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Isle Royale National Park

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Occasionally RVers must forsake their beloved rigs in order to indulge in an activity that Americans generally adore: exploring wide-open spaces. Few swaths of scenery are more spectacular than those offered up in Isle Royale National Park. Of course, RVers who want to appreciate this Michigan park will have to leave their rigs on the mainland, since Isle Royale sits in Lake Superior.

RVers should not let this temporary separation from their vehicles prevent them from partaking of this special park. Four ferries and one seaplane deliver visitors to the island. The largest ferry, MV Ranger III, owned and operated by the National Park Service, transports privately owned boats up to 20 feet in length. Travelers can stay in any of 36 small campgrounds that dot the island. Campers should come prepared to do battle with black flies in late June and early July. Self-contained housekeeping cabins and Rock Harbor Lodge may help ward off the bites. Camping is free, but a $4 per person per day user fee applies to all park activities.

How remote and unpopulated is Isle Royale? During August, its most-crowded month, the park sees fewer than 7,000 visitors. The season is short, running from April 16 through October 31, but in this case, short is definitely sweet. Ninety-nine percent of Isle Royale’s landmass is officially designated as wilderness, and the park encompasses 850 square miles in the northwestern part of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Talk about “wide-open spaces!”

This park caters to adventurers. Kayakers negotiate the waters that lap at the rocky coastline, and canoeists and anglers maneuver through the 47 inland lakes. Backpackers and day hikers climb basalt ridges and traipse through forests that are home to timber wolves and moose. And 10 major sunken vessels grant plenty of reasons for scuba divers to explore Isle Royale’s depths.

Isle Royale National Park, (906)482-0984, www.nps.gov/isro.

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