Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Overview
|Lake Superior and seascape at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan (Willard Clay/Photographer's Choice/Getty)|
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore blesses the north shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Long stretches of white sand beaches and 200-foot sheer sandstone cliffs rise above Lake Superior along this 42-mile stretch of rugged shoreline. For generations, the Ojibways fished these waters and hunted the land they referred to as "thunder and the gods."
The towering rock cliffs along the shore shelter the nests of peregrine falcons. Further inland, you can watch bald eagles nesting atop old white pine trees. Indeed, Pictured Rocks is not all about Lake Superior. Explore its interior labyrinth of white cedar swamps, where red maple flourishes at the edges of Michigan wetlands. Hikers can follow old logging roads that penetrate deep into a forest of northern hardwoods, pine, hemlock, spruce, and fir. Fishermen will find nirvana at the many inland lakes and streams teeming with steelhead and coho salmon.
Commercial airports are located in Marquette and Escanaba, Michigan. You can land a Cessna on one of the grass airfields near Grand Marais and Munising, the two communities that flank Pictured Rocks. If not, take a bus or drive. Michigan State Highways M-28 and M-94 lead to Munising; State Highway M-77 leads to Grand Marais.
Hike to Michigan Waterfalls
An easy 800-foot trail delivers you to the base of the impressive 50-foot Munising Falls. The falls are situated in a cool, shady verdant valley. During the spring and early summer months, lush wildflowers skirt the trail. At the Munising Falls Interpretive Center you can learn about local history, such as the story of the Schoolcraft blast furnace that used water from the nearby creek to produce iron. Or check out the 60-foot Miners Falls. You can reach an awe-inspiring overlook of the falls via a 1.2-mile round-trip gravel path that penetrates deep woods. The waters at the base of the falls are teeming with brook and steelhead trout.
Sea Kayak beneath 200-Foot Cliffs
Ochre and duff-colored cliffs ranging from 50 to 200 feet high dominate 15 miles of Pictured Rocks shoreline. The strange geologic formations often resemble medieval castles, towering cathedrals, and ghostly battleships. You can sea kayak beneath a 50-foot waterfall, through magnificent stone arches, and into secluded caves. Rest up on remote white-sand beaches. The emerald waters are so clear that visibility sometimes reaches 40 feet. Kayak put-in points within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore include Sand Point, Miners Beach, Twelve-Mile Beach, and Hurricane River.
Ice Fish the Superior
Grab a hand auger and an ice chisel and work your way through three to eight inches of ice on Munising Bay or Grand Sable Lake. Drop in a jig or live bait, wiggle it (just a little bit), and you too can pull out monster-size whitefish and lake trout. If this is too cutting edge for you (pardon the pun), there's always more traditional fishing during spring and autumn. Drop a fly at the mouths of the Miners River, Hurricane River, and Mosquito River and you can reel in rainbow trout and coho salmon (locals sometimes refer to the latter as "crazy cohos").
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication