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Isle Royale NP: Minong Ridge Trail-Map 2

Trail Details

County
Houghton
Regions
Western Upper Peninsula
Latitude
N 48° 00' 46.44"
Longitude
W 088° 55' 18.48"
Distance
12.5 miles
Trail Type
Backpacking
Terrain
Rocky ridge, Lake Superior
Difficulty
Challenging
Nearest City or Town
Houghton
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The next section of the Minong Ridge Trail, the 12-mile-plus stretch from Todd Harbor to North Lake DeSor, includes a segment that is only moderately difficult followed by the most challenging segment. For that reason, most backpackers take two days to hike it, spending the night at Little Todd Campground.
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Description
The next section of the Minong Ridge Trail, the 12-mile-plus stretch from Todd Harbor to North Lake DeSor, includes a segment that is only moderately difficult followed by the most challenging segment. For that reason, most backpackers take two days to hike it, spending the night at Little Todd Campground.

From Todd Harbor the trail climbs briefly and then is a surprisingly level walk, reaching Little Todd Harbor in 6.8 miles. The trail dips only twice to cross streams and then returns to its pleasant stroll – unlike the grunt you experienced the first day from McCargoe Cove (see Minong Ridge Trail - Map 1).

The section between Little Todd Harbor and the junction of the trail to Lake Desor follows bare ridge most of the way and is the hardest part of the 29-mile Minong Ridge Trail. Even a fast hiker in good walking shape will need 4-6 hours to cover this stretch. If the day promises to be hot and sunny, make sure you pack along sufficient drinking water, 2 quarts per person.
Amenities & Services
Camping
Difficulty - Challenging
Foot Path
Trail Guide

The Minong Ridge Trail is 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

This segment of the Minong Ridge Trail connects three campgrounds; Todd Harbor, Little Todd Harbor and North Lake DeSor.  Todd Harbor is a favourite among backpackers because the protected water is usually calm and peaceful and the view across the bay is stunning during sunsets. The campground has one shelter, group and individual campsites, pit toilets and a dock. If a northerly wind is blowing, Todd Harbor will be bug-free.

There are no shelters at Little Todd Harbor and the individual sites, arranged in two clusters, lack privacy if more than two parties are spending the night. Still, after a tiring day on the Minong Ridge, this is a pleasant place to rest those aching muscles. Little Todd Harbor is not quite the island-studded setting that you enjoyed at Todd Harbor but it lends itself to a feeling that you are in a much more remote spot. The individual campsites are near the shoreline, where at night you can fall asleep to the lapping water of Lake Superior. Each site has a pit toilet and a fire ring, but there is no group camping.

Shower tokens, a 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 when you arrive or onboard Ranger III on the way to the Island.

Directions

To reach the start of the Minong Ridge Trail on foot follow the first two days of the Greenstone Ridge Trail and then continue on the East Chickenbone Trail to McCargoe Cove, a 2.1 mile hike. Many hikers will hike to Daisy Farm the first day and then to McCargoe Cove via the East Chickenbone Trail the second day.

A far easier way to reach the start of the Minong and to save time is to book passage on the M.V. Sandy, the tour boat operated by Rock Harbor Lodge and Marina. Once a week the vessel makes a day-trip to McCargoe Cove from Rock Harbor and can be used by backpackers as one-way transportation. To return to Rock Harbor from Windigo after hiking the Minong book passage on the Voyageur II.

Contact the Rock Harbor Resort (866-644-2003 or 906-337-4993 in summer; www.isleroyaleresort.com) to find out the current schedule and costs for the M.V.Sandy.

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).

For more information on the M.V. Sandy, contact Rock Harbor Lodge (906-337-4993 (summer) or 866-644-2003 (winter); www.isleroyaleresort.com). For more information on the Voyageur II contact the Grand Portage – Isle Royale Transportation Line (651-653-5872, 888-746-2305; www.isleroyaleboats.com).


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

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