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Isle Royale Unigrid Brochure

The Isle Royale Unigrid brochure is available in a variety of formats, including Braille, audio-only, and text-only.


Braille Version

To request a Braille version of the Isle Royale Unigrid brochure, contact the park.


Audio Description Version

  • An audio described version of the Isle Royale Unigird brochure can be accessed by downloading the UniDescription app.

  • The UniDescription app is available for free on the iOS platform and Android platform.

  • After downloading the app, access the Isle Royale Unigrid brochure by searching "Isle Royale National Park."


Audio Description Version (Text-Only)

Below is a text-only version of the Isle Royale Unigrid brochure.


OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Isle Royale National Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos and maps, this version interprets the 2-sided color brochure that park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 40 minutes.

Sections The Lake Superior Country to Island Laboratory cover the front of the brochure and include an overview of the park and details about the park’s origin, archeology, flora and fauna, and usage as a laboratory. Sections Royal Beginnings to Getting Here cover the back of the brochure and share information about the geological history, things to see and do, and trip planning information. Other highlights on the back of the brochure include area and park maps and accessibility, safety, and contact information.


OVERVIEW: Isle Royale National Park

In the far northwest corner of Michigan, 56 miles (90 km) across Lake Superior from the Keweenaw Peninsula, and 22 miles from Grand Portage, Minnesota, explore Isle Royale National Park, a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, the island archipelago of Isle Royale offers adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists, and scuba divers. Established in 1940 as part of the National Park Service, Isle Royale became an early park unit dedicated to expanding wilderness and recreation opportunities to an Eastern US population. To visit this remote, and difficult to access park, advanced trip planning is essential. At Isle Royale, amid stunning scenic beauty, you'll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime. Explore more at


OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front side of the brochure introduces the park with color photographs and text. The bottom section of the page contains a large color photograph of a group of rocky islands covered by vegetation and surrounded by water. On the top there are three photographs of animals, one black and white image of a kayaker, a color collage of plants, a location map, and text. A quote from T. Morris Longstreth sets the stage for the text about this archipelago in the Northwest corner of Lake Superior.


IMAGE and QUOTE: The Lake Superior Country

DESCRIBING: A small color photograph of a common loon.

SYNOPSIS: Profile of a bird sitting in water facing left with outstretched wings at a forty five degree angle. The dark black head has a long-pointed beak and a red eye. The neck is black with a narrow white band separating the neck from the head. It's back and the back of the wings are dark while the underside and belly are white.

CAPTION: Common loon

CREDIT: © Dave Ostrom


This shard of a continent becalmed in the green fresh-water sea is indeed royal, isolate, and supreme.

T. Morris Longstreth
The Lake Superior Country, 1924


IMAGE and TEXT: Human change

DESCRIBING: A small, black-and-white image of a person paddling a kayak.

SYNOPSIS: A kayaker floats in water. The view is indistinct, as if a heavy fog has settled over the water. The kayaker is wearing a baseball cap and is looking off a bit left. The paddle is slanted so we see a blade halfway dipped into the water at left. We can’t tell if the boat is coming at us or going away.

CAPTION: Kayaker on Lake Superior

CREDIT: © Thomas and Dianne Jones


From the northwest corner of Lake Superior a rocky archipelago rises. The cold, deep waters of one of the world’s largest lakes both isolate and protect this place. Its distance from the mainland has limited the diversity of species, only those able to make the crossing can call the island home. Humans too must make the crossing, and have been doing so for at least 4,500 years. Isle Royale’s geographic separation protects it from outside influences, but it is not impenetrable. High contaminant levels in inland lakes and reduced winter ice cover remind us that actions elsewhere connect Isle Royale with the rest of the world. However isolated, Isle Royale is not immune to human driven change.


IMAGE and TEXT: From Isolation, Novelty

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a red squirrel.

SYNOPSIS: A close-up photograph of a red squirrel facing left. The squirrel is mostly covered with short, red hair mixed intermittently with black and cream. Perched on a narrow cedar branch, the hunched over squirrel’s bushy tail curves above its small body. The squirrel’s head, featuring a round ear, small, black eye, and pointy nose are focused on the cone in its paws.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The squirrel is mostly covered with short, red hair mixed intermittently with black and cream, except for a line of black hair that stretches from its front left leg to its back left hip, separating the mixed red hair from cream colored hair found on the squirrel’s underside. Perched on a narrow, brown cedar branch with numerous offshoots covered with green, scale-like leaves, the hunched over squirrel’s bushy tail curves above its small body. The squirrel’s head, featuring a round ear, small, black eye, and pointy nose are focused on the cone in its paws.

CAPTION: Isle Royale red squirrel

CREDIT: © John and Ann Mahan


You will see the red squirrel more often than any other mammal on Isle Royale. How did it make the crossing from the mainland? No one knows—but because of its long isolation from its relatives the Isle Royale red squirrel is now considered a subspecies. Smaller and less red than its mainland counterparts, it makes different sounds. Its subspecies name, regalis, regal, suits its self important behavior. Other mammals on Isle Royale, like the American marten, are also genetically distinct from mainland species.


IMAGE and TEXT: Evolving Wilderness

DESCRIBING: A photo of Isle Royale’s rocky Lake Superior shoreline.

SYNOPSIS: A horizontal photograph shows Isle Royale shoreline scenery. The center of the image focuses on a small, rocky island with a central conifer tree pointing to the sky and a second conifer leaning forty five degrees above the water. Lake Superior, with a few faint ripples, stretches across the foreground. Above the horizon and behind the island, ominous grey and black clouds roil across the sky.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A horizontal photograph shows Isle Royale shoreline scenery. The center of the image focuses on a small, rocky island with a central conifer tree pointing to the sky and a second conifer leaning forty five degrees above the water. Trees, shrubs, and other vegetation, half the size or smaller of the main conifer, grow from the rocky island surface. Lake Superior, with a few faint ripples, stretches across the foreground. Above the horizon and behind the island, ominous grey and black clouds roil across the sky. Along the right horizon, conifer and deciduous trees emerge from the photo’s edge, eventually diminishing until a rocky shoreline points into water. This small point of land nearly reaches the leaning tree from the central island. Along the right horizon at the photo’s edge, a rounded rock outcrops from the water. Above and to the left of this rock, a few orange rays of sun emerge from the dark clouds.

CAPTION: Chippewa Harbor

CREDIT: © John and Ann Mahan


Early human crossings of Lake Superior to Isle Royale presented both risks and rewards. Pre contact cultures, and later the Ojibwe, harvested copper deposits, an abundant fishery, and other resources. Commercial fishermen and copper miners, lumberjacks, and lighthouse keepers depended upon the island for their livelihood. Cool summer temperatures and wilderness pursuits enticed vacationers in the early 1900s. Today Isle Royale National Park is a designated wilderness and biosphere reserve, attracting hiking, paddling, and backpacking enthusiasts as well as boaters, divers, and others.


IMAGES and TEXT: Plants Far from Home

IMAGE 1 of 6: Devil’s club

DESCRIBING: A color photo of a devil’s club plant.

SYNOPSIS: The photograph shows the green leaves, brown stem and red berries of a devil’s club plant. One large leaf hangs open towards the front of the image. A brown stem with thorny spikes leads from the leaf to the main stem of the plant. Three other smaller green leaves are connected to the stem. The stem continues upward to multiple smaller stems with red berries on the ends. The arrangement of the red berries on the stem is in a triangular, Christmas tree shape ending in one berry at the top.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A close-up photograph of a devil’s club plant with green palmate leaves that surround a woody stem supporting a conical cluster of red fruits. The four leaves surround the stem, with one leaf situated in the front of the photograph, so the veins that stretch from a central location at its base to various tips are easily seen, along with the sharply pointed lobes and unevenly toothed margins ringing the leaf’s edge. On the top of the plant, the red fruits stretch out along short stems, forming a cone with a pointy top and wider base, where a few of the fruits are yellow. The photograph has been inserted in front of a globe world map image and appears three dimensional.

CAPTION: Disjunct plant species are closely related but widely separated from each other geographically.

CREDIT: © Martha de Jong Lantink

IMAGE 2 of 6: World map

DESCRIBING: A color illustration of the planet Earth showing the range of the plant devil’s club in North America.

SYNOPSIS: A color, three dimensional illustration of the Earth’s Western hemisphere showing the range of devil’s club in North America using red dots. The dots stretch from Alaska south to British Columbia along the Pacific Coast, except for a lone dot on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A color illustration of the Earth’s western hemisphere with red dots showing the range of devil’s club in North America. Earth is represented as a three dimensional globe, with North America oriented in the center, and a label in white reading “Great Lakes”. Oceans surrounding North America are blue, while Canada, the United States, and Mexico vary in color from light yellow to green, with a white landmass in the far north. The dots stretch from Alaska south to British Columbia along the Pacific Coast, except for a lone dot on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

CAPTION: Range of devil’s club


IMAGE 3 of 6: Great Lakes Map

DESCRIBING: An illustrated map of Isle Royale and its orientation to the Great Lakes region of North America.

SYNOPSIS: An illustrated map showing the Great Lakes and surrounding land areas in the United States and Canada. Isle Royale is shown on the map with a red dot. The boundaries of the states and provinces are not shown and are not identified.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A map illustration of the five North American Great Lakes, which are light blue, and Isle Royale in Lake Superior, which has a green outline, tan land, and a red dot on it. The surrounding land is a light tan gradient, so the blue color of the Great Lakes is highlighted. There are five map labels, reading from left to right: “Isle Royale” with white lettering and a black background and arrow pointing towards an island; “Great” in Lake Superior; “United States” in the lower peninsula of Michigan; “Canada” in Ontario; and “Lakes” in Lake Huron.

CAPTION: Great Lakes map with Isle Royale National Park


IMAGE 4 of 6: Thimbleberry

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a thimbleberry plant.

SYNOPSIS: A photo of a portion of a thimbleberry plant showing one green leaf and 3 berries. Two of the berries are dark red and ripe, the 3rd berry is light pink and not yet ripe.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A close-up photograph of a thimbleberry plant with one leaf and three berries. The three berries, whose texture resembles the small, collective circles found on a sewing thimble, are situated to the left of the leaf; the bottom two berries are deep red, while the one above them is white. One of the ripe berries hangs down and to the left of the other 2. Pointy, white parts of the plant irregularly surround each berry. The large, green leaf has three pointed lobes, veins that stretch from the leaf’s base to its tip, and a finely toothed edge.

CAPTION: Thimbleberry

CREDIT: © Tony Ernst

IMAGE 5 of 6: Three-toothed saxifrage

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a three-toothed saxifrage plant.

SYNOPSIS: The saxifrage has three delicate white flowers with reddish orange spots. Each flower has 5 petals of equal size. One of the flowers is open facing forward and the other 2 are in the background.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A close-up photograph of a three-toothed saxifrage plant with three flowers. The flowers, which face different angles from a shared stem, each have five white petals with reddish orange dots throughout, and light yellow stamens with red tips that stretch out from the flower’s center. Two green buds hang beneath the flowers.

CAPTION: Three-toothed saxifrage


IMAGE 6 of 6: Northern paintbrush

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a northern paintbrush plant.

SYNOPSIS: The light yellow green paintbrush flower is on the top of a brown stem with green alternating leaves. The tightly packed petals of the flower grow upwards in a spike shape. The plant’s bottom half has three or four outstretched, pointed, green leaves that are alternately arranged on a woody stem.

CAPTION: Northern paintbrush

CREDIT: © Mark Egger


Some plant species that thrive along Isle Royale’s cooler shores are not typically found this far south. Northern paintbrush and three-toothed saxifrage, both arctic disjuncts, were probably stranded when the last continental ice sheet retreated. Other species, like Isle Royale’s iconic thimbleberry shrub, are western disjuncts. Thimbleberry is typically found west of the Rocky Mountains.


IMAGE and TEXT: Island Laboratory

DESCRIBING: A vertical color photograph of a moose.

SYNOPSIS: A large bull moose with antlers stands in shallow snow. The moose has dark brown fur covering the head and body with lighter brown fur on the lower legs. His head is turned slightly to the left with ears up as if listening to a sound. A dark brown eye is open. The top tines of the antlers and the back right leg fade into the background. There is a small bit of snow on his snout and antler.


CREDIT: © Carl Lindbloom


Scientist Durward Allen, who founded the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study in 1958, expressed one value of islands as laboratories when he described them as places “where the animals you are counting and studying do not wander away.”

Isle Royale’s isolation shapes its ecosystem. It excludes some species. Others arrive by chance. Some that could make the trip rarely do so. As a result, less than half of the over forty mammal species on the surrounding mainland have populations on Isle Royale today. Fewer species result in fewer relationships among species—creating opportunities for research and long-term monitoring in a relatively simple ecosystem.

Studies on the island have increased our understanding of predator prey interactions and their cascading effects on other species. Monitoring of bird and fish populations, water levels, and water quality sheds light on the consequences of global changes. Research revealing a rainbow of colors in the island’s garter snake population rekindles our wonder for the vibrancy of the natural world.

Nothing stays the same for very long on an island. A little over a hundred years ago, a survey of Isle Royale’s mammals would have resulted in a list quite different from the present one. Moose would be noticeably absent. Caribou would represent the large prey species, while coyote and lynx would serve as the predators.

This ecosystem may not be as simple as it first appears. On Isle Royale, a world within our world, all life exists in a dynamic web.


OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back of the brochure contains the park map, an explanation of the geological formation of the park, sections describing how geology affects what is above and below the water, and basic trip planning information. The topographic park map is featured in the center of the brochure with the island oriented from the bottom left to the upper right according to how the island is situated in Lake Superior. The Royal Beginnings section contains text, an illustration of ridge and valley topography and an aerial image of the northeast end of Isle Royale. The Above the Shoreline and Under the Water sections have descriptive text with color and historic photographs of island scenes. On the bottom is a small inset map showing the location of Isle Royale in Lake Superior.


IMAGE and TEXT: Royal Beginnings

IMAGE 1 of 2: Background island topography

DESCRIBING: A color illustration of a section of land surrounded by islands.

SYNOPSIS: A color illustration of a section of green and yellow land surrounded by islands of the same color. There are textural distinctions in the land that suggest changing topography. Light blue water surrounds the land and islands.

CAPTION: Part of the main island, Isle Royale, and its surrounding islands.


IMAGE 2 of 2: Cross-section illustration

DESCRIBING: A diagram showing the tilted rock layers of Isle Royale

SYNOPSIS: A drawing of a cross-section diagram that shows five tilted rock columns of various widths sloping into and below a Lake Superior horizontal water line. These columns, or basalt rock layers, slope into the water at about 45 degrees. The basalt layers angle out of the Lake Superior water line to different elevations, representing the distinctive valley and ridge topography of Isle Royale.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A drawing of a cross-section diagram that shows five tilted rock columns of various widths sloping into and below a Lake Superior horizontal water line. The boundary between columns is drawn with rough, dark lines that slightly wobble. These columns, or basalt rock layers, slope into the water at about 45 degrees from left to right. The layers exposed above the horizontal water line are brighter, while those below are murkier and less distinct. The basalt layers angle out of the Lake Superior water line to different elevations, representing the distinctive valley and ridge topography of Isle Royale. The central layer’s highest tip is labeled “ridge.” The lowest V between two layers is labeled “valley,” and a fish silhouette hovers just below the water line in this “valley.” A solitary conifer silhouette grows in one valley. Sloping rock layers on either side of the five main basalt layers gradually fade into the blue, Lake Superior background.

CAPTION: Cross-section of Isle Royale’s ridge and valley topography, formed by tilted basalt layers.



One billion years ago, Earth’s crust ripped open here and released lava, which hardened into a slab of basalt rock. This cycle repeated more than four hundred times over millions of years, creating a giant layer cake of rock. Later, massive geologic forces cracked and shifted the basalt layers, tilting them upward (see illustration at right).

Huge, miles thick ice sheets advanced and retreated during the last three million years. The crushing, dragging action of the ice cut deep gouges into the softer rock in between the harder basalt layers. As the last major glacier retreated from the region around 11,000 years ago, it left a pattern of parallel ridges and valleys.

A deep basin surrounding the rock layers trapped the glacier’s melting ice. Meltwater filled the basin, creating one of Earth’s largest lakes and immersing all but the upper edges of some layers. These “shards of the continent” that rise from Lake Superior form the Isle Royale archipelago. Despite the islands’ isolation from the mainland by the lake’s deep, icy water, life took hold.


IMAGES and TEXT: Above the Shoreline

IMAGE 1 of 6: Bird’s Eye view of a jagged coastline

DESCRIBING: A very high bird’s eye view of a light green land mass with a jagged coastline, with two long and slim islands off to the right.

IMAGE 2 of 6: Exposed shoreline

DESCRIBING: A small, color image of an exposed shoreline.

SYNOPSIS: A blue body of water ends in the horizon under a partly cloudy light blue sky. A rocky layered outcropping covered with lichen patches rises at lower left, balanced by a thick evergreen peninsula jutting in from upper right.

CAPTION: Explore rugged, exposed shoreline.

CREDIT: © Tom Bean

IMAGE 3 of 6: Sugar maple leaf

DESCRIBING: A small, color image of a maple leaf.

SYNOPSIS: An orange yellow tri lobed sugar maple leaf, with visible veins. The edges end in about 4 sharp points per lobe.

CAPTION: Sugar maples densely cover some upland slopes.

CREDIT: © Virens

IMAGE 4 of 6: Side profile of island

DESCRIBING: A small, color image of an island.

SYNOPSIS: A close-up of the long side of a skinny island with a rocky, gray base and orange lichens above. A line of short trees extends along most of the island.

CAPTION: More than 600 types of lichen, grow on exposed bedrock and dangle beardlike from trees.

CREDIT: © Raymond T. Dumas

IMAGE 5 of 6: Paper birch bark

DESCRIBING: A small, color image of birch bark.

SYNOPSIS: A narrow rolled white cylinder of paper birch bark vertically abuts a looser, wider white cylinder of bark. The latter has approximately 10 horizontal lines, each starting dark and ending light gray on the right. At the bottom of the right cylinder, the brown underside of the bark is visible.

CAPTION: Paper birch is among the first trees to colonize areas newly opened up by fire or windthrow.


IMAGE 6 of 6: Pitcher plant

DESCRIBING: A small, color image of a pitcher plant.

SYNOPSIS: A tightly packed base of short green and crimson leaves surround a single tall skinny green stem rising vertically to a deep purple petaled flower.

CAPTION: Floating bogs support the carnivorous pitcher plant.

CREDIT: © Mike Wang


As the last continental ice sheet retreated across the region, it helped create the set of conditions in which life developed. It left glacial till on the main island’s southwestern end and scoured the northeastern end. Resulting habitats range from ridges and uplands to swamps and lakes; gentle, sun warmed slopes to steep, shaded, lichen-covered drops.

Notice how the forest composition changes as you climb from the shoreline toward the Greenstone Ridge. The boreal forest of spruce, balsam fir, and paper birch gives way to a deciduous forest. As you continue to move inland, temperatures rise, and trees such as sugar maple and red oak, which prefer warmer conditions, thrive.

Wetlands nestled in Isle Royale’s narrow valleys hum with beaver activity. Carnivorous plants abound in floating bogs. Long isolated inland lakes are home to native mussels, giant sponges, and species of fish not found in Lake Superior.


MAP and TEXT: Wild Archipelago

DESCRIBING: Topographic map of Isle Royale National Park

SYNOPSIS: A topographic map of Isle Royale, oriented diagonally from lower left to upper right. The island archipelago in Lake Superior is about 50 miles long and 9 miles wide. The Windigo Visitor Center is located at the wider, southwest end and the Rock Harbor Visitor Center is at the narrower northeast end. The Greenstone Ridge runs down the center of the island’s length. Other smaller ridges are Minong to the north and Feldtmann to the south. Docking locations, destinations, routes, and times are given for private boat, public ferry and seaplane access. Natural features such as harbors, bays, inland lakes, and small adjacent islands are identified. Symbols mark locations of 165 miles of hiking trails, ranger stations, marinas, stores, meals and lodging, overnight and day use docks, 36 campgrounds, 4 lighthouses, mountains, mines, and lookout towers.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The wayfinding map titled “Wild Archipelago” features the large island, Isle Royale, and many smaller islands surrounding it. The large island resembles a long and narrow ship. It is oriented southwest to northeast at a 45 degree angle. The island is in the northwestern part of Lake Superior in Michigan surrounded by the lake on all sides. The island is approximately 50 miles long and 9 miles at its widest point. The park consists of 210 square miles of land and 640 square miles of water, totaling 850 square miles.

There are two seasonal Visitor Centers accessible by ferry, boat, or seaplane located in Windigo and Rock Harbor. The Windigo Visitor Center is located on the southwest side of the archipelago at the terminus of Washington Harbor, amenities include: ranger station, marina, store, self-guided nature trail, food and lodging, showers, overnight docking, and camping. The Rock Harbor Visitor Center is located along the northeast edge of the archipelago, amenities include: ranger station, marina, store, trails, showers, lodging, restaurant, and camping. There are two additional seasonal ranger stations at Amygdaloid Island and Malone Bay.

Seasonal transportation access can be obtained from the North Shore of Minnesota and the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. 165 miles of trails are primarily accessed at Windigo and Rock Harbor with other trailheads accessible by boat. Hiking trails follow along the Minong Ridge at the northwest, the Greenstone Ridge along the middle, and the Feldtmann Ridge Loop to the southwest. Additional spurs off the ridge trails lead to Lake Superior. 36 campgrounds accessed by boat or on foot are along the Lake Superior shoreline and the park's interior.

Following the archipelago clockwise, there are 4 lighthouses: Rock of Ages Lighthouse at the southwest end, Passage Island Lighthouse northeast of the island, Rock Harbor Lighthouse at the southwest entrance to Rock Harbor Channel, and Isle Royale Lighthouse off the island’s south shore on Menagerie Island.

Following the archipelago clockwise, there are 3 fire towers: Feldtmann Fire Tower on the Feldtmann Ridge in the southwest, Ishpeming Fire Tower on the Greenstone Ridge at the intersection of the Ishpeming Trail, and Mount Ojibway Fire Tower on the Greenstone Ridge north of Daisy Farm Campground.

The Greenstone Ridge, stretching from the southwest to the northeast, is the main topographical feature of the island. High points along the Greenstone Ridge include: Sugar Mountain (1,329 feet), Mount Desor (1,394 feet), Ishpeming Point (1,365 feet), Mount Siskiwit (1,181 feet), Mount Ojibway (1,132 feet), and Mount Franklin (938 feet). Over 50 interior lakes, the largest being Siskiwit Lake, are found across the island. The chain of lakes stretching from McCargoe Cove on the north shore to Chippewa Harbor on the south shore are commonly used by paddlers. The northeast end of the island is composed of numerous harbors, bays, and coves which create fjord-like scenery. Lake Superior is at an elevation of 601 feet.


An archipelago is a group or chain of islands. Isle Royale National Park is made up of more than 400 small islands

  • MAP detail: Transportation

    IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Seasonal transportation access can be obtained from the North Shore of Minnesota and the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. From Grand Portage, Minnesota, the daytrip ferry Sea Hunter III travels to Windigo (1.5 hours one way). From Grand Portage, Minnesota, the overnight ferry Voyageur II circumnavigates the island on a two day schedule stopping at several docks, including an overnight in Rock Harbor (travel times vary from 2 to 7 hours one way). From Copper Harbor, Michigan, the daytrip ferry Isle Royale Queen IV travels to Rock Harbor (3 hours and 45 minutes one way). From Houghton, Michigan, the overnight ferry Ranger III travels to Rock Harbor (6 hours one way). The Isle Royale Seaplanes service departs from Grand Marais, Minnesota and Hancock, Michigan, servicing Windigo and Rock Harbor (25 to 45 minutes one way).

  • MAP detail: Campgrounds

    IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Following the archipelago clockwise, there are 36 campgrounds: Washington Creek, Beaver Island (dock access), Grace Island (dock access), Huginnin Cove, North Desor, South Desor, Little Todd, Hatchet Lake, Todd Harbor (dock access), McCargoe Cove (dock access), West Chickenbone, East Chickenbone, Birch Island (dock access), Pickerel Cove, Belle Isle (dock access), Lane Cove, Duncan Bay (dock access), Duncan Bay Narrows (dock access), Merritt Lane (dock access), Rock Harbor (marina access), Tookers Island (dock access), Three Mile (dock access), Caribou Island (dock access), Daisy Farm (dock access), Moskey Basin (dock access), Lake Richie, Lake Richie Canoe (paddle access only), Chippewa Harbor (dock access), Intermediate Lake (paddle access only), Lake Whittlesey (paddle access only), Wood Lake (paddle access only), Malone Bay (dock access), Hay Bay (dock access), Island Mine, Siskiwit Bay (dock access), and Feldtmann Lake.

IMAGE: Blake Point

DESCRIBING: An aerial color photograph of the northeast tip of Isle Royale.

SYNOPSIS: The image shows an aerial view above the northeast tip of Isle Royale. The perspective is looking southwest showing the archipelago receding into the distance. The islands are green and gray, surrounded by dark blue water.

CAPTION: Blake Point at Isle Royale’s eastern end, viewed from the air.

CREDIT: © E. Neil Harri


IMAGES and TEXT: Under the Water

IMAGE 1 of 5: Three people standing on a boat

DESCRIBING: A vertical black and white photograph of people standing in a boat.

SYNOPSIS: The black and white historic photograph depicts a man, a boy, and a girl standing in one end of a boat. The man is holding a large lake trout that extends from his waist to his feet. The man is wearing a cap and overalls with a dark shirt. To the man’s left, the boy is wearing overalls. To the man’s right, the young girl is wearing a dark long-sleeve shirt, white skirt, and knit cap.

CAPTION: A giant lake trout from Lake Superior’s icy, oxygen-rich waters.

CREDIT: North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum

IMAGE 2 of 5: Coaster Brook Trout

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a coaster brook trout.

SYNOPSIS: A color photograph of a coaster brook trout facing left. It has a long, lustrous, tapered body that is dark green with many small gold spots. The mouth is slightly open. There is a large, gold fin on the top, three orange fins on the bottom, and a gold tail fin.

CAPTION: Coaster brook trout can weigh up to ten pounds.

CREDIT: US Fish and Wildlife

IMAGE 3 of 5: Rock ridge surrounded by water

DESCRIBING: A vertical color photograph of a rocky outcropping.

SYNOPSIS: The photograph shows a rocky ridge surrounded by shallow water. Underwater rocks are visible because of Lake Superior’s clear water. The water color changes based on the lake depth, from brown at the shallowest, to green, then to blue at the deepest.

CAPTION: See ridge and valley topography through the lake’s crystal-clear water.

CREDIT: Carl Terhaar

IMAGE 4 of 5: Two people with a canoe

DESCRIBING: A black and white photograph of two people carrying a canoe.

SYNOPSIS: A historic photograph of a man and a woman carrying a birch bark canoe through calm, shallow water. The man is holding a crossbeam near the front of the canoe. The woman on the opposite side is holding a crossbeam near the rear of the canoe with one hand; with the other hand, she is lifting her dress out of the water. The man is wearing long pants, a light colored, long sleeved shirt, and a hat. The woman is wearing an ankle length dress and a hat.

CAPTION: Hauling a canoe ashore.

CREDIT: Minnesota Historical Society

IMAGE 5 of 5: Panoramic on islands

DESCRIBING: A color, panoramic photograph of a long shoreline and smaller islands.

SYNOPSIS: A color, panoramic photograph showing Isle Royale’s long, forested shoreline and numerous distant, smaller islands. The lake is calm. In the distance, dark clouds stretch along the horizon with the sun’s rays peeking through.

CAPTION: Islands upon islands on the horizon.

CREDIT: QT Luong/Terra Galleria


The park’s boundary stretches 4.5 miles from the archipelago’s edges into Lake Superior. Over 75 percent of Isle Royale’s 850 square miles is underwater, and the ridge and valley topography that defines life on land continues uninterrupted. Varying water depths result in a wide range of water temperatures. These affect water currents and contribute to Isle Royale’s diverse fishery––which includes over 60 species.

Generations of North Shore Ojibwe fished here before the American Fur Company arrived and set up commercial fishing posts in 1837. Small family owned fisheries also once dotted these shores.

Non native species like sea lamprey threaten the diversity of the Isle Royale fishery. Other invasives too, animals, plants, diseases, challenge the survival of organisms native to these waters.

The protection of native species depends upon our actions, not only in Isle Royale National Park, but around the globe.


MAP and TEXT: Getting Here

DESCRIBING: A color map of Isle Royale National Park’s location in northwestern Lake Superior.

SYNOPSIS: The map shows all of Lake Superior and the surrounding mainland areas of Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. Isle Royale is located in northwestern Lake Superior. The four mainland locations with ferry or seaplane access to travel to the park are shown. City names and highways on the mainland surrounding Lake Superior are identified.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The map shows all of Lake Superior and the surrounding mainland areas of Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada. Isle Royale is located in northwestern Lake Superior in Michigan. Blue dashes denote ferry or seaplane connections from Grand Portage and Grand Marais, Minnesota, and Houghton and Copper Harbor, Michigan across Lake Superior to Isle Royale. City names are listed in black and major highways are shown in red.

A north arrow is slightly angled to the left. A scale shows 50 kilometers and 50 miles. Two other regional national parks, Grand Portage National Monument in Minnesota and Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan, are labeled.

CAPTION: A map of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, showing mainland locations and routes in which one can travel to this island park.



The park is open April 16 through October. Public transportation is by boat or seaplane only. Reservations are always required. Passenger ship service is available from Copper Harbor and Houghton, Michigan, and Grand Portage, Minnesota. Seaplane service is available from Houghton, Michigan. See the park website for more information.


TEXT: Customs

US citizens returning from Canada and Canadian visitors to the park are required to clear US Customs at Windigo and Rock Harbor ranger stations.


TEXT: For Your Safety And To Preserve Your Island Wilderness

  • No pets within park boundaries.
  • No wheeled vehicles (except wheelchairs), bicycles, or portaging devices on trails.
  • Observe park wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. Keep wildlife wild; secure your food.
  • Enjoy the thrill of discovery, but leave all park resources where you find them for others to experience.
  • Permits are required for all overnight stays at park campgrounds, docks, and anchorages. The park is remote. Plan carefully and exercise caution to prevent accidents or injuries.
  • Lake Superior waters are dangerously cold and unpredictable.
  • Boaters should carry appropriate lake charts. Many shoals and reefs are hazardous to navigate.
  • Stay hydrated. All water not from a spigot must be treated by filtering or boiling.

TEXT: Fishing

A fishing license is not requried for inland lakes, ponds, and streams, but you must have a Michigan license for all Lake Superior waters.


TEXT: Firearms

For firearms regulations check the park website.


TEXT: Emergencies

Check the park website for current emergency numbers.


OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We are continually working to upgrade facilities and improve park access for visitors. While not all facilities are fully accessible, park rangers are happy to assist visitors. Prior to your visit, call or check our website for accessibility information.


OVERVIEW: More Information

Isle Royale National Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs in America's communities, visit

Start your Isle Royale National Park adventure by visiting or contacting the park at:

ADDRESS: 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931

PHONE: 906-482-0984



Last updated: December 12, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


906 482-0984

Contact Us