Overnight Permit

Isle Royale National Park requires an overnight permit fom all who stay in the campgrounds, at dock, or who anchor out. The permits are used to monitor campground use, deliver emergency messages to hiking parties, find lost campers, and serve as a tool to measure backcountry use. There is no fee for the permit, but there is a required entrance fee for all park visitors.

Visitors permit with a Ranger upon arrival
Visitors permit with a ranger upon arrival in the park.

Individual Parties (1-6 people)

Individual parties who use the National Park Service ferry, Ranger III to travel to Isle Royale National Park receive their backcountry permit onboard. Those using another transportation provider will receive their permit when they arrive on the island at Rock Harbor or Windigo.

Group Camping (7-10 people)

Advance reservations are required for group camping.


All private boaters need to permit at a point of entry (Houghton, Rock Harbor, or Windigo) upon arrival in the park. Depending upon your itinerary, submitting a boater permit request either online or over the telephone prior to arrival in the park is an option.


Special Permits & Fees

The National Park Service (NPS) requires permits for business activities in NPS areas to protect the park visitor, the business operator, the federal government from liability, and to ensure that commercial activities in the parks are appropriate. Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 5.3 prohibits business activity in NPS areas without a permit.

Activites covered by special permits and fees include:

Small party camping, overnight boating, or scuba diving activities require regular use permits, but no special permit or fees.

Last updated: February 23, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

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