We love the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Not only is it in our backyard, it’s one of the wildest regions in the lower 48. A visit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is the trip of a lifetime — but one trip is hardly enough. That’s why we’ve put together three itineraries for trips through […]
Hidden away in the center of our nation’s heartland, are soaring sandstone cliffs, shining beaches, serene forests, and steep, sweeping sand dunes. Sided by Lake Superior, our coldest, deepest, largest and most pristine Great Lake, is America’s first National Lakeshore: Pictured Rocks. This journey has you hiking along miles of pristine trail, boating below color-saturated cliffs, watching magnificent sunsets, and sinking your heels into Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.
Meet in Marquette, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, then hit the road to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, our focal point for the next two days. The day is robust, with a visit to the Marquette Lighthouse Museum, a beachside picnic lunch, and an evening cruise below the Pictured Rocks shoreline. A full day is dedicated to exploring the national lakeshore’s sandstone cliffs, sand dunes, beaches, waterfalls, lakes, and forests on foot.
Next stop is the rugged wilderness of forests, rocky ridges, and small lakes in Isle Royale National Park. It is also the site of a decades-long study tracking the relationship between the island’s moose and wolf populations. The island park is accessible only by boat or seaplane. There are no paved roads and all the human inhabitants leave in the winter, returning control of the island to its wolves and moose, red squirrels and bats, river otters and loons.
The trip continues with a scenic drive along Lake Superior en route to the Keweenaw Peninsula on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. From there it’s onto the world’s largest freshwater lake, and off on a three-hour ferry ride to remote Isle Royale. Because it’s difficult to get to, Isle Royale is the least-visited national park in the Lower 48, with about as many visitors in a year as Yosemite gets in a relatively quiet day. Our two days in this largely undeveloped archipelago will be filled with visits to historic fishing camps and other excursions by foot and by boat. You’ll also have a chance to ask a scientist about the decision to reintroduce wolves in 2018 after the population crashed to two, a father and daughter.
Top-notch naturalist guides, free time for optional activities, and a nice variety of lodges make this a compelling, one-of-a-kind trip.