Isle Royale

Seeking info on Isle Royale. What are the camp sites like/ shelters? I am planning on a group of 10 people who do not like to share tents. How many people does the shelter accomidate? Are they easy to get? What is the protocol for reserving campsites? What is the scenery like? bugs? How rough is the water? Any experience with the ferry to get there? I would appreciate any advice.


Info Link
Most of your questions can be answered here:

There is a lot of good information there and

specifics about camping can be found on the IR national park site.

With a group of 10 you will be required to stay at group sites which require reservations. I think the group sites are tent only, no shelters.

The $10 National Geographic waterproof topo map is worth buying.

Bugs…depends on when you go… the later the better.

Have fun :slight_smile: I’ll be heading out with 4 friends Sept. 12-19


Isle Royale is beautiful!
I backpacked there about 8 years ago and it was so beautiful! Imagine lying in your tent and being gently woken by the sound of loons- go outside your tent to find a fog covered bay with loon calls drifting out of it.

The shelters are decent sized- though probably not quite big enough for ten. Unlike Adirondack type shelters they are enclosed with screen and have a door.

You’ll probably find that your folks are going to have to share tents. Isle Royale is a busy place and sites can be a coveted commodity. The general rule is eight people or two tents per site- double check, but I think that’s right. I’m not sure what the rule is for group camping.

The ferry from Houghton, MI takes about 6 hours and is a nice ride.

Also highly recommend …
… this book:

The authors outline every landmark and campsite along the island’s 130 miles of shoreline, with additional info on weather, ferry service, etc…

Here’s someone else’s write-up on paddling there:

My wife and I hiked a few miles of the island on our visit there last year, and paddled a canoe on Tobin Harbor. Looks like a paddler’s paradise, and I’m planning a trip there next year. Lemme know how yours goes!

Good Luck!


Camping rules…

The limit for the lean-to’s is 6. I’m not sure what the tent limit is, but the sites are small. Any group over 6 is supposed to be using group sites by reservation. I’m assuming those sites are more spacious.

A good book is Isle Royale National Park Foot Trails and Water Routes by Jim DuFresne.

Isle Royale Questions
What ferry do you plan on taking?

After Labor Day, the schedules change.

Also, the stay limit at campsites goes away.

If you are planning on doing the group thing, you may be restricted to certain campsites that have group campsites.

Not knowing your level of experience, make sure you plan on being windbound if you are paddling the Lake, winds and storms increase there in the Fall.

The shelters are nice, particularly on rainy days.

Groups are not supposed to use the shelters.

Group campsites need to be reserved in advance, though this may not be true after Labor Day. You register yout itinerary and get camping permits either on the Ranger if that is what you are taking or at Rock Harbor or Windigo.

Individual campsites/shelters are first come first serve.

The Isle Royale Forums suggestion is a Good source for info.