Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
And finally a nation. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed landmark legislation that made Pictured Rocks America's first National Lakeshore. They are that stunning.
Towering 200 feet above the world’s largest freshwater lake, the multicolored cliffs extend along 12 of the 42 miles of shoreline within the park. The wind, waves and fury of Lake Superior have subsequently sculptured the soft sandstone into caves, arches, pinnacles and pillars with such fine detail they resemble castle turrets, battleships and Indian warriors. Seeping minerals have stained this stone canvas with a palette of colors; reds and oranges from iron, black from manganese; green from traces of copper, while the sun and the seasons allows you to return again and again and never see the same painting twice.
Where the sandstone escarpment swings inland, miles of unspoiled beaches continue and finally the lakeshore comes to a crescendo with Grand Sable Banks, towering sand dunes perched high above the blue and turquoise-colored waters of Lake Superior. It’s impressive scenery and winding along most of it are foot trails.
For many, the only way to view and appreciate Pictured Rocks’ dramatic scenery is to strap on a pack and hike the 42.4-mile trail that doubles as part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. This is unquestionably one of Michigan’s classic hikes. The trek is a walk between two towns, Grand Marais and Munising, past lighthouses and shipwrecks, giant sand dunes and towering standstone cliffs, beaches on Lake Superior and beaches 200 feet above it. And except for a five-mile stretch from the Grand Sable Visitor Center, the eastern trailhead, you're almost never out of sight of the largest Great Lake of them all.
Other trails that provide opportunities for overnight adventures are the 10-mile Chapel Basin Loop and the 12.9-mile Beaver Lake Loop, both include access to many of the park’s 13 backcountry campgrounds, the only places backcountry camping is allowed.
Pictured Rocks offers a wide range of day hikes as well, ranging from short interpretive trails like the 0.7-mile White Pine Trail at Little Beaver Lake Campground to several trails that lead to the park’s stunning collection of waterfalls. In the winter Nordic skiers, snowshoers, winter campers and ice climbers converge on the park.
|Difficulty - Challenging|
|Difficulty - Easy|
|Difficulty - Moderate|
|Groomed Classic Skiing|