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Isle Royale NP: Inland Lakes South



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Trail Details

County
Houghton
Regions
Western Upper Peninsula
Latitude
N 48° 00' 37.44"
Longitude
W 088° 41' 28.68"
Distance
Portages 0.3 to 1.2 miles
Trail Type
Paddling
Terrain
Inland lakes, Chippewa Harbor
Difficulty
Moderate to Challenging
Nearest City or Town
Houghton
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The southern inland lakes - Lake Whittlesey, Wood Lake, Siskiwit Lake, and Intermediate Lake - do offer one opportunity not found when hiking the Greenstone Ridge Trail or paddling though Rock Harbor: If you have the time and the shoulders willing to carry your boat over long portages, you can lose yourself for days at a time in this section of the park.
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Description
One of Isle Royale's most isolated areas are the southern inland lakes. Most are accessible
only to canoeists and kayakers. They require more time and energy
to reach than the inland lakes north of them. They are scenic but do not possess
the overwhelming beauty of the coves and inlets of the Five Fingers area.

They do offer one opportunity not found when hiking the
Greenstone Ridge Trail or paddling though Rock Harbor: If you have
the time and the shoulders willing to carry your boat, you can lose
yourself for days at a time in this section of the park. Except for the
south shore, nowhere else on the Island is such isolation possible.

Beginning with Lake Whittlesey and continuing with Wood
Lake, most of Siskiwit Lake, and Intermediate Lake, this is a paddler’s
domain. The small number of visitors who bring a canoe or kayak to
the park ensure that this section, even during the busiest week of the
summer, will always retain a bit of solitude.

The conventional way to reach this area is to paddle Rock Harbor
and portage into Lake Richie. From here you paddle to the lower arm of the lake and endure a second long portage to Chippewa Harbor. After paddling and
portaging through Lake Whittlesey, Wood Lake, and Siskiwit Lake,
the loop is completed by doubling back through Intermediate Lake,
Lake Richie, and Rock Harbor. The trip takes 7-9 days to complete;
anything less turns it into a canoe race.

The alternative is to hop on Voyageur II and get off at Chippewa
Harbor or Malone Bay Campground. This reduces the trip back to
Rock Harbor Lodge by 2-4 days. When beginning at Malone Bay,
most paddlers choose the more scenic Wood Lake and Lake Whittlesey
over the Intermediate Lake route back to Richie.
Amenities & Services
Camping
Difficulty - Moderate
Trail Guide

The southern Inland Lakes are covered in detailed with maps in Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes by Jim DuFresne. To order the 184-page guide to the Greenstone Ridge Trail and the rest of the wilderness island, Click Here.

Isle Royale Cover

Facilities

There are six campgrounds along the southern inland lakes loop with four of them being canoe campgrounds - Lake Richie, Lake Whittlesey, Wood Lake and Intermediate Lake.  There is also a campground in Chippewa Harbor that features three-side shelters and a second campground on Lake Richie that backpackers can reach via the Indian Portage Trail.

Shower tokens, clean towel, and a bar of soap can be purchased at the camp store at Rock Harbor or Windigo. Some backpackers like to book a room for their final night at Rock Harbor, either at the lodge or in one of the housekeeping units that can be shared by six people and feature small kitchenettes. For reservations, contact the park concessionaire, Forever Resorts (866-644-2003 or 906-337-4993 in summer; www.isleroyaleresort.com).

Hours & Fees

Isle Royale National Park opens April 16 and closes on Nov. 1 to all visitors for the winter.  The park has an entrance fee of $7 per person per day or an annual pass for $60. You can pay the entrance fee once you arrive at the park or in advance at pay.gov  and avoid congestion and long waits on the island. All park visitors who plan to camp overnight at campgrounds or cross-country sites are required to obtain a camping permit. This permit can be obtained free of charge at the visitor center at Windigo or Rock Harbor.

Directions

Most hikers reach the southern inland via the Lake Richie portages from Moskey Basin and then to Chippewa Harbor. You can also be dropped off at Chippewa Harbor with your canoe or kayak by the ferry Voyageur II. Contact Voyageur II to find out current schedule and costs of its water taxi service.

Information

Call the Isle Royale National Park headquarters in Houghton (906-482-0984) or check the Isle Royale National Park website (www.nps.gov/isro).


Geo-referenced maps from MichiganTrailMaps.com range from $1.99 to $2.99 each.

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