Bucket List Adventures: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
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- The Wonder
Hardwood forests and geologic grandeur of Lake Superior's southern coast along the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, from towering sandstone cliffs to soft sand dunes.
- The Adventures
Kayaking, boating, swimming, diving, backpacking, bicycling, hiking, drive-in camping, fishing, shipwrecks, lighthouses, guided tours
- One for the Bucket List
Venture to Miners Castle (pictured just above). The park's eponymous pictured rocks, named for their multi-colored strata, flank about 15 miles of Lake Superior's coast, from Sand Point to Spray Falls. Some vault as high as 200 feet or arch out into the water, creating playgrounds for kayakers. Although you can explore most of the cliffs on your own, Miners Castle has several easily accessible paved trails and overlooks, with some of the best views of the towering rocks.
When visiting, you'll likely notice that cell phone reception within the park can be very spotty or non-existent. On that note, park rangers recommend that only experienced hikers venture off the primary trails, as the forest can be very dense.
To take a boat tour (which can last about three hours), contact the officially authorized park concession: Picture Rock Cruises. For the best photo ops, take a late-afternoon or sunset cruise in late June/early July, when the sun hits the rocks at the most ideal angle and really brings out their colors.
- Seasons and Hours
The park headquarters at Sand Point in Munising is open year round, except on federal holidays. Other visitor centers in the park are open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Guided tours of the Au Sable Lighthouse are offered Wednesday-Sunday, mid-June through mid-September. Boat tours only operate from late spring to early autumn, as the shoreline turns to ice in winter.
- Getting There
The National Lakeshore winds along more than 40 miles of Lake Superior coast, from Munising to Grand Marais, on the northern shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There are a number of roads leading into and through the park. See map.
Average Temps (ºF) High/Low
(temps can vary widely throughout the park)
January - 22/9
April - 46/30
July - 73/54
October - 52/38
Approximate Distance From...
Greenbay, WI - 170 miles
Apostle Islands National Park - 250 miles
Grand Rapids, MI - 360 miles
Chicago, IL - 380 miles
Detroit, MI - 410 miles
Minneapolis, MN - 420 miles
Fill Your Bucket List With Bewilderness
America the beautiful. You got that right. From the skytops of the world's tallest trees to the underwater color-play of tropical reefs, the National Park Service (NPS) oversees hundreds of parks and areas to conserve many of our country's most precious natural wonders.
Fewer than half of the national parks charge entrance fees, which usually range from $5 to $25 (often just per vehicle). Children 16 and under are always admitted for free. Daily fees for camping usually range between $10 and $20 per party.
If you're planning on visiting multiple parks, the NPS also offers America the Beautiful Passes that cover entrance fees at any national park.
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