Ranger III Information

Ranger III at dock
Ranger III at dock.


Ranger III Delayed Until June 30, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and the park remaining closed until June 15, 2020, Ranger III is altering its summer 2020 passenger schedule. First outbound trip will be 6/30/20 from Houghton, MI to Rock Harbor, MI. See the Schedule for details.

Visit the Ranger III COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for specific questions related to fares, processing times, and more.

Windigo Trips Have Been Cancelled

All 2020 Ranger III trips now travel between Houghton, MI and Rock Harbor, MI.

Keweenaw Waterway Cruises are Cancelled for 2020

For 2020: 100% Refunds for all Ranger III Fees & Entrance Fees

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any visitor requesting any refund for any reason will receive a 100% refund. Cancelled Ranger III reservations will be automatically refunded as soon as staff are allowed to return to the Houghton Visitor Center. Entrance fees paid in advance will be refunded by request upon contacting the park.

If you paid via www.pay.gov and have your email receipt showing your Pay.gov ID, the refund can be processed significantly faster.

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



Due to COVID-19, passenger service for 2020 is offered from the end of June through early September.

Outbound Island Trips

  • From Houghton, MI to Rock Harbor, MI on Tuesdays and Fridays.
    • Begins 6/30/20; Ends 09/11/20
    • Departs Houghton at 9:00 am EDT

Inbound Island Trips

  • From Rock Harbor, MI to Houghton, MI on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • Begins 7/1/20; Ends 09/12/20
    • Departs Rock Harbor at 9:00 am EDT
Unloading a boat at Rock Harbor
Unloading a boat from the Ranger III at Rock Harbor


Fares (One-Way)

COVID-19 Fare Related Questions
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 8/22/20
    • 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.
Ranger III ferry docked with sunset
Book your Ranger III ferry reservation starting January 2!

NPS / Michele Devlin


Rescheduling a Reservation due to COVID-19 Changes
Refunding a Reservation due to COVID-19 Changes
Rescheduling Boat Transportation Reservation due to COVID-19 Changes

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. 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 2020

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: April 7, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

Contact Us