Exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Michigan's Upper Peninsula has so many places that are breathtakingly beautiful. I have traveled to this area my entire life and have just barely touched the surface of all that there is to see and do up there. So I have set a new plan for myself and my children that each summer when we visit, we will explore at least one new area each time. This summer, along with touring Marquette County, we decided that we would walk, hike and swim along the shores of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of the most beautiful stretches of land that Michigan has to offer. Situated along Lake Superior, the coldest of the Great Lakes, the land is home to hiking trails, beaches, waterfalls and much more.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore spreads from the shores of Munising, northeast to Grand Marais. We explored the shore in Munising and had planned to travel up to Grand Marais but just ran out of time. So this hub will explore the area in Munising. Grand Marais will have to wait until next summer!
We started our hike trekking up to view Munising Falls. The trail was short and easy to navigate. A great start for a Mom and her two young kids! We loved the beauty of the trail and the sound of the stream trickling down. It was a great tease to the large falls that we just up a few more flights of steps.
As we reached the first platform, the kids and I were in awe of the beauty. The sun shone on the falls as if it were the star in its own show. In fact it was so bright that we had to climb to the next level just to get a clear view. It was amazing.
Miner's Beach and Miner's Falls
As we continued our adventure, our next stop was Miner's Beach. We first stopped at several of the lookout areas to view the beauty of the green-blue shoreline and the majestic presence of Miner's Castle. We were all in awe of its magnitude and beauty. The foot trails were pretty easy to navigate, although there were some spots where the incline may be a little taxing for the elderly or very young.
Eagerly we hopped in the car to head out to the next stop, Miner's Beach. The kids were extra enthusiastic because it meant that they were now able to take a break from all that hiking and swim. The waves were loud and inviting and the sand was warm and relaxing. It was the perfect way to take a time out. The beach was clean and not very crowded.
On our last stop, we hiked up to Miner's Falls. This was the most challenging hike of the day. The trail was over a mile one way and there were parts that were a little steep. However, it was well worth it. I held my breath as my children got close to the edge of the scenic platform so as not to let my fear of heights interfere with their enjoyment of the falls. Breathtaking does not begin to describe the beauty of the wonder in nature. It was magnificent.
Unfortunately when your hiking companions are three and four, you have to know their limits. By four in the afternoon, I knew that we had done all that we could. I highly recommend visiting this area and taking the time to explore the natural beauty it has to offer. We will definitely be returning to do some more exploring. Until next summer...
Pictures of Munising FallsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kid Rock and Born Free
Whether you are a Kid Rock fan or not, he is a proud Michigan native. He grew up just about 5 miles north of where I currently live, in the city of Romeo. Not only does he frequently visit his home state, he actively promotes it and gives back to the area. The setting in the video for his title track of his new album, Born Free, is filmed in various parts of Michigan. The woodsy, motorcycle parts are filmed in the Lower Peninsula but the shore line in the video is on Miners Beach along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It is a great video and an uplifting song.
Other Ways to Enjoy Pictured Rocks
Aside from touring the shoreline by walking or hiking the trails, there are some other great ways to see the beauty of the area.
Glass Bottom Shipwreck Boat Tour The Glassbottom Shipwreck Boat Tours take off from Munising, Michigan. The tours run from Memorial day through October with a range of tour times depending on the month of the year. During the height of summer, there are more tours available each day. For a complete schedule you can check their website. As you find yourself exploring Lake Superior and learning about the shipwrecks found in this Great Lake, you will also take advantage of the beauty of the shoreline along Pictured Rocks. On this two hour tour of the area, it is a perfect way to view the beauty of the shore.
Pictured Rocks Cruise The Pictured Rocks Cruise is three hour narrated tour of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Some of the highlights include Indian Head, Miner's Castle, and Great Caverns. Select cruises also include Spray Falls. For some of these sites, this is the only way to view them unless you plan to do miles of hiking or have a boat of your own.
Grand Island Grand Island is located directly across from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Aside from taking a boat tour, it is the best way to view the shoreline. Grand Island can be reached by ferry. For the ferry schedule you can view the website for specific times and costs. There is also plenty of hiking trails, biking, and camping is also allowed on the island. However, if you plan to camp, beware that there are bears on the island so proper precautions need to be taken.