Ranger III Information

Ranger III docked at Mott Island.
Ranger III docked at Mott Island


Welcome Aboard

The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel that carries 128 passengers. An experienced nine-member crew takes great pride in maintaining the vessel and serving its passengers. All service departs from Houghton, Michigan or Rock Harbor on Isle Royale.

New for 2020: Monthly Outbound and Inbound Windigo Trips

There are no trips to or from Rock Harbor on these Windigo Trip days:
  • June 2 - 3, 2020
  • July 7 - 8, 2020
  • August 4 - 5, 2020
  • September 1 - 2, 2020

See the Schedule for details.

Schedule, Fares, Reservations, Accessibility, Amenities, Departure Location, Tours of the Ranger III, Keweenaw Waterway Cruise, Vessel History, Ranger III Photo Gallery



Passenger service is offered from the end of May through early September annually.

Outbound Island Trips

  • From Houghton, MI to Rock Harbor, MI on Tuesdays and Fridays (except select Windigo trips)
    • Begins 5/26/20; Ends 09/11/20
    • Departs Houghton at 9:00 am EDT
  • From Houghton, MI to Windigo, MI
    • Tuesday: 6/2/20, 7/7/20, 8/4/20, and 9/1/20
    • Departs Houghton at 9:00 am EDT

Inbound Island Trips

  • From Rock Harbor, MI to Houghton, MI on Wednesdays and Saturdays (except select Windigo trips).
    • Begins 5/27/20; Ends 09/12/20
    • Departs Rock Harbor at 9:00 am EDT
  • From Windigo, MI to Houghton, MI
    • Wednesday: 6/3/20, 7/8/20, 8/5/20, 9/2/20
    • Departs Windigo at 9:00 am EDT
Unloading a boat at Rock Harbor
Unloading a boat from the Ranger III at Rock Harbor


Fares (One-Way)

Fare Comparison to Previous Years

  • Low Season: Prior to 7/7/20 and after 8/22/20
    • Adults: $55.00
  • High Season: 7/7/20 through 7/22/20
    • Adults: $70.00
  • Ranger III Inaguration Special: 6/16/20 through 6/27/20
    • Adults: $70.00 round-trip during these dates only
    • Child: $35.00 round-trip during these dates only

Fares Effective All Season

  • Children (1 -15 years): $35.00

  • Infants (under 1): Free
  • Boat (less then 18'01"): $100.00
  • Boat (18'01" to 20'00"): $150.00
  • Canoes/Kayaks (hand loaded): $30.00
  • Canoes/Kayaks (18'00" / 80 lbs or greater): $60.00
  • Outboard Motor: $15.00
  • 100 lbs gear per passenger: Free
  • Additional freight after 100 lbs: $9.50/100wt.
Ranger III ferry docked with sunset
Book your Ranger III ferry reservation starting January 2!

NPS / Michele Devlin


Reservations are accepted January 2 through mid-September for the upcoming Ranger III summer passenger season. Reservations received October to January 1 will not be processed.

Make Reservations Online

The Online Reservation Form Allows:

Make Reservations Over the Phone

  • Contact the Houghton Visitor Center: (906) 482-0984
  • Have your Sailing Dates, Passenger Names and Ages, and Credit Card Information ready


NPS vessels strive to be accessible. Ranger III is more than 60 years old with nautical designs predating ADA legislation. Please inform staff when making reservations to facilitate assistance. Ranger III crew will gladly assist with loading and unloading up and down the gangplanks. On the lower deck, the Ranger III Grill and restrooms are accessible.

Ranger III's upper lounge
Ranger III Upper Passenger Lounge



There are many amenities that the Ranger III offers to its passengers.

  • Indoor and outdoor seating
  • Four comfortable passenger lounges
  • Luncheon grill
  • Interpretive and educational programs
  • Can transport private boats up to 20' in length
  • Free vehicle parking in Houghton

The Journey

Your Isle Royale National Park journey starts at the Ranger III's home port located at 800 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, Michigan. The 73 mile journey to Rock Harbor takes 6 hours. During the first hour of the trip, the ship navigates the scenic Keweenaw Waterway, passing under the world's largest lift bridge. Once on the open water of Lake Superior, riding the Ranger III allows one to appreciate the size and breadth of the world's largest fresh water lake (measured by surface area). As Isle Royale approaches, a picturesque seascape transitions to a rugged, lichen-covered shoreline and the historic Rock Harbor Lighthouse.


Free Ranger III Tours

Scheduled Tours

  • Thursdays in July and August, 4 - 5 pm

Tours By Arrangement

Free tours of Ranger III can be arranged in advance by contacting the park. Rangers will present the guided tour, highlighting the history and features of the National Park Service's largest motorized vessel.

Tour Details

  • Park at the Houghton Visitor Center
  • Gather outside the visitor center about 10 minutes prior to the tour time
  • Tour time length: Approximately 1 hour
  • Slip resistant shoes recommended
  • Narrow stairways and corridors are encountered
  • All ages welcome
  • No strollers
  • Children 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult
Ranger III at Isle Royale
Ranger III sailing at Isle Royale


More About Ranger III

The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel that carries 128 passengers. Go here for full Ranger III specs. An experienced nine-member crew takes great pride in maintaining the vessel and serving its passengers. The Ranger III has been in operation since 1958, and is part of a rich history of vessels that have serviced Isle Royale.

Last updated: January 9, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

Contact Us