I went to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore recently with my family last year for Memorial Day weekend and we had a great time! I would highly recommend going there for a long weekend because there are so many things to see and do! It’s quite a drive since it’s in Upper Michigan but so worth it!
Here is a map of the Lakeshore. You can click on it for a larger image. If you are visiting, I would recommend staying near Munising, Michigan. It is a small quaint town near Lake Superior which is right on one end of the park. We went with two other families and decided to rent a house using Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO). VRBO is similar to Airbnb.
Colorful and bold, the Pictured Rocks tower 50 to 200 feet directly from Lake Superior. These sandstone cliffs of ochre, tan, and brown – sandwiched with layers of white, green, orange, and black – stretch for about 15 miles along the lake from Sand Point on the west to just after Spray Falls on the east.
The name “Pictured Rocks” comes from the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the face of the weather-sculpted cliffs. Stunning colors occur when groundwater oozes out of cracks and trickles down the rock face. Iron (red and orange), copper (blue and green), manganese (brown and black), and limonite (white) are among the most common color-producing minerals.
Located about 7 miles west of Grand Marais on Alger County Road H-58, then almost 1 mile north on Log Slide Road.
Legend has it that logs sent down the dry log chute would generate enough friction to cause the chute to catch fire. Today the chute is gone, but the lumberjack stories still linger as you gaze out over the Grand Sable Banks and Dunes. This is a good place to glimpse the Au Sable Light Station to the west and the Grand Sable Banks and Grand Marais to the east. Going down may take 5 minutes but coming back up takes at least an hour. The Log Slide descends 500 feet (300 vertical), if you are not in good physical condition do not go down.
Located about 6.5 miles east of Munising on Alger County Road H-58, then five miles north on Miners Castle Road.
Miners Castle is the most famous formation of the Pictured Rocks, and is accessible by vehicle and short trails.
Beginning at the picnic area, a paved foot trail leads past interpretive exhibits to breathtaking overlooks of Lake Superior and Grand Island. Stairs and a steeper trail lead to the lower overlook adjacent to Miners Castle. Miners Castle site bulletin (pdf)
Erosion over long periods of time has created the interesting rock formations that give this place its name. A rockfall in 2006 dramatically changed the look of Miners Castle.
There are kayak tours and camping sites if you are looking to do that. I didn’t have a chance to go on the kayak this time around but maybe next time?
Many areas within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are easily accessible by vehicle or short hiking trails. While enjoying these scenic sites, take time to enjoy the forests, wildlife, and lakes too. There are plenty more to see and do at the lakeshore than what I have mentioned above. To see more scenic sites visit the National Park Service website!