Scenic Sites at Pictured Rocks

Boardwalk through the marsh trail
A winding boardwalk leads through the beautiful wetlands of Sand Point on the park's Marsh Trail.

NPS photo

Many areas within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are easily accessible by vehicle or short hiking trails. While enjoying these scenic sites, take time to enjoy the park's many beautiful waterfalls too.
Petit Portal is just one of spectacular formations of the Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior.
Petit Portal arch, also known as "Lover's Leap"

NPS photo

Pictured Rocks Cliffs

Colorful and bold, the Pictured Rocks cliffs tower 50 to 200 feet above Lake Superior. These sandstone cliffs stretch for about 15 miles along the lake from Sand Point on the west to just after Spray Falls on the east. The most colorful portion of the cliffs begins east of Miners Beach.

The name "Pictured Rocks" comes from streaks of mineral stain that decorate the face of the weather-sculpted sandstone. Stunning colors occur when groundwater oozes out of cracks and trickles down the rock face. Iron (red and orange), copper (blue and green), manganese (brown and black), and limonite (white) are among the most common color-producing minerals.

The best view of the cliffs is from the water. A National Park Service authorized concessionaire operates a non-stop boat tour of the Pictured Rocks cliffs from mid-May through mid-October.

Miners Castle provides a view of the cliffs in the distance, looking eastward from the lower overlook. This stretch of cliffs can also be viewed from the west end of Miners Beach.

Sand Point beach on a peaceful July morning, just waiting for the afternoon heat wave, swimmers, waders, kayakers, and picnickers.
Sand Point Beach

NPS photo

Sand Point

Located about 4 miles northeast of Munising, at the end of Sand Point Road.

The Sand Point beach is a popular spot for sunbathing or walking in the evening to watch the sun go down over Munising Bay. Swimmers often find the shallow bay water off Sand Point warmer than other lakeshore beaches. Leashed pets permitted on the beach and in the water.

Sand Point is the only location in the park with picnic tables on the beach. A wheelchair-accessible Mobi mat leading from the parking lot across the beach to the water's edge is installed every summer.

Sand Point is one of the few areas of the park easy to reach by regular vehicle in winter because the road is plowed. Parking for ice curtain viewing and climbing is at Sand Point.

The Sand Point Marsh Trail, a 0.5 mile wheelchair-accessible interpretive trail that traverses a beautiful wetland area, is a great place for birding. Watch for frogs, turtles, and even beavers along the trail. This is also a wonderful place to walk or snowshoe in winter. No pets allowed.

Park headquarters is also located at the end of Sand Point. Artifacts from the era of the Munising U.S. Coast Guard Station are on display in the small nearby boathouse museum during the summer. There is no fee.

Miners Castle is the best-known feature of the Pictured Rocks cliffs, and is accessible by automobile.
Miners Castle

NPS photo

Miners Castle

Located about 5 miles east of Munising on Alger County Road H-58, then 6 miles north on Miners Castle Road (H-11).

Miners Castle is one of the most famous landmarks along the Pictured Rocks shoreline, and is the only cliff area in the park accessible by vehicle.

From the parking lot, a short, paved wheelchair-accessible trail leads past interpretive exhibits to breathtaking overlooks of Lake Superior and Grand Island. Stairs and a steeper trail lead to the lower overlook adjacent to Miners Castle. Leashed pets are permitted on the paved (not dirt) trails, at overlooks, and in picnic area.

Erosion over long periods of time has created the interesting rock formations that give this place its name. A rockfall in 2006 dramatically changed the look of Miners Castle as one of its two turrets unexpectedly fell into the lake.

Miners Beach extends for one mile on Lake Superior where waves roll in to polish beach cobbles. 
Miners Beach facing west

NPS photo / Ed Lasich

Miners Beach and River

Located about 5 miles east of Munising on Alger County Road H-58, then approximately 5 miles north on Miners Castle Road (H-11) to Miners Beach Road. Follow Miners Beach Road another mile to the main parking lot at the west end of the beach.

Miners Beach stretches for nearly a mile along Lake Superior. The cliffs rise up on either end. Miners River on the west end is popular for steelhead fishing in spring and fall. Leashed pets allowed.

When at a beach, waders and swimmers need to be aware of rip currents, powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
Visitors stroll along Twelvemile Beach as Lake Superior waves roll gently to shore.
Twelvemile Beach

NPS photo

Twelvemile Beach

As the name suggests, there is a long beach stretching 12 miles along the Lake Superior shoreline approximately in the middle of the park. Access Twelvemile Beach from the Lake Superior Overlook on Alger County Road H-58 or from the day-use, picnic area of Twelvemile Beach Campground, about 16 miles west of Grand Marais on H-58. Twelvemile Beach is a wonderful place for long walks along the shore, especially at sunset. Reminder: rock collecting is prohibited in the park.

Leashed pets allowed on beach in front of and to the east of the campground. Pets are not allowed on the beach west of the campground.

The Grand Sable Dunes tower over Lake Superior from this photo taken at the Log Slide.
View to the east from the Log Slide

NPS photo / Ed Lasich

Log Slide

No pets allowed. Located at the end of Log Slide Road, about 7 miles west of Grand Marais on Alger County Road H-58. A short walk from the parking lot past historic logging equipment leads to the Log Slide area on top of the dunes.

Legend has it that logs sent down the tall dunes on a dry log chute would generate enough friction to cause the chute to catch fire. Today the chute is gone, but the lumberjack stories still linger as you gaze out over the Grand Sable Banks to the east. Recent winter storms destroyed the popular overlook platform, but the path that leads to where the platform stood is still open. Be careful near steep edges! Be aware of poison ivy in the area.

The Grand Sable Banks and Dunes tower more than 300 feet above Lake Superior.
Grand Sable Banks and Dunes

NPS photo

Grand Sable Banks and Dunes

No pets allowed. These enormous dunes left by glacial action are located at the eastern end of the park. Access into the dunes is limited. The 0.6 mile roundtrip Grand Sable Dunes Trail leads from the Sable Falls parking area (1 mile west of Grand Marais along Alger County Road H-58) through a forested dune environment to the top of open dunes. Be prepared to walk partly uphill in soft sand. Another access point with a steeper climb is from the small parking lot at the far eastern end of Grand Sable Lake on H-58.

Five square miles of Grand Sable Dunes are perched atop the 300-foot high Grand Sable Banks. A portion of the Grand Sable Dunes is set aside as a Research Natural Area.


Last updated: March 28, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862


Munising Falls Visitor Center

Contact Us