Michigan's Remote and Wild Isle Royale National Park
Getting there by water
Transportation to Isle Royale is available from Houghton and Copper Harbor on Michigan's Upper Peninsula and from Grand Portage along Minnesota's North Shore. Allow time on both ends of your trip for possible weather-related delays.
The journey is just as much a part of the wilderness experience as the destination. Standing on the bow of the Isle Royale Queen IV (left), watching the island slowly rise from the wide blue horizon after a three-hour trip, creates an anticipation that driving through a park gate just can't match.
"Isle Royale has a mystique that people cherish," says Capt. Don Kilpela Jr., whose family has run the ferry for 30 years. "It's not an easy place to get to. Yet we figure 35 percent of our passengers are return guests--many of them multiple times."
From Copper Harbor, Michigan: Isle Royale Queen IV makes three-hour trips to Rock Harbor.
From Houghton, Michigan: Ranger III National Park Service ferry makes a six-hour trip to Rock Harbor.
From Grand Portage, Minnesota: Voyageur II ferry makes a seven-hour trip to Rock Harbor.