nature trips



kid friendly

Welcome to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, America's first National Lakeshore. Unlike any other place on Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks offers the opportunity to explore miles of pristine beaches, hike over 100 miles of trails, and experience the serenity of the northern hardwood forest. In the spring, a new world appears along trails carpeted with the soft beauty of wildflowers. Summer gives way to warm basking days. Blinking lights of orange, red, and yellow signal the wonder of change in autumn. In the winter, the raw windy beauty of snow frequents the days though periodically the snow blazes forth with sunlight. Take time to experience and learn about the different worlds of Pictured Rocks, a mosaic of colors, textures, and sights. Enjoy your stay!

8 days ago

This segment was my favorite hike of Pictured rocks.

If you're not doing this as part of the backpacking trail, but just doing a day hike out and back, start at the North Country Trailhead instead of the Miners Beach trailhead, and you can avoid the kayak rental/tours crowd. Then, just skip the Mosquito Beach part on the other side, and turn around before the descent to the river.

The only "moderate" part of the trail is the climb from the beach to the top of the cliffs on either end. Once you get to the top, you've got 6 miles or so of essentially flat hiking.

Also, pay close attention to the little offshoot trails. Aside from those going to the backpackers campground, they all lead to a cool view or feature.

The marshy forest to the south/southeast of the trail is fairly interesting too. There were some nice fern forests, and some fairly open forests of maple and birch. Not the best examples in Pictured Rocks but still a cool, biologically-diverse area.

For those backpacking through the area, the campground, which I think was called Potato, or something like that, was ok, there were three or four campsites up there, and the usual pit toilet. Unfortunately, the camping sites are all directly next to or surrounded by marsh, which meant lots of mosquitoes. If you're in the off season it might be a great campsite, in the summer, I'd avoid staying still too long. On the plus side, if you read below, there's a nice place to rinse off nearby.

**Spoiler alert**
Coming from west to east, one of the first offshoots you reach takes you to a fairly spectacular vernal (I think) waterfall, which you can hike under. While we were there, there was a smaller (very little water) fall about 10 feet away that was light enough we could stick our heads in it. The main falls were far too powerful to risk that, but were a lot of fun to watch from behind them (and you're still up a fairly steep descent to where you would not want to lose your footing).

About (I'm guessing here) halfway, there's a nice sand beach, except at the edge of the sand there's a 80-120 (also guessing this height, I didn't have a altimeter) foot drop before the water. This area is not at all safe and no one should go out on it. We really enjoyed sun bathing for a while, laying in the sand and peering over the edge. There were no black flies up that high, so it was the only place we were really able to enjoy a beach feel. However, there was a good bit of poison ivy, so be careful before getting down to just your bikini.

Finished this trail in mid-June, so this may not apply during other times, but at least at this point, the lower segments of the trail are quite miserable. The Mosquite Falls segment in particular was mostly hiking through standing water and mud, though it hadn't rained in the time we'd been at pictured rocks, so I'd hate to try it right after a rain. The standing water of course made for fertile breeding grounds for the already bad mosquito problems.

If you avoid that area, however, the beach is quite beautiful (though it seems to be fairly hit or miss as to whether or not you'll be swarmed with biting black flies), and the view from the higher segments of trail, especially along the north country trail, are great.

easy hike..best lighthouse keeper I have ever met. Her son was in the artic and showed us some of his pictures. seen a few deer on the way to this. was raining the day we had decided to go, but all around beautiful.

stunning views. went in the fall so not nearly as busy as I imagine it is during the summer. very easy...some stairs. Beautiful falls, especially in the fall!

great trail. very well traveled. lots of great opportunities to take some awesome photos.

3 day backpacking trip, 40+ miles. Amazing hiking trails and scenery. Trails are well marked and camping sites along the trail are good. Never really too far from a water source. Make sure it's been dry for a while. Trail can get very sloppy.

Amazing views and a wide variety of natural features.

This was an incredible trip. Went the week before Thanksgiving, met one person on the trail and the weather was around 30-40 degrees. Did a 10 mile hike to the coast then along the coast and back. The scenery was beautiful.

Hiked Pictured Rocks 2 times now. Both times Grand Marais to Munising. Hiked beginning or May and mid September. Both hikes were amazing and wonderful. If you are going to hike Pictured Rocks you have to do the whole time, don't start at beaver creek or the chapel region. That is not due justice to this amazing and natural beauty. Almost all the campsites I've stayed at were great (au sable, coves, beaver creek, mosquito, chapel, pine bluff, seven mile creek) with the exception of cliffs (pretty lame and no clean water). The eastern half is sandy, dunes, hardwood forest and mostly uneventful from Michigan landscape. when you reach 12 mile beach you start to enjoy Lake Superior and may even take a swim, both times I went (May and September) I froze! The sites with creeks or streams are excellent. Once you get to coves (25ish miles into trip) you start really getting into the heart of pictured rocks. The views are astounding and chapel/mosquito areas are amazing. The side hikes in the area don't disappoint, although they can be muddy after a spring thaw. The trail after miners castle isn't very pleasant either with no access to water and swampy conditions that almost require a boardwalk for roughly the 8 miles back to Munising. The trail gets confusing in the cross-country skiing area after standpoint.

Overall one of my favorite hikes. I usually take 5 days to enjoy the sights and nature. Can be done in 3 if you are quick. Only downside of chapel/mosquito area is no campfires, the pit toilets are a reward though!