There’s no other adventure like an excursion to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Sandstone cliffs towering 50 to 200 feet along Lake Superior’s pristine shoreline, stretches of white sandy beaches, dunes, magical waterfalls and breathtaking formations and mineral stained rock face make up this park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, providing some of the most incredible sights in the world.
Your trip to Pictured Rocks starts in Munising, where you can hop on narrated boat and kayak tours that bring you to the most stunning parts of the national lakeshore. Within driving distance from St. Louis, here’s why you need to plan a trip to the national lakeshore today:
Cruise the Bluffs by Boat
View the brilliantly colored cliffs, sea caves, waterfalls and see famous landmarks like Lovers Leap, Miners Castle, Chapel Rock, and Grand Island’s East Channel Lighthouse aboard one of Pictured Rocks Cruises’ 2 to 2 1/2-hour-long tours. They’re the area’s oldest tour company, with four different cruises to choose from, including the famed Sunset Cruise.
Discover the History of Pictured Rocks
Learn about their connection to the area on a boat or kayak tour, visit the Pictured Rocks Interpretive Center in downtown Munising near the Pictured Rocks Cruises’ office, or the Alger County Heritage Center.
You don’t have to travel far in the U.P. to find stunning waterfalls … the area is home to hundreds of them! With its proximity to the Great Lakes and countless streams and creeks, it’s no wonder the rural area is overflowing with these gorgeous sights. Several of the falls can even be found within the Pictured Rocks.
Although the lakeshore is a popular summer destination for travelers, rich shades of red, orange, and yellow blanket the thick treetops that surround the colorful sandstone cliffs in the fall, providing one of the best color shows in the world. Cruise H-58, the scenic drive throughout the Pictured Rocks. Make sure to stop along the way at the many scenic overlooks to take photos.
With Pictured Rocks Kayaking, paddlers take in the beauty of the park during a relaxing boat ride before being launched into the water to kayak near gigantic archways, formations and through sea caves and coves. The boat anchors near the Painted Coves where staff helps launch paddlers into the water for five miles (approximately 2 hours) of kayaking.
Explore the Best Scenic Trails
Whether you’re looking for a short walk, a day-long excursion, or a backpacking experience, Pictured Rocks has some of the best trails in the world. Nearby Hiawatha National Forest also has a slew of hiking and biking options for adventure seekers.
Visit the Grand Sable Sand Dunes
Trek to a Historic Lighthouse
With shipwrecks and lighthouses strewn along the lakeshore, visitors can easily discover the area’s maritime history. Built in the mid-1800s, the 86-foot-high tower at the Au Sable Light Station is found after a 1 ½-mile (one way) walk along an old wooded U.S. Coast Guard road. Tours are available in the summer and early fall.