Paddling around Grand Island,MI help?

Planning a trip around the island. I am an experienced kayaker looking for any kind of input about this trip. Anyone out there that has done this please relay any helpful info. Good camping spots…how was your trip… did you paddle over to pictured rocks… any comments are welcome. Thanks for your help!!

I paddled through the area and stopped on a southern point of the island for lunch. I paddled along Pictured Rocks to Sand Point and crossed to an old wooden lighthouse on the eastern side of Grand Island. The light is worth seeing. There are designated campsites on the island, so you should get a hold of the information center in Munising for permits and more info. For what I could see the island looks like it has lots of cliffs and sandstone features to checkout. I highly recommend Pictured Rocks, it was one of the many highlights on a 45-day, 800-mile trip that I just finished.

Here’s more info for you:

Thanks for info
Thanks. really appreciate your input! Will call munising visitor center tomorrow.

If you go…
…plan on skipping the weekends as the sites may all be in use. OTOH during the week and on Sunday evening, you might have things pretty much to yer self.

Murray Bay on the south side is well protected and the water can be pretty warm. However the north and north west shores will obviously leave you espoused and I’m not sure about where you can actually get out and camp. You will really have to watch the weather.

Also you probably know that the Grand Island bears can get mighty hungry and all your scented stuff & chow will have to be kept in the provided bear-proof containers.

And when you head back to Munising, consider checking out Main Street Pizza. When I was there several years ago, the pizza was great.

In addition to the previously mentioned Murray Bay, there are also several good campsites on the water in Trout Bay, on the north side of the island’s ‘thumb’. These sites provide bear boxes for food. DO use them–on our last visit to Grand Island, we saw the fresh tracks of a 250-lb. bruin.

The western shore also has a few campsites, but these are higher up on a limestone ledge, and will involve a bit of a carry.

I suggest you obtain a map of the Hiawatha Water Trail, which passes through the area:

Here’s a write-up of one of our visits to Pictured Rocks and Grand Island:

Have a good trip!


Trout Bay…
…is great. It’s big and the camp sites are nicely spread out. I had a brand new tent and left it for a 45 minute daytime stroll. Came back and found that a bear had given it a new side vent… just enough for a “scratch & sniff”. Now if there had been a single crumb inside the tent I probably couldn’t have patched it with some tape:)

Unfortunately for the bear, park rangers had to shoot it as it had learned to associate humans with food.

During that same trip I saw some folks with a dog dump some puppy chow on the beach. Now I wonder what critter finished up what the dog left?

Grand Island

– Last Updated: Jul-05-11 11:26 PM EST –

Check out my trip report posted on the places to paddle section of this site.

It may sound like sacrilege to say this but I liked circumnavigating Grand Island better than touring pictured rocks. Both are great, but I thought the shore of Grand Island was just as spectacular without the tourists.

We camped at four spots on Grand Island, Trout, Murray, North Beach and there is a small beach on the channel and that was a cool spot.

PM me if you have any specific questions.


awesome info!
Thanks so much for the helpful info! Trip begins thursday morn. Cant wait!! thanks again. PS, did you guys wear a wetsuit?

Our trip was later in August, at the peak of the water temps. We all had wetsuits and dry gear and used it on one overcast and crappy day 15 mile paddle with 4-6 ft seas and beaming wind.

I mostly wore my dry top and dry pants, vs a wet suit. The water was warm by Lake Superior standards, but still very chilly, especially under the top 10 inches of water. We did do some swimming from our camp beaches when the sun was out and bathed in the evenings, but when the sun went down it cooled dramatically. Evening relaxing was jackets and long pants. Night time brought out the thermal underwear even in August.

I had a thin…
…wet suit, which I never wore as it was warmer than average that year. And now I hate my wet suit and when I return to Superior in a few weeks, I’ll be using a dry suit… so much better.

Lake Superior
Lake Superior is always cold, and the temperature can (and does) change rather quickly. Surface temps are one thing, and good point that slightly below the surface the water can be much colder. I usually paddle that lake in a dry suit, so yes - wet suit, at least.