St. Louis to Pictured Rocks: The Ultimate Trip

Grand Portal Point, an archway in the Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreGrand Portal Point, an archway in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Munising Visitors Bureau.

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:

10 Breathtaking Photos of Pictured Rocks

Cruise the Bluffs by Boat

Pictured Rocks Cruises gliding closely past the painted cliffs in the Pictured Rocks ParkPictured Rocks Cruises gliding closely past the painted cliffs in the Pictured Rocks Park. PC: Pictured Rocks Cruises.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Cruises



See Cruise Tour Schedule

Discover the History of Pictured Rocks

An Ojibwe village in the Upper Peninsula. Artist: Paul Kane (1810 – 1871)An Ojibwe village in the Upper Peninsula. Artist: Paul Kane (1810 – 1871)

While millions of people have explored the Munising, Grand Island, and Pictured Rocks areas over the last century, Native American tribes have cherished the land for thousands of years.

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.

The History of Pictured Rocks in Photos

Chase 10 Magical Waterfalls

Miners Falls in the Pictured Rocks ParkMiners Falls in the Pictured Rocks Park. PC: Munising Visitors Bureau.

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.

The Top 7 Waterfalls of the Pictured Rocks

Check out the Fall Colors

Fall colors at Pictured RocksFall colors at Pictured Rocks. PC: Instagrammer @ alia_jamila

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.

Why Fall is the Perfect Time to See Pictured Rocks

Kayak Through Sea Caves

Paddling along sea caves and coves is one of the many attractions on a kayak tour.Paddling along sea caves and coves is one of the many attractions on a kayak tour. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.

Why You Need to Take a Kayak Tour of Pictured Rocks



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.

What People are Saying about
Pictured Rocks Kayaking



Watch the Kayaking Tour in Action

Explore the Best Scenic Trails

Chapel Basin trailChapel Basin trail. PC: Instagrammer @maymiejameson

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.

How to Experience the Beauty of
Pictured Rocks by Trail

Visit the Grand Sable Sand Dunes

Grand Sable Dunes at the Log Slide OverlookGrand Sable Dunes at the Log Slide Overlook. PC: Instagrammer @maymiejameson

Grand Sable Dunes are the highest formation in the park, rising more than 300 feet above the lake! Visit the Log Slide, where loggers once rolled timber down a fast chute over the dunes into the water! Sable Falls is also close by and equally beautiful.

The Folklore of Pictured Rocks

Trek to a Historic Lighthouse

Au Sable Light StationAu Sable Light Station. PC: Instagrammer @maymiejameson

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.

Planning Your Pictured Rocks Adventure



Book your trip today!