Paddling UP. Grand Island, Presque Isle

I am planning a circumnavigation of Grand Island and am seeking advice. Clockwise or counter clokwise? I was considering counter as I expect the E side is the Leward side and thus easier. What do I expect for camping on the prmitive beaches near the N end. I will be having 10-11 paddlers. Is is worth the circumnavigation or is better to spend more times at the cave on the E side>I am planning 2 days, camping at the N each, getting an early start in the am to go to the N peak and travel down the W windard side .

I will also be dong Presque Isle to Litle Presque Isle and Miners Castle to Spray Falls as two days trips. Any advice one these spots would be appreciated.

West side has few landing spots
I would think it would be a little weather dependent. Very few landings on west side due to sheer cliffs. If you are taking a group of inexperienced paddlers in and the weather doesn’t seem friendly, you may want to stick to the east side. When are you doing the trip?

Grand Island …
… is a beautiful paddling destination, and certainly worth a visit.

I’ve camped at the site on the western side of the tip of Trout Point, and it’s quite nice; the lovely cobblestone cove is quite protected, the site is above the water in the woods, and includes a tall bear pole and a rickety toilet stool nearby. The site is a bit of a scramble up from the water’s edge, and may be a little cozy for 10 campers, but it is quite secluded and in a beautiful setting.

A little further south, at the head of Trout Bay, are a few more sites on a lovely sandy beach and very protected from three sides. I haven’t camped at these, and you may have more visitors or competition for space since a hiking trail leads to them from the central island.

As others have said, the western shore of Grand is comprised of sheer cliffs with few safe landing areas, so should only be done in conditions conducive to the skill level of your party. The Lake is the boss, and we generally count on losing one day out of four due to weather.

A good resource for this trip and many others is “Guide to Sea Kayaking on Lakes Superior and Michigan: The Best Day Trips and Tours” by Bill Newman, Sarah Ohmann, and Don Dimond.

You may also enjoy the travelogue of my paddling trip to the Pictured Rocks and Grand Island in 2006:

Good Luck!


trip in July
Thanks for your advice. We paddled the Apostles last yr and honor the the Lake as the Boss and She was good to us. Did you use charts or the infomation on the availble maps and in the Guide to Sea Kaying Lake Superior. We will not be doing much navigation as we circumnavigate and will have GPS, Radios with us.

Do you have any waypoints for the shipwecks on the E side? Kathy

We typically use a combination of maps photocopied from the guidebooks and from sailing-type nautical charts. As you say, as long as you’re within sight of landmarks, or even if you get socked in by fog and have a good deck compass, you can get around.

I do not use GPS, so I have no waypoints to offer, but the shipwrecks in Murray Bay and NE of Munising are often visible from a kayak, depending on weather conditions.


I was on a glass bottom boat
tour the other day and the iron ore schooner near the island was marked with large white bouys. The USFS has a visitor center. They might be able to tell you there where the approximate vicinity of the shipwrecks are.

Pretty easy to find wreck coordinates if you just google…