Royale, Isle Travel Guide

  • Feldtman Lake Trail
    Feldtman Lake Trail
    by Basaic
  • Houghton Visitors Center
    Houghton Visitors Center
    by Basaic
  • Clubhouse Ruins
    Clubhouse Ruins
    by Basaic

Royale, Isle Things to Do

  • Beaver Island

    Beaver Island is visible from some of the hiking trails near Windigo. There is an overnight docking area and a primitive campsite on the island.

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  • Take Some Time to Smell the Flowers

    There are a number of different types of flowers that grow on Isle Royale. Most of these are from the nature trail.

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  • The Witch Tree

    Not far from the Grand Portage Docks is an old tree called the "Witch Tree" by the local Ojibwa Indians. This is an old tree, the locals give offerings to the tree to ensure a safe trip on Lake Superior.

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  • Washington Island

    Washington Island was the location of a number of resorts and vacation homes. There are still some homes on the island. There is also an overnight docking area belonging to the National Park Service and a primitive camping area.

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  • Rock Island Lighthouse

    Another site you will see on the way to Windigo, and on the way back, is the old Rock Island Lighthouse. This is the lighthouse that used to have the Second Order Fresnel Lens that is on display in the Windigo Visitors Center before the lens was replaced by newer technology. Could you imagine living here for months at a time?

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  • Steamship America Wreck

    The steamship America brought passengers and freight to and from Isle Royale for 26 seasons. Then on 7 June 1928, the America sunk after striking a reef while going through the North Gap Inlet. The ship bringing you to the Windigo Area will stop at the wreck site on the way.

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  • Clubhouse Ruins

    In the early 1900s, Windigo was a private resort area belonging to the Washington Club, a group of prominent Duluth businessmen. You had to have a membership card to enjoy this part of the island. They used the old headquarters for the Windigo Mining Company as their clubhouse. They even had white-tailed deer imported to the island for hunting...

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  • Amphitheater

    There is an amphitheater near the Windigo Store which is a meeting point for some of the ranger-led hikes and the location for some of the ranger talks and presentations.

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  • Picnic by the Bay

    There is a fairly large, covered picnic area near the docks. Good place to eat if you brought a picnic lunch.

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  • Windigo Store

    The Windigo Store is just a little farther up a trail than the visitors center. The store has postcards, souvenirs, and limited supplies.

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  • Park Rangers

    Almost all rangers in the National Park Service are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful; but the ones at Isle Royale were exceptionally good. I especially liked Katie; she had a great, genuine, smile.

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  • Windigo Visitors Center Museum

    There is a very nice museum inside the Windigo Visitors Center that has well done, informative displays about the geology of the island, the peoples who lived and worked here and the area wildlife. Of particular interest to me was the second order Fresnal Lens from the lighthouse; the largest one on Lake Superior, and the evidence of Indians mining...

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  • Windigo Visitors Center

    After docking at the harbor, take the short hike up the hill to the Windigo Visitors Center. Here, the friendly and helpful park rangers can make recommendations on how to best enjoy your visit based on your interests and the time you have. There is also a short introductory film, maps and brochures about the island, and even junior ranger...

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  • Houghton Visitors Center

    The only visitors center for Isle Royale National Park on the mainland is in the town of Houghton, Michigan. This is also one of the three places to get commercial boat transportation to the island with Copper Harbor, Michigan and Grand Portage, Minnesota being the others. You can get brochures and maps of the park at the visitors center, pay any...

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  • Rock Harbor

    This is the center of activities. the is a campground, and a lodge. Full dining available and boat taxi's to most of the island. You can walk out to Blake Point, snooze on your porch overlooking the lake or drop a line into the water to see what's biting.

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Royale, Isle Restaurants

  • Food in and Near Isle Royale

    Food is available at a restaurant at Rock Harbor Lodge, and basic snacks at the Windigo Store. Otherwise you better bring your own. There are actually fairly limited options in Grand Portage; but a wide variety of fine places to eat in Houghton. I especially liked Joey's a great seafood place in Houghton.

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  • Only restaurant on the island

    Rock Harbor Lodge dining room features a variety of homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and fresh Lake trout, our specialty.All guests on the American Plan have meals included with their rate.All visitors are welcome in the Dining Room and Greenstone Grill2007 Dining Room Hours & RatesBreakfast (7:00am - 8:30am): $13.50/adult $9.00/child...

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  • Just add water

    The closest thing to a restaurant on Isle Royal is candy bars in the supply store at the ranger station at Windigo. You are the chef, have fun with your meals, but plan ahead. Our favorites on the trip were instant flavored rice, canned stew and don't forget treats like jolly ranchers, sunflower seeds and nut rolls.A small flask also helps keep you...

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Royale, Isle Transportation

  • Seaplane to Isle Royale

    You can also make the trip from Houghton by seaplane which only takes 30 minutes one way. The seaplane goes to Rock Harbor and Windigo. This is about $200 one way.

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  • Boat From Grand Portage

    I took the Sea Hunter III from Grand Portage to Windigo. I think this is the only boat that will take you to Windigo and return on the same day. There are other boats that will take you and pick you up on a later day (Voyager II 2 hours one way) and the (Wenonah 3 hours one way). The people running the trip were not that friendly nor particularly...

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  • Boats From Michigan

    There are two boats that go to the eastern end of Isle Royale. The Ranger III goes to Rock Harbor from Houghton and returns and takes 6 hours one way. The Isle Royale Queen IV goes from Copper Harbor (on the Keweenaw Peninsula) to Rock Harbor and back and takes 3 hours one way.

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Royale, Isle Warnings and Dangers

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    by Basaic Written Nov 12, 2011

    When we arrived back at the harbor in Grand Portage after the trip to Isle Royale, we had a rude surprise waiting for us. There was an envelope on the windshield with our tag number on it that said we owed a $4 parking fee. There was no mention of this fee in the brochure about the boat ride, nor did they mention it before we left. The fee is not that much, I just felt this was a rude, dishonest, underhanded way to conduct business.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • National/State Park

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Royale, Isle What to Pack

  • sketchyhand's Profile Photo

    by sketchyhand Written Feb 25, 2003

    Luggage and bags: Keep you pack as light as possible. It will make your trip that much more enjoyable.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear good broken in boots. Bring rain gear and a pair of sandles to change into while camping. I would bring limit clothes, you can wash things along they way if you need to. I would just bring layers since it gets chilly even in the summer and also one change of clothes in case you get soaked.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The pit toilets at the campgrounds do have toilet paper, but I would count on it, so bring some. Also the standard first aid kit and duct tape for blisters, tears and any repairs. Packs of wet naps or wipes are light weight and come in handy for a quick cleaning.

    Photo Equipment: Bring it, but keep it waterproof.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: A good tent is a must, a leaky tent can make a morning a miserable experience. I also used a 20 degree sleeping bag which was fine in august. I place everything in individual zip locks and bring garbage bags to wrap packs with and to set tent up on.

    Miscellaneous: Do not forget a water filter, it is necassary on the island.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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Royale, Isle Off The Beaten Path

  • sketchyhand's Profile Photo

    by sketchyhand Written Feb 25, 2003

    When at lake Feldtman campground, take the 1 mile hike to the Superior shore. It makes a great evening trip to watch the sunset, skip rocks from the pebble beach and cool off with the chilly winds blowing off the lake.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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Royale, Isle Sports & Outdoors

  • Feldtman Lake Trail

    Good hiking shoes, water, a snack, sunscreen, a hat, weather appropriate clothing, insect repellant.

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  • Windigo Nature Trail

    There are a total of 165 miles of hiking trails on Isle Royale. One of the trails I took was the Windigo Nature Trail, a 1.2 mile loop trail. The nature trail has a guide that introduces you to the geology, plants, and history of the area. The trail begins and ends by the Windigo Store. At one end of the trail is the "Moose Exclosure". It is a...

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Royale, Isle Favorites

  • Isle Royale

    The only visitors center for Isle Royale National Park on the mainland is in the town of Houghton, Michigan. This is also one of the three places to get commercial boat transportation to the island with Copper Harbor, Michigan and Grand Portage, Minnesota being the others. You can get brochures and maps of the park at the visitors center, pay any...

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  • Great single track wooded hiking trails.

    The scenery and dense wilderness are incredible. Moose and wolf packs have crossed the frozen lake and made their home on the island. The trails and campgrounds are clean and nicely organized. Spending time with my friends in such a great place.

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