Park is one of America's least-visited national parks. At just under 18,000 visitors a year, this pales in comparison to some of the United States' most popular parks like the Grand Canyon, which attracts over 4 million visitors a year.
This remote island cluster is located in Lake Superior near Michigan’s border with Canada. Getting here might feel complicated due to the fact you can't bring your car, but it's actually fairly simple. Visitors have the option to travel via ferry, seaplane, or their own personal boat from the mainland in Michigan or Minnesota. Depending on which mode of transportation you choose, getting to this remote island can take as little as an hour and a half on the water or as long as 6 hours from the tip of Michigan.
The fact that this island takes so long to reach is part of what makes it so serene and peaceful. You could easily spend the entire weekend here and not come into contact with another human being. The ultimate escape from society, Isle Royale is full of rugged wilderness and packed with adventure.
The crown jewel of the park is Siskiwit Lake, the largest lake on the island. The best ways to explore it are through fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, and even scuba diving. The water here is clean and crystal clear.
The lake is home to many species of fish including Lake Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Yellow Perch. There are also several islands located on the lake you could swim to including Eagle Nest, Teakettle, and Ryan Island, the largest island on the lake.
The lake is surrounded by a dense forest packed with hiking trails. Isle Royale contains 165 miles of trails and 36 campgrounds. Whether you choose to hike a couple of miles or spend the whole day on the trails, there is a ton of wildlife to see. Visitors have spotted foxes, wolves, otters, beavers, and even moose while spending time on the island.
Whether you choose to stay in a tent, a boat, or a resort, Isle Royale is filled with lodging options. Camp stores, restaurants, and gift shops can be found in Rock Harbor and Windigo however many backpackers opt to bring their own food to the island.
Isle Royale National Park can be visited from April 16 through October 31. The island is closed from November 1 through April 15 due to extreme winter weather conditions. The best time to see the park and explore the water is in July and August when water temperatures reach the upper 60s.