Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore's backcountry offers opportunities for solitude, inspiration, physical challenge, and renewal. There are nearly 100 miles of trails in the park that can take you to some beautiful places. The formally named "Lakeshore Trail", now referred to as the portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail, runs 42 miles through the park. Forests, dunes, beaches, and great views can all be experienced along the trail.
If you plan to camp/spend the night in the park's backcountry, a permit is required. Through March 27, 2017, permits are still available from the Interagency Visitor Center in Munising. Beginning March 28, 2017, permits must be obtained via www.recreation.gov.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind...
Backcountry campers must stay in specific backcountry campgrounds as noted on their permit. Campsites are located at two to five mile intervals along the trail. Each campground has a specific capacity; individual campsites within each backcountry campground are identified by a numbered post.
Do not expect your cell phone
to work in the park. Many areas do not receive reception due to cloudy conditions, hilly topography, heavy forest cover, and a lack of towers.
Permit fees: $15 for a permit. $5 per person per night. Once a permit is issued, fees are non-refundable. Changes will result in an additional $15 fee.
There are individual campsites and group campsites. Individual campsites are available for groups of 1-6 people (2 tents or hammocks maximum). Groups of 7-20 people must camp in designated group sites. Maximum three consecutive day stay at any backcountry campground.
Hammocks are allowed in place of a tent, but you must stay within 15 feet of the numbered post at the campsite. Keep in mind that trees are not available at all sites.
Pets are not permitted. Fires are permitted only in community fire rings at the campgrounds. Fires are not allowed at the Mosquito River and Chapel Beach campgrounds.
No bikes or wheeled or motorized vehicles allowed in the backcountry
Commercial transportation is available for hikers wishing to take a bus to the starting point and hike back to their vehicle. For information, please visit the Shuttle Service webpage.
The Pictured Rocks are spectacular but can be dangerous to the careless hiker. Fifteen miles of the North Country Trail are atop 50-200 foot high cliffs. Cliff tops are covered with loose sand and gravel. Unsupported overhangs of soft sandstone are common. For your safety, stay away from the cliff edge.
The weather near Lake Superior is very changeable. Summers are often warm but be prepared for cool, rainy, windy weather. Hypothermia can occur at any time - know the symptoms. Use a layered clothing system.
You may encounter bears
and other wildlife in the backcountry. Keep a clean camp and store food in lockers.
such as black flies, mosquitoes, and stable flies can be a nuisance between late May and September. Long pants and shirts and insect repellent are recommended.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is closed to April 1 to Labor Day, but is open to hunting the rest of the year during small and large game seasons. Wear blaze orange or bright colors if you are concerned about being seen by hunters.