Best Backpacking Adventures, Blog, Michigan Trails


When you think of a wild and deep wilderness experience, you often think about the West like Colorado, or Arizona. Maybe go up towards Montana and Oregon. But most don’t ever look at a small island that’s actually closer to Canada than the US. In fact, this little island is a part of Michigan. Yep, it’s in the upper (way upper) part of the U.P of Michigan in Lake Superior. Isle Royale National Park.

Spreading out to 45 miles long and 9 miles wide this island will give you an adventure like no other. Not only just backpacking, but the rich history of the island. For example: Near Minong Ridge in the McCargoe Cove area are hundreds of pits left by Indians who had mined for copper masses. These pits attracted the early attention of miners, and in 1874 three companies were formed in Detroit to exploit them-The Minong, the Cove, and the Ancient Mining companies.

On episode 22 “Sleep at your own risk“, we talked about the nightlife of Isle Royale. This is where your adventure can really come alive. Moose, Otter, Owl’s, and the clever Red Fox are everywhere.

Backpacking the Island will take permits. Once you figure out your route there are several ways to obtain them. The first decision you must make however is how to get there. We always take our guest’s on the Ranger III. The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel that carries 128 passengers. An experienced nine-member crew takes great pride in maintaining the vessel and serving its passengers. All service departs from Houghton, Michigan or Rock Harbor on Isle Royale. You can get your permit when you check into your reservation on the Ranger III.

Once you get on the island expect to take a quick Leave No Trace class offered up by the Ranger at Rock Harbor Lodge before you have your permit in hand. Here is where we take over the guide you through some pretty epic area’s of the island. Including of course all the old copper mines that we go into and explore.

Sleep accommodations are amazing. They are shelter that fit up to 8 people with screened in windows and a screened in spring door. (those Foxes are smart) All the shelters have privy’s that are remarkably clean.

The Island itself has a rich history of Copper Mining, Shipwrecks, Lighthouses, and a sanctuary for a abundant wildlife. In fact, the Island is really a research project on the co-habitation of Wolves and Moose. It’s take us a few years to determine the best route that gives you all you hope to get out of a backpacking trip. It really is a adventure of a lifetime and one you won’t forget. For more information on our guided Trip to Isle Royale just go to our event page book it

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In 2003 I completed a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Since then I have over 12,000 miles underfoot and 20 years of backpacking, and camping experience. Certifications include WFA, WFR, LNT Trainer, and belong to AORE. Have been guiding backpacking trips for over 10 years. The outdoors has taught me one thing. Trusting the Trail! really does provide everything a person needs.

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