Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore hugs the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michigan’s name originates from the Ojibwe word Mishigami, meaning “large water” or “large lake”. Dramatic multicolored Pictured Rocks cliffs introduce you to a unique beauty of Michigan. A weekend at Pictured Rocks will be a soothing natural experience.
Things to do in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
1. Kayaking or Cruise in Lake Superior
Take a guided Kayaking tour or cruise with authorized partners (You can get the list of partners from https://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/kayaking-other-guided-tours.htm). All authorized partners start from near vicinity of Munising so you can plan your stay near Munising. Viewing Pictured Rocks from water will give you different perspective of its detailed dramatic colors. Make sure you check weather forecast before booking your tour to get perfect experience.
2. Miners Castle
Miners castle gives breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Superior. The best part is you don’t have to hike to get outstanding views of Pictured rocks. There is a paved path; a 5 minutes walk from parking lot leading to the viewpoint. From this viewpoint walk down few steps and get closer look of Chapel rock. Miners Castle is 20 minutes drive from Munising.
3. Log Slide Overlook and Grand Sable Sand Dunes
It is 0.5 mile hike from parking lot. Climbing small sand dunes take you to the clear views of Lake Superior. On right side you will see a long range of Grand sable sand dunes and on left side AU Sable light station peeking through forest. You can walk down these sand dunes to go to the beach. Note that you will take just 5-7 minutes to slide down the sand dunes but it will take 30 -45 minutes to come back again. The place is 15 minutes drive from Grand Marais.
4. Munising Falls
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to beautiful waterfalls. One of its famous waterfalls is Munising Falls. It is on 5 minutes drive from Munising. There is a paved road from parking lot leading to Munising waterfall. In winter, the falls freeze forming an ice column.
6. AU Sable lighthouse
AU Sable lighthouse built in 1875 stands on south shore of Lake Superior. 1.5 mile walk from parking lot takes you to the lighthouse. You can climb and enjoy breathtaking views of lake superior. There is 30-40 minutes park ranger guided tours from 11am-4:30pm beginning at the lighthouse east porch. The lighthouse is on 20 minutes drive from Log Slide Overlook.
6. Grand Portal Point
They say ‘Best views come after the hardest climb’. This quote applies to Grand Portal point. It is 8 miles round trip (Difficulty: Moderate). The hike takes you to unobstructed views of Lake Superior. Keep sufficient food and water on your hike and start early to get good weather and less crowd. It is recommended to plan nothing else on the day of your hike. Make sure you have map in hand as the directions on path may not be available throughout.
8. Sand Point Beach
It is gorgeous beach in upper peninsula with crystal clear water and pictured rocks view. It is best beach for swimming and water activities. Nice walk in sunset at Sand point beach is the best romantic thing to do. It is on 10 minutes drive from Munising.
Stay: I would recommend camping at Lake Superior. There are many campsites but advance booking is must to get great views. Visit https://www.recreation.gov/ to check availability of campsites.
Best time to visit: Anytime is best time as it changes its beauty in every season. Its busy tourist season is June-August.
Below custom map will give you driving time details to all above places to visit. I would love to hear your experiences at Pictured rocks; please comment below to share your stories and opinions.