Lake Superior's rugged shoreline invites boaters to explore the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with its miles of colorful sandstone cliffs and long stretches of white sand beach. Peaceful inland lakes also invite boaters to linger in the northwoods.
Be VERY cautious while boating on Lake Superior, where the weather can change suddenly. Consult the marine weather forecast before venturing out. Watch the weather carefully while on the lake.
The Pictured Rocks cliffs rise 50 to 200 feet directly from the lake, offering precious few protected places if the wind and waves increase.
Motorized boats are permitted on Grand Sable Lake and Lake Superior. Boats and motors of any size are permitted on Lake Superior. However, horsepower is limited to 50 on Grand Sable Lake. There is a shallow boat ramp on Grand Sable Lake.
Only electric motors may be used on Little Beaver Lake and Beaver Lake. Little Beaver Lake has a shallow boat ramp. Other inland lakes do not have boat ramps.
Boats may be launched into Lake Superior at the City of Munising's Browns Addition boat ramp. Burt Township maintains a boat ramp in Grand Marais harbor. There is a small boat ramp at Sand Point, but it is very shallow.
Canoes and Small Boats
Beaver Lake, Little Beaver Lake, and Grand Sable Lake are favorites for small boats and canoes. Only electric motors may be used on Little Beaver and Beaver Lakes. Legion Lake, Miners Lake, and Chapel Lake are accessible only by carrying your canoe.
Most rivers are too shallow for canoeing. Lake Superior can be rough, and small craft are easily swamped.
Backcountry permits are required for overnight boaters.
Personal watercraft (PWC) may travel within the lakeshore from the western boundary near Sand Point to the eastern terminus of Miners Beach. PWC may be launched from the Sand Point boat ramp. PWC are not permitted elsewhere within the lakeshore's one-quarter mile offshore jurisdiction along the Lake Superior shoreline.
Due to horsepower restrictions, PWC are not allowed on inland lakes within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
According to State of Michigan law, PWC must not operate from one hour before sunset to 8 a.m. When traveling within 200 feet of the shoreline, PWC must travel at a slow/no-wake speed perpendicular to the shoreline.
Personal Watercraft Final Rule for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, as published in the Federal Register (pdf)
Water skiing is authorized on Lake Superior and Grand Sable Lake in accordance with state and federal laws. On Grand Sable Lake, horsepower is limited to 50.
Pictured Rocks Cruises, Inc., is the authorized concessioner for the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, for offering non-stop boat tours of the Pictured Rocks cliffs. Pictured Rocks Cruises operates from mid-May to mid-October.
Did You Know?
Mineral stains give color to the famous cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Red and orange colors are iron, black is manganese, white is limonite, and green is a trace of copper. There are no pictographs or petroglyphs on the Pictured Rocks cliffs (that we know of). More...