Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, everchanging weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale National Park. This wilderness archipelago is 45 miles long and nine miles wide at its widest point. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extends four and a half miles out into Lake Superior.
The archipelago is composed of many parallel ridges resulting from ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated. Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife. Roadless Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane. Isle Royale is relatively untouched by direct outside influences and serves as a living laboratory and United States Biosphere Reserve.
Isle Royale National Park was first authorized in March of 1931. The park was actually established on April 3, 1940. It's wilderness designation, however, didn't come until October 20, 1976. Finally, the United States Biosphere Reserve was established in 1980.
Isle Royale is largely a wilderness area. When planning a visit, recognize the wilderness mandate of the park and that there are topographic, vegetative, and physical obstacles that might require you to have assistance. The park is perhaps ideal for the adept mobility impaired person that can experience the wilderness resource via canoe or sea kayak.
Lake Superior weather is cool throughout the operating season. Dense fog in spring, sunny with temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Thunderstorms and rain occur throughout the season. Weather and rough seas may delay departures to and from the island. Bring plenty of warm clothing, even in August. A jacket is a must for the ferry trip to the island or if boating around the island.
Isle Royale is open April 16 to October 31, with full transportation services mid-June to Labor Day; reduced transportation services in the spring and fall. It is closed from November 1 to April 15.