Ranger III Information

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


Ranger III Opens for 2021 Reservations Beginning March 1

The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel. 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.

Ranger III COVID-19 Common Questions

How is Ranger III adapting to providing passenger service during COVID-19?

Masks will be required aboard Ranger III as well as in and around ferry terminals.



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

Outbound to Isle Royale Voyages

  • From Houghton, MI to Rock Harbor, MI on Tuesdays and Fridays.
    • Begins 5/25/21; Ends 09/10/21
    • Departs Houghton at 9:00 am EDT

Inbound from Isle Royale Voyages

  • From Rock Harbor, MI to Houghton, MI on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • Begins 5/26/21; Ends 09/11/21
    • Departs Rock Harbor at 9:00 am EDT
Ranger III ferry docked with sunset
View of the RANGER III at sunset.

NPS / Michele Devlin


For 2021 reservations will be accepted starting March 1 through mid-September for the upcoming Ranger III summer passenger season. Reservations received October to February 1 will not be processed.

Phone Reservations Only

  • Contact the Houghton Visitor Center: (906) 482-0984
    • 2021 Hours of Operation:
      • March 1 - May 31: Monday - Friday, 10 am - 4 pm ET
      • June 1 - Sept 11: Monday - Saturday, 8:00 am - 5:30 pm ET
  • Have your sailing dates, passenger names and ages, and credit card information ready.
Unloading a boat at Rock Harbor
Small boats can come to the island aboard the RANGER III.


Fares (One-Way)

Fare Comparison to Previous Years

  • Low Season: Prior to 7/6/21 and after 8/28/21
    • Adults: $55.00
  • High Season: 7/6/21 through 8/28/21
    • Adults: $70.00

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.


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: Closed for 2021 due to Covid-19.

  • 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. The 62 mile journey to Windigo takes a little over 5 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 for those traveling to Rock Harbor. For those traveling to Windigo, the isolated Rock of Ages Lighthouse is viewed before entering the waters of Washington Harbor.


Free Ranger III Tours

Scheduled Tours

Cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19.

Tours By Arrangement

Cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19.

Free tours of Ranger III can be arranged in advance by contacting the park. Rangers will present a 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.

View the Ranger III Photo Gallery.

Last updated: February 26, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

Contact Us