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Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale is one of the least visited National Park in the middle of Lake Superior.  Have you any suggestions on logistics with boat schedules?  What time of year is best to avoid mosquitos or see moose and wolves?

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There are two boat routes.  One from Grand Portage, MN and one from Copper Harbor, MI.  We took the Grand Portage boat because the route over Lake Superior is shorter.  Double check your times because the Island is in Michigan and is in EST.  Depending where you are coming from the drive to Minnesota or Michigan might be shorter or longer.   There is a camp ground about a mile south of the boat launch which was convient for a overnight stay before the boat ride.   The boat from Grand Portage usually goes around the island with lots of stops.  The schedules are very extensive, so you have to choose what works for you.  We did see Moose but the wolves are very elusive. Mosquito's are very prevalent most of the summer in the wooded areas.  Many of the campsites do have screened sleeping areas.  

Isle Royale is one of my favorite places. I have hiked that island end-to-end multiple times. I always catch the boat from Copper Harbor and stay one night before and after each trip in one of the little hotels. Copper Harbor is a small town but has a few really good restaurants and a great local brewery. You will likely see moose on the island but extremely unlikely to see wolves. The wolf population is tiny, perhaps 4-5 animals, and they are elusive indeed. One further note: You can go off trail but it can be incredibly difficult terrain. If you decide to go off trail, make sure you carry an EPB and let the rangers know your plan.

Our hiking club did a trip to Isle Royale NP, several years back. It was easier for us to fly into Cooper Harbor and get a shuttle van to a motel near the shuttle boat launch site. Have a Plan B, in case the shuttle boat can't make the trip the day you plan to go.  When we went, we had motel rooms for 1 night with the intend to go to the park the next day.  That didn't happen.  With the high winds causing 12 foot plus waves, all shuttles were suspensed for the day.  Luckily, there is a near by campground that had available sites.  

A totally fabulous park!  Spent three weeks working there on a project years ago and have wanted to return ever since.


Like any park with intricate logistics, make contingency plans - carry a bit of extra chow in case the boats or planes can't keep their schedule.

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