Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Isle Royale National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The trails from McCargoe Cove to Hatchet Lake are my favorite in all the park! The Minong Ridge Trail has panoramic views of Lake Superior and varied, but equally beautiful, scenery and vegetation. Todd Harbor offers a nice break and great views from the North side of the island. The Hatchet Lake Trail includes a birch tree forest that is unforgettably stunning. Hatchet Lake is a great campground because it is peaceful and the lake feels like bathwater compared to Lake Superior.

The Greenstone Ridge Trail is the backbone of Isle Royale. Beginning from Mt. Ojibwa, the peak of this trail, the ridge steadily declines in elevation until near Chickenbone Lake. There are McCargoe Cove is a great campsite because it is less crowded than either E. or W. Chickenbone Lake sites. In addition, it has a communal fire pit and the cove is secluded and peaceful. This trail leads to the start of the Minong Ridge Trail.

Beautiful trail and great geology! It is a nice mix of forest and lakeshore, the water crystal clear, pristine, and chilly even in August!

hiking
2 months ago

This loop is great for either: A) a moderate full day loop, or B) as I did it, a leisurely two day hike with an overnight stay at the cove. The camp has numerous sites that are fairly well spaced out, and is pretty well situated for sunsets. You can take a brief walk off trail to get to a nice cliff-side view of Superior and Canada, or even go for a bone-chilling swim. Would definitely come back!

Worth every mosquito bite, leach bite and mud pool crossing. 5 kids and I had a great 3 days backpacking across the island and ended with 3 days of kayaking and boating from the lodge. Definitely bring your water filter, mosquito netting, and some hiking poles for the mud. Captain Bill was a gem.

I completed the loop in 3 days and 2 nights. each day had it's own difficulty.
I took the loop clockwise.
day one windigo to Siskwit Bay was extremely flooded and some parts of the trail were completely understand water. be sure to water proof and bring extra set of clothing. Siskwit Bay was a completely full campsite due to it being a popular spot for boaters to camp after fishing. A group shared their campsite with us and even some of the fish they caught.

Day 2 Siskwit Bay to Feldtman Lake was decent hike except the first two miles were in a marsh and the trail was overgrown. Mosquitoes are huge and don't care how much bug spray or layer of clothes you wear. They fought through and bit anyways. the tower was a great pit stop and photo op. the rest of that day was extremely pleasant.

Feldtman to Windigo was difficult not because the trail was hard but because there was several times the trails forked out it wasn't included in the map. we had to backtrack several times.

backpacking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike.

Most of the trail is hiking through the woods. Near the cove you start hiking near the coast and the views are pretty. Path is pretty well laid out, just narrow.

Sept 2nd to Sept 8th. no bugs. few wolf tracks. lots of moose tracks. saw one moose. trail is wetter than I thought it would be. Rained every afternoon. take rain pants. plants on side of trail stay wet for quite some time. awesome hike. I felt best part of hike was between Look Out Lousie and Ishpeming Point. could see better views.

backpacking
8 months ago

*We only completed the portion from Windigo to Feldtmann Lake as that was where we were camping for the duration of our stay.*

A subtle, intimate hike. It doesn't cross the island, so you're even less likely to run into anyone else (in exchange for fewer overlooks/views out into the island). The Grace Creek Overlook at about 2 miles is especially beautiful, and really the only steep/strenuous part of our hike. The first portion from Windigo takes you along the lakeshore over gnarled roots, while further inland you pass through sections of spruce and enormous ferns.

The 8 mile stretch from Windigo to Feldtmann also puts you close to the .8 mile hike to Rainbow Cove, with a breathtaking panorama of the water.

We spotted 3 Moose during our 3 day, 2 night stay, so hopefully others get just as lucky!

This is a great hike- we did an entire loop of 48 miles back to rock harbor, but a stop at Moskey basin is a must. There were huge white swans and tons of otters! It was a great place to take a break and relax. The night before we stayed at Daisy Farm which was a luxury because there were shelters. My now husband actually proposed to me at Daisy Farm, so I love it there a bit more because of it. Overall, it's a gorgeous hike! We had a blast and would do it again in a heart beat.

I hiked the trail from Windigo to the Daisy Farm Trail in July. 95% of the time, you're surrounded by trees and mosquitos with none of the scenic views people keep raving about. The trail is steep and muddy. The kind of mud that's unavoidable to get through, knee deep, and sucks your boots off. I had bug bites the size of my fist on my legs, and I wore permethrin treated long pants plus insect repellent lotion on my skin.

There's no water source on the trail and no campgrounds either. This particularly is problematic because you're either going to be weighed down by extra water as you go up and down steep hills or you're going to be very dehydrated from all the physical exertion on a trail that gets very hot after 1pm. Temps ranged from 32 to 85F when I was there.

I actually enjoyed my side trips off the Greenstone to either side of the island along Lake Superior. But the Greenstone itself is awful.

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Great trail through the woods. You end up on a (Minong) ridge and get an amazing view of the surroundings. Got to see a moose on my way just after the second turn-ff for Hugginin.

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

backpacking
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Greenstone Ridge is the most beautiful trail I have ever been on. The seclusion and untouched wilderness can't be matched. And seeing a couple moose was pretty cool too.

backpacking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hiked the Greenstone from Windigo to Rock Harbor. Very beautiful with views of Lake Superior and Canada, plus all the lake on Isle Royale. Harder than I thought it would be with all the elevation changes but worth it.

I backpacked this trail from Mt. Ojibway to Lane Cove trail. (2.8 M) Near this intersection it is Mount Franklin. This lookout provided me my greatest memory of the entire trip to Isle Royal. It was between 10PM -midnight which I first saw the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. Simply unforgettable. As mentioned below, there is no access to water in this area so make sure you carry more than what you think you'll need. Enjoy.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Trail is accurately described below. It's not the premiere trail of Isle Royal but a good place to start as it connects with the harbor and ferry. Daisy farms is a roughly 8 miles into this trial and is a great place to stop for the night. Backpacking isn't the only way to experience this trail as canoes and kayaks are available to rent and you can follow the trail on the water.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rock Harbor Trail to Lake Richie is a great trek. Diverse terrain with beautiful views of Lake Superior, mossy forest views, wetland areas, and rocky bluffs. Lake Richie is a quiet lake where you can set up camp on one of the sites and relax on rock slabs at the waters edge watching Loon and duck.

The Greenstone Ridge Trail is the hiking spine of Isle Royale National Park. Spectacular views. Bring plenty of water as there is no access while on the ridge and if it is hot and sunny there is little tree shade so sunscreen and a hat are recommended too. We hiked it from East Chickenbone assent to Mt. Franklin where we exited via Lane Cove Trail the first day and Mt. Franklin Trail on day two.

on Minong Ridge Trail

camping
Friday, September 25, 2015

Tough trail. Lots of ridges, up and down and up and down.

beautiful trail that takes you right along Lake Superior. I would recommend this trail over the greenstone, as the Rock Harbor Trail is far more picturesque. Cairns on the rock faces help to mark the trail. Overall the trail is fairly flat and easy, with the exception of several rock faces which can become very slippery when wet. The rock faces are easy to traverse, but just slow movement a little as it takes more effort to keep balance.

Look for cairns on the lakeshore rock faces, as some areas of the trail are poorly marked.

camping
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Great place to visit. As the Nat'l Park's flagship park and as many visitors in one season as Yellowstone received in one day, Isle Royal is a great hike. If you are looking for campfires stick to the northern campsites and bring comfortable hiking shoes as much of the walking is done on slate rock.

Greenstone ridge is great HiK e!
Pack light ! .

Really Great hiking destination. Stay Hydrated!

hiking
Friday, March 08, 2013

Isle Royale is a special, remote place. If you are willing to make the journey its great!

hiking
Thursday, November 01, 2012

Awesome place!!!!!

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