Top 4 Reasons to Visit Pictured Rocks in 2020

Whether you’re looking to kayak, take a boat cruise, and enjoy miles of gorgeous hiking and biking trails in the summertime, or snowmobile, ski, explore frozen waterfalls and ice caves in the winter, or, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a year-round destination that provides something for everyone.

Truly a matchless experience, it’s easy to see why Good Morning America shot live from Pictured Rocks several years ago. These are the top four reasons you should visit Pictured Rocks in 2020:

Photo Credit: Tim TrombleyPhoto Credit: Tim Trombley

What is Pictured Rocks?

Pictured Rocks is the first of four national lakeshores managed by the National Park Service. Its name derives from minerals that stain the rock face of towering 50 to 200 feet sandstone cliffs along miles of pristine Lake Superior shoreline. Gorgeous hues of red, blue, white and green stain the cliffs from minerals like iron, copper, manganese, and limonite, reflecting off the turquoise water that surrounds them.

The park extends 42-miles along the lakeshore and also offers 12 miles of beautiful beaches, nearly five miles of enormous sand dunes, several waterfalls and lighthouses, and over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails that lead to remote lakes, streams, and serene forest. For those who wish to get an intimate view of one of the area’s most treasured gems, Picture Rocks are best viewed by boat cruise or kayak tour.

Photo Credit: Craig BlacklockPhoto Credit – Craig Blacklock

1. Pictured Rocks Cruises’ New Catamaran

For over 50 years, Pictured Rocks Cruises has guided visitors on narrated boat tours, but recently, the popular attraction launched its newest high-speed catamaran. The 65-feet-long, 25-feet-wide catamaran offers a faster trip along the lakeshore to Spray Falls, an expanded concession area, and additional seating on the favored top deck.

Those aboard any Pictured Rocks Cruises boat will see at least one waterfall trickling down the steep cliffs, caves and other unique formations created by erosion over thousands of years, and a magnificent color show – especially in the fall. Don’t forget your camera!

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Pictured Rocks Cruises’ New Catamaran

2. Kayaking Pictured Rocks gets even safer

Pictured Rocks Kayaking provides safe and convenient trips for varied ages and abilities. The company is the only kayaking establishment in the area that has a kayaking-launch boat that follows guests as they paddle. Because of this, paddlers will always be within a reasonable distance of restrooms and emergency help if needed. Trips are approximately 4 to 5 hours long with around 2 hours—or 5 miles—of kayaking time.

Tours begin upon a vessel at the East Channel of Munising Bay and head into Lake Superior, where kayakers are launched just past Painted Coves, getting a chance to enjoy the most intimate views of many points of interest along the lakeshore. Once finished with the paddle portion of the trip, kayakers board the boat for a ride back to shore.

Pictured Rocks Kayaking launched its newest vessel Kayak Express last year, which was built by Moran Iron Works, who received national recognition for manufacturing the vessel.

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Kayaking Pictured Rocks gets even safer

3. Pristine beaches, waterfalls and trails in the Pictured Rocks

Looking to unwind or go swimming at a magical white sandy beach? Miners, Sand Point, Mosquito, Twelvemile, and Chapel beaches are all within the Pictured Rocks park! Pictured Rocks also offers spectacular waterfalls, lighthouses and hiking trails. Each attraction varies and are either easy to access or require a more skilled adventurer.

Pristine beaches, waterfalls and trails in the Pictured RocksPhoto Credit: Tim Trombley

4. Brilliant Autumn Colors

While the colors of the Pictured Rocks are stunning year-round, the beauty is magnified in the autumn. Deep scarlets, yellows, oranges, and violets of the trees that line the clifftops reflect off the clear blue waters of Lake Superior. USA Today readers recently chose the Upper Peninsula as the best destination to view fall foliage and we’re not surprised. Whether you’re walking along towering cliffs of the Pictured Rocks surrounded by colorful trees, admiring the beauty from the water, or taking a scenic drive throughout the park, you’re sure to make memories in a pristine area that’ll last a lifetime.

What are you waiting for? Kayak, cruise, or hike to take in the sights along Lake Superior’s shoreline now.

Follow us on Instagram for more breathtaking views: @PicturedRockCruises | @PicturedRocksKayaking.

Beautiful fall colors observed near Miners Castle, a landmark in the Pictured Rocks park. Photo credit: Craig BlacklockBeautiful fall colors observed near Miners Castle, a landmark in the Pictured Rocks park. Photo credit: Craig Blacklock