Paddling at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The park is renowned for its water resources, from Lake Superior, to inland streams, waterfalls and lakes. The inland lakes are the best places for paddling. Grand Sable Lake, Little Beaver Lake, and Beaver Lake are easily accessed by vehicle. If you don't mind carrying your canoe or kayak, Miners Lake, Chapel Lake, and Legion Lake are good options.
Before you get to the park, make sure you have the right equipment and the right skills:
3. Can you save yourself?
Help is not a phone call away! You are on your own!Cell phones may or may not work at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Even if you are able to get a 911 call out, help is still far away: at the least 30 minutes. 60 to 90 minutes or longer is more likely. If the weather is very rough, no one will be able to respond until the weather calms down.You need to be able to perform a self-rescue. Read, research on-line, take lessons. And then practice, practice, practice!Always wear your life jacket! Wear a wetsuit. Cold water kills!Paddle with others. Make sure they know how to perform rescues too.Leave a float plan with someone who cares about you. Don't forget to tell them when you get back so they don't start a search.Kayak Safety (pdf)
You have the right boat, right equipment, and the skills. Before you go, check the weather!
Check the marine weather forecast. If you're going out for the morning, pay attention to the afternoon forecast as well. Weather changes quickly and unexpectedly.
Location, location, location - just because it's calm in the bay, does not mean it is calm along the more distant shores. Listen to the weather forecast and pay attention to wind direction. Visit the weather buoy site to see real time data and video.
The Pictured Rocks extend for 15 miles and include sheer walls all the way to the water line. These exposed cliffs offer no way off the water if wind and waves increase.
Other things to keep in mind while paddling on Lake Superior:
Cold water kills!
Drowning is the #1 cause of death in national parks.
Be aware of boat tours that leave Munising on a regular basis during the summer months. They run fairly close to the shoreline with a turnaround point at Chapel Beach or Spray Falls. Give them plenty of room and allow for their wake.
Take only sea kayaks out on Lake Superior. Use recreational kayaks and canoes on inland lakes and rivers.