Ranger III Information

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

NPS

6/17/17 E. Lakeshore Drive Construction

When attempting to access the Houghton Visitor Center for Ranger III departures and arrivals, their is road construction and closures along E. Lakeshore Dr. Park staff will coordinate with construction crews to provide access to the check-in and baggage unloading areas. Construction is now expected to last into July.


Welcome Aboard the Ranger III

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.

Schedule, Rates, Reservations, Accessibility, Amenities, Departure Location, Vessel History, Tours of the Ranger III, Keweenaw Waterway Cruises

 

Schedule

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

  • From Houghton, MI to Rock Harbor on Tuesdays and Fridays
    • Departs Houghton at 9:00 am EDT.
  • From Rock Harbor to Houghton, MI on Wednesdays and Saturdays
    • Departs Rock Harbor at 9:00 am EDT.

The first scheduled day of 2017 passenger service to and from Rock Harbor:

  • Tuesday May 30 (outbound) and Wednesday May 31 (inbound)

The last scheduled day of 2017 passenger service to and from Rock Harbor:

  • Friday September 15 (outbound) and Saturday September 16 (inbound)
 
Unloading a boat at Rock Harbor
Unloading a boat from the Ranger III at Rock Harbor

NPS

Rates (for One Way travel)

  • Low Season Prior to 7/4/17 and after 8/26/17
    • Adults $53.00
  • High Season 7/4/17 through 8/26/17
    • Adults $63.00
Rates Effective All Season
  • Children (1 -15 years) $23.00
  • Infants (under 1) Free
  • Boat (less then 18'01") $90.00
  • Boat (18'01" to 20'00") $140.00
  • Canoes/Kayaks (hand loaded) $22.00
  • Canoes/Kayaks (over 20'00" or 90 lbs) $50.00
  • Outboard Motor $15.00
  • 100 lbs gear per passenger Free
  • Additional freight after 100 lbs $9.50/100wt.
 

Reservations

Please review the Ranger III Reservation Instructions before making a reservation.

Use the Ranger III reservation form for e-mail, fax, and direct mail reservations.

Reservations for the Ranger III can be submitted:

  • Email isro_ranger3reserve@nps.gov
  • Fax (906) 482-8753
  • Telephone (906) 482-0984
  • Direct mail to: Isle Royale National Park, 800 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, MI 49931.
 

Accessibility

NPS vessels are accessible. 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

NPS

Amenities

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.

 
Ranger III at Isle Royale
Ranger III sailing at Isle Royale

NPS

Vessel History

The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel that carries 128 passengers. Go here for full Ranger III statistics. 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.
 

Vessel Tours

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

  • Park at the Houghton Visitor Center
  • Gather outside the visitor center about 10 minuets prior to the tour time
  • Tour time length: Approximately 1 hour
  • Slip resistant shoes are recommended
  • All ages welcome
 
The Ranger III ferry providing a Keweenaw Waterway Cruise along the Portage Canal. Passengers stand on the second deck.
Keweenaw Waterway Cruise on the Portage Canal

NPS

Keweenaw Waterway Cruise

Enjoy a relaxing 3 hour cruise down the Portage Canal aboard the Ranger III. Cruises take place on select Thursday's in July and August. Please contact the park for the most up to date cruise information.

  • On board snack bar available
  • Bring along your own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks if you wish
  • Cruise sails rain or shine
  • Cruise departs at 12:30 pm and returns by 3:30 pm. Please arrive by 12:00 pm
  • All ages welcome on cruise

Keweenaw Waterway Cruise Rates

Adults
$20
Children (1 - 15)
$5
Infants (under 1)
Free

Last updated: June 17, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Phone:

(906) 482-0984

Contact Us