Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Safe Start plan, and local public health authorities, Isle Royale is increasing recreational access to the park.
Boaters must obtain an overnight permit in advance from the Houghton Visitor Center at 906-482-0984.
Isle Royale National Park regulations are intended to protect park resources and visitor experiences. Visitors are responsible for adhering to regulations. The park’s boundary extends 4-1/2 miles into Lake Superior from the outer islands or to the international boundary. No pets allowed.
All boaters staying overnight at anchor, at docks, or in campgrounds must first obtain a camping permit in-person at Houghton, Rock Harbor, or Windigo. Boaters may also obtain their permit in advance. Permits should be displayed on the boat when at anchor, at dock, or in the campground on a shelter or tent.
Visitors to Isle Royale, including those fishing in park waters, are required to pay a $7 per person daily entrance fee. This fee is charged to enter or remain within the park per calendar day. Children 15 and under are exempt.
The Isle Royale Season Pass ($60) includes up to 3 adults traveling with the pass holder. All Federal Recreation Passes will be honored for the pass holder and up to 3 accompanying adults. You must present your pass upon arrival in the park.
All dock space and small-party campsites (including shelters) are available first-come, first-served. They may not be reserved or held for others. From late-July to the end of August, expect crowded conditions at docks and campgrounds. Observe stay limits for campgrounds, in effect June 1 through early September.
Boaters already set up at a tent site or shelter, and who have a valid camping permit, must be given priority access to dock space. When not in camp, many boaters leave fenders attached to the dock to indicate occupancy of a campsite.
You may only use one shelter and shelters may not be used solely for cooking or storage. Do not use staples or nails on shelters. A tent may be erected inside, but not outside a shelter. Hammocks may not be erected at shelter sites or inside shelters. Do not alter the landscape by digging, trenching, etc.
Generally, only docks that adjoin campgrounds are open for overnight use. The Rock Harbor Marina provides nightly slip rentals with utility service hook-ups.
The following docks are open for day use only, from 6 am until 10 pm eastern time:
Any NPS or concession fuel dispensing dock
Shipwreck Mooring buoys (for active diving only)
Amygdaloid Island Dock
Crystal Cove Dock
Edisen Fishery Dock
Hidden Lake Dock
Mott Island Docks
Passage Island Dock
Raspberry Island Dock
Wright Island Dock
Any other dock posted or signed as closed to overnight use
The following docks are closed to public use:
Malone Bay Dock, North Side
Ranger III Dock at Rock Harbor
Ranger III Dock at Mott Island
Any other dock posted or signed as closed to public entry
Water skiing and personal watercraft (e.g. Jet skis and Waverunners) are prohibited.
Vessels with motors (even if not in use) areprohibited on inland lakes and streams.
No drones are allowed within park boundaries.
Dogs, cats and other mammals are not allowed. This includes pets on boats within the park boundaries, which extend 4 ½ miles into Lake Superior from the outermost land areas of the park. Visitors bringing pets to Isle Royale will be required to leave immediately. Pets disturb wildlife and can transmit diseases. Special conditions apply to guide dogs.
Operation of electronic and motorized devices such as stereos, televisions, radios turned to commercial stations and portable generators are not permitted except in developed and open-water motorized zones.
Developed areas include Windigo, Rock Harbor, and the Mott Island. Open water motorized zones include Lake Superior waters outside of designated Quiet/No Wake Zones.
Allowed: The operation or use of permanently-installed (by manufacturer) on-board vessel generators is allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. eastern time in developed zones, and at the following docks: Beaver Island, Belle Isle, Caribou Island, Grace Island, Hay Bay, Malone Bay, Rock Harbor, Tobin Harbor, and Windigo.
Prohibited: The operation of such generators is prohibited at: Birch Island, Chippewa Harbor, Daisy Farm, Duncan Bay, Duncan Narrows, McCargoe Cove, Merritt Lane, Moskey Basin, Siskiwit Bay, Three Mile, Todd Harbor, and Tookers Island.
At Anchor: The operation of such generators is permitted between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm eastern time while at anchor within Hay Bay and at anchor within other Quiet/No Wake Zones except when anchored within 1/4 mile of designated park campground (listed above) where on-board generator use is prohibited.
Quiet/No Wake Zones
These zones protect the natural quiet and wilderness values sought by most Isle Royale visitors and reduce wake impacts. Within Quiet/No-Wake Zones, vessels must not exceed 5 mph or create a wake in excess of surrounding seas. Quiet/No-Wake Zones are not marked by buoys. Boaters are responsible for knowing the locations of Quiet/No Wake Zones.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Zebra mussels and other Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose a serious threat. All vessels (including non-motorized craft) visiting or transiting park waters, along with associated equipment must be decontaminated by an approved method prior to entering park waters.
See the park newspaper, The Greenstonefor details on decontamination methods. For large non-trailered vessels, owner must inspect vessel hull, outdrives, trim tabs, and motors for AIS.