Exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is arguably the most beautiful lakeshore in America. If you haven’t experienced this magical place, it’s time to plan a trip!

Located in Munising, Michigan on the south shores of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks is an enchanting place filled with caves, beaches, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, forests, and lakes.

Pictured Rocks runs along 42 miles of Lake Superior’s shoreline. Lake Superior is the biggest, deepest, and coldest of all the Great Lakes, and at 31,700 square miles, it’s the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Pictured Rocks

Must See Sights
Pictured Rocks
The main draw to this area is the Pictured Rocks themselves. Rising straight out of Lake Superior, these colorful sandstone cliffs reach heights of up to 200 feet. The Pictured Rocks stretch 15 miles from Sand Point to Spray Falls.

Miner’s Castle
Miner’s Castle is the most famous of the Pictured Rocks, and it can accessed by both vehicle and trails. If you’re looking for great photo opportunities, Miner’s Castle offers fantastic vistas.

Miner's Castle

Beaches
Numerous beaches can be found along the lakeshore, the most popular being Sand Point, Miner’s Beach, Chapel Beach, and Twelvemile Beach. Chapel rock, located at Chapel Beach, is a must-see. This unique formation was created around 3800 years ago, the main arch between the rock and the mainland collapsed in the 1940’s, but it’s definitely still worth a look.

Grand Sable Banks and Dunes
The Grand Sable Banks and Dunes can be found just West of Grand Marais. These dunes tower 300 feet above the water and offer great views.

Spray Falls

Waterfalls
Finally, if you love waterfalls, you won’t ever want to leave this place. There are dozens of falls located throughout Pictured Rocks, some are small roadside trickles while others tumble into Lake Superior from enormous cliffs. The most popular waterfalls that should be added to your list are Munising Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Chapel Falls, Spray Falls (above), Miners Falls, Mosquito Falls, and Sable Falls.

Things to do
Regardless of what kind of outdoor recreation excites you, whether it be kayaking, camping, hiking, or sightseeing, you can find it here.

Kayaking
Kayaking is the perfect way to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and explore all that it has to offer. There are an abundance of guided tours and rentals in the area, so there’s no need to worry about how you’re going to get on the water or where you’re going to go.

If you’re planning to explore the Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior, it’s recommended this is only done by sea kayak. Highlights include Miner’s Castle, Caves of the Bloody Chiefs, Mosquito River, Rainbow Cave, Lovers Leap Arch, Shipwreck Point, and various stunning sea caves.

If you’re planning to bring canoes or smaller kayaks, there are plenty of beautiful rivers and inland lakes for you to explore. Check out Little Beaver Lake, Grand Sable Lake, Chapel Lake, and Legion Lake.

Hiking
There are around 90 miles of hiking trails in Pictured Rocks that range from less than a mile to over 40 miles.

If you’re looking for something short and sweet, Miners Falls Trail, Sand Point Marsh Trail, White Birch Trail, and White Pine Trail are all 2 miles or less.

If you’re hoping for an epic backpacking trip, try the 42.4 mile Lakeshore Trail that runs from Munising Falls to the Grand Sable Visitors Center. This beautiful trail travels along the shore and offers breathtaking views of the water, beautiful vistas, a number of waterfalls, and sandy beaches.

Fishing
With all of the lakes, ponds, and streams in this area, the opportunities for fishing are endless. Common cool water fish include whitefish, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, rainbow trout, and coho salmon.

Winter Recreation
If you can’t get enough of the cold and snow, Pictured Rocks is a great wintertime destination. Enjoy snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and exploring the ice caves.

Camping
If you’ve decided you can’t go another day without seeing this enchanted place, it’s time to find your campsite! Explore Michigan campgrounds on Camp Native and start planning your epic adventure!

Jessica Goehring title: Administrator
Jessica is a freelance writer. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, daughter dog, and 4 cats. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and hiking.