Explore the most popular camping 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.

Did this with two friends in early August 2017. Had a fantastic time, although this was our first major backpacking trip so we all carried too much food/gear and our packs were all 50+ lbs.
Compared to local Detroit trails, the Greenstone is physically demanding, but compared to most mountain trails, it really isn't that bad. The terrain is never really flat - it's constantly either up or down slope, but it is rarely steep.

We had a lot of fun stargazing and seeing the Perseids meteor shower. There wasn't much light pollution at all, but there were lots of high altitude airplanes flying by, which kind of ruined the remote feeling while stargazing.

The trail goes through multiple types of forests and it goes from easier to harder as you head from West to East.

We did the loop counter-clockwise in 3 days. Trail was exactly what I expect of a backcountry, primitive trail. Low to no maintenance, bring waterproof clothes to avoid getting drenched by morning dew/rain. Bugs were not bad when we were there, but bring a bug net to be safe. Expect muddy spots. Difficulty is comparable to the Superior Hiking Trail.

Day 1 we did Windego to Feldtmann lake. Feldtmann lake is a great place to spot moose, fairly easy hike in, campsites with no picnic tables. Day 2 was Feldtmann lake to Siskwit Bay. There were 2 shelters, individual campsites and a fire ring on the beach. Day 3 was Siskwit Bay back to Windego (Washington Creek). Climb up Sugar Mountain was the most elevation gain of the trip. Campground has 15(ish) shelters along the bay where moose like to feed on seaweed.

Beautiful island! Worth every blister and bug bite!

This is the worst maintained trail I have ever been on. About half of it you are bushwhacking through tall grass and plants. Luckily there was no rain when we were there, but if it had rained you would be soaked from the plants. Seeing a couple of moose was the highlight.

A nice stretch which serves as an alternative to crossing the entire island. Not an especially difficult trail except the length and environmental conditions typical of the region. Downhill grade from the fire tower. It does not appear that many people hike this section. Obviously this trail in not in the vicinity of Mohawk, Michigan as is currently indicated in the description.

Completed loop counter clockwise in 3 days two nights. Trail is tough in terms of rocks and roots so a lot of time is spent looking down instead of enjoying the scenery. Rainbow cove trail near Feldtman Lake is a must. Island mine trail under water in parts so need to hike along “beach”. Mosquitos were not bad. Water clear. Beautiful scenery.

rained 24 hr straight on this section for us

The terrain is actually pretty flat, so the difficulty rating is more based on the distance than the actual trail. It rained for the entire week we were there which made for a challenge. Definitely come prepared for cold and rain. Much of the trail is surrounded by trees, so don't expect epic scenery for the entire hike. Moose are a common sight.

on Lane Cove Trail

backpacking
2 months ago

Probably one of the prettiest campsites I’ve ever seen. Great hike. Backpacked in June 2017

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.

hiking
5 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
9 months ago

Beautiful hike.

10 months ago

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
11 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!

backpacking
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Coming off of the Greenstone Ridge it's very steep and rocky with lots of switchbacks. I almost didn't do this trail because of the "hard" rating. I'm so glad I did anyway! It was my favorite part of Isle Royale. I'm an intermediate hiker at best in average shape. I didn't think it was that bad. The campsites are spectacular! Saw a black fox and moose tracks. The loon calls are magical. Getting back up on the ridge is a little tough but doable and totally worth it.

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.

Great trail between the Daisy Farm campground and the Greenstone ridge; lots of moose habitat along the trail. We descended the trail from the Greenstone ridge on our way to the campground. Noting the habits we passed, we got up early the next morning and hiked part way back up the trail for (successful) moose watching. Descent/ascent of the trail us very doable -- fairly gradual and not very steep.

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

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.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The southern half the 2.4 miles trail is pretty tough as it is coming off of Greenstone Ridge. Not the most scenic of the trails but it takes you to a nice camping area in Lane Cove. The camping area in my opinion is the highlight of this hike. You'll be right on the water with a chance to get into Lake Superior. (extremely cold water btw) The red foxes and squirrels in Lane Cove will steal your food so watch out. :)

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

1.7 mile hike from daisy farm camping area. The tower at the north end of the trial provides the longest and best views and a great place to have lunch. (by far the highlight of the trail. If I recall you can see the Michigan's Upper Peninsula from the tower to the south and Canada to the north. One of the highlights from my trip.

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.

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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nice trail down to Lane Cove and Lane Cove camp which has five sites, all with a great view of the Lane Cove area of Lake Superior. Trail drops quickly from Greenstone Ridge with several switchbacks. Once off the ridge, there is diverse terrain with boardwalks through the wet areas. Moose use the trail too. Loon are plentiful on the water and call throughout the night. Great for sunsets.

on Minong Ridge Trail

camping
Friday, September 25, 2015

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

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