View Full Version : Pictured Rocks section.

07-14-2020, 23:38
I am planning a section hike of the 42 miles thru Pictured Rocks NP. Grand Maris to Munising Falls. Seems like it should be doable in 4 day 3 nights. I hope that leaves time for beautiful views, side trails, and beach lunches?

It sounds like I have to reserve camp sites in advanced. How do you do that without knowing mileage in between them? I also assume I have to carry 4 maybe 5 days of food? What is a good time to do this trip, Iíve read the bugs are pretty bad in the summer.

any info you have I would appreciate. I am a terrible planner, Iíd rather just go and figure it out.. lol.

Odd Man Out
07-16-2020, 00:50
I did this trip a few years ago. Yes you must reserve campsites in n advance. The Backcountry trip planner at the park website has a milage chart on page 9 and a map on page 10


We started at the Grand Sable visitors center and ended at sand point. If you go from grand Marais to Munising falls you'll add a few miles on each end. We had two cars. If you are on your own you'll have to book a shuttle. Check the web page for current options. We camped at Au Sable Point, Beaver Creek, and Mosquito River. Some campgrounds don't allow fires, if that is important to you (check the planning document). Beaver Creek was a great campground on a bluff above a beach. It was a pretty easy 4 days (7, 13, 9, and 10 miles) but you could do it in 5 if you want to take your time. We did not do any side trips. There are not many options other than a couple loops into inland lakes. Bugs were not bad. Black fly season is June in the UP but we went in August. The Sable Flies (biting flies) were bad on the beach in Grand Marais. There is a community campground in Grand Marais that is a nice place to stay the night before you start. Yes you will need to carry food. No resupply options on the trail.

The great thing about this hike is the variety. You start with a waterfall, northern woods and pond, a view of the dunes looking down into the lake (only one other place in the world with that kind of view), and a light house. The next day you follow 12 Mile beach which ends at Chapel Beach (one of the most spectacular beaches anywhere). Then the rest of the hike is along the cliffs which can only be viewed by Backcountry hiking or boat. Spray Fall is pretty cool. The one constant is lake superior which is like none other.

If you are driving up from the south, there are a couple of good pasty shops along US2 just west of the bridge.

Let me know if you have more questions. Unlike you, I love planning.

07-16-2020, 10:12
I second what Odd Man Out has said. I lived in the area for 20 years and hiked there regularly. When you get to Munising, get a pasty at Muldoons. :-) If you stay at Au Sable Point East, pack up before breakfast and hike the half mile or so to the lighthouse and eat breakfast on the front porch. It’s a sweet place in the early light.

Odd Man Out
07-16-2020, 13:54
I second what Odd Man Out has said. I lived in the area for 20 years and hiked there regularly. When you get to Munising, get a pasty at Muldoons. :-) If you stay at Au Sable Point East, pack up before breakfast and hike the half mile or so to the lighthouse and eat breakfast on the front porch. It’s a sweet place in the early light.

Also I recall there was a real bathroom and drinking water at the lighthouse. 12 Mile beach campground and miners castle are other places where you may find some front country amenities.

07-16-2020, 13:57
What do you guys recommend for must stay at locations?

Odd Man Out
07-16-2020, 14:55
Places to stay on the trail? Beaver Creek was my favorite campground. It had a community fire ring on a bluff just above the beach/lake. Awesome evening (see pics below). Chapel Beach is spectacular but we didn't camp there. No fires allowed if that's important to you. Places to stay off the trail? If you need to camp en-route, there are a couple of nice NF Campgrounds off US 2 just west of St Ignace - Lake Michigan (on the lake) and Brevort Lake. You could also take the ferry from St Ignace to Mackinac Island and stay at the Grand Hotel for like $1000 per night. I hear it's pretty nice. I forgot about Muldoon's for pasties. I'm from lower MI so we always stop by the bridge for an immediate pasty fix at Lehto's or Suzies.

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On the first day you see Grand Sable Dunes, like nothing you've seen. Soon after you get a view of our first night's campground is near the lighthouse.

If you ever wanted 12 miles of white sand beach all to yourself. This is the place. No sharks or jellyfish.

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A fellow camper watches the sunset from the fire circle at Beaver Creek campground. Down at the beach, Beaver Creek empties into the Lake.

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Chapel beach has a mini water fall where the river meets the lake, a tree growing out of a rock, and a beach. Looking the other way you see the cliffs.

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Spray falls is a sight. Note the little tree growing on the point just beyond the falls. Its a great place for a break/lunch. You can walk to the base of the tree to get a closeup look at the falls. You can't tell from up top there is not much below you. If you fall, you might survive. That tree looks pretty much the same as it did when I first visited almost 40 years ago so it's probably secure. But someday, it will go down down down.

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The last couple days are along the cliffs. We could eavesdrop on the kayakers. They didn't know we were there. If you are crazy (like me) you walk on the right side of the trees, but nowhere are you required to risk your life.

Mosquito River Campground didn't have that many mosquitoes, but it did have a privy with a view.

07-16-2020, 15:11
Oh my gosh! Thank you thank you. I feel confident I can plan my hike just solely based on the past 2 posters!!!

07-16-2020, 17:31
Silly question of the day... can I eat lunch at a campground and have access to electric to charge my battery bank?

I think Iíll be good for power, iPhone in airplane mode and clicking off tons of photos, maybe bring Apple Watch, and my headlamp is also rechargeable.

I can go all day on a phone charge in normal phone conditions, and my 10,000Mah battery will charge it twice. I plan to power it off at night.

The Apple Watch will go roughly 1.5 days. It isnít that critical of it dies. Just would be fun to collect and log data.. steps, HR.. etc.

I donít expect to use my headlamp enough to drain it.. Iíll just top it off the day before.

07-16-2020, 19:14
Those pictures are beautiful, and that’s what Pictured Rocks looks like. Those sites he recommended are awesome... but so are pretty much all the others. Look at the map and figure out how far you want to go each day, and slate in the campsites. If the sites you pick are those of OMO, great. If not, mention which ones you’re at, and maybe we can tell you more about that site. He mentioned Chapel, and the big rock. It was called Chapel Rock because, the story goes, Father Marquette was saying mass for some natives and it began to rain. He moved under the shelter of the rock overhang. Voila, Chapel Rock. The campsite before Chapel Beach is called coves. If you stay there, set up camp, and hike just a wee bit further, and go into one of the coves for a very cold (refreshing?) swim. If you’re going to get a slightly later start, or just want to go slower, you might stop at Masse Homestead. There’s no water there, so plan accordingly. The first time I stayed there, it was just a nice spot in the woods. There were lots of birds, including lots of interesting warblers. Nice might have been a generous description of the site, though. Then I looked at the woody-dune right behind camp, and climbed it. Wow. Just wow. It’s sort of the same view you get from the top of the log slide, but without a bunch of people. It’s different, in that at log slide, the dune goes directly down to the water, but at the top at Masse, there are a few dunes undulating out to the lake. It’s a little like the difference between Shenandoah National Park, where you’re on the spine of the mountains, and the Smokys, where you can see ridges of mountains folding into the distance. At least sort of. Most of the sites are quite nice. Oh, and when you do the hike between Chapel and Mosquito, plan on eating lunch or an extended snack from one of the views on the rocks.

There is a modern restroom at Miner’s Castle, but with budget issues, they may not be open. As to 12 Mile Beach and Hurricane River campgrounds, they always had water faucets, but no modern restrooms or electricity. I don’t even remember a water faucet at the lighthouse. Ask when they issue your permit, because things change. I live near a different park now.

My mom used to say that she hoped I’d have good weather when I hiked there. I started out wishing for good weather, too, but then I saw The Lake throw a hissy fit. Twelve foot waves are pretty cool.

Anyway, have a great trip!

Odd Man Out
07-16-2020, 21:45
Don't know about charging. I am happily stuck in the mid 20th century. Pringles is correct that I was only commenting on the places we camped. Others are likely to be as good or better. Coves sounds great. Didn't know the chapel rock story. So cool.

07-17-2020, 08:37
Purely based on a recommended sites versus the mileage I am comfortable with (although I fear that I am way underestimating, I hope that I donít get there and able to fly through... I guess if thatís the case Iíll have more time to enjoy side trails and spectacular views)

Here is a copy/paste from my notes.

Grand Stable Visitor Center to Sand Point Junction

Must stay at sites
Au Stable point (breakfast at lighthouse)
Chapel Beach

12 Mile Beach
Beaver Creek
Coves (dip in water)

Plan 1
(Start late morning)
Au Stable (7.1)
SevenMile (7.3)
Mosquito River (16)
Mosquito to Sand point (9.1)

Plan 2
(Start Early)
12 Mile Beach (11.5)
Coves Group (11.7)
Miners Castle (12.2)
Miners Castle to Sand Point (4.1) maybe Munising Falls (7)

Plan 3
Benchmark (11.2)
Beaver Creek (9.2)
Mosquito River (10)
Mosquito to Sand Point (9.1)

Must see
Mosquito River privy

07-17-2020, 08:47
When you get to the Log Slide overlook, youíll see people going down the 200 foot high sand dune. Kids run down it. Then you see people slogging back up the hill. There are signs warning you that itís hard work coming back up, and that people have heart attacks, etc.. I have a friend who told that when his kids were in their teens, the whole family would go down the hill. This was usually in late August, when the lake had warmed. Then, instead of climbing up the sand, they would walk along the shore, swimming when necessary (Lake Superior is really cold), toward the light house. When the trail met up with the shoreline, theyíd turn around and take the trail back up the hill to their car. The trail is on nice soft dirt, with a few patches of sand, and has switchbacks. I donít recommend that with a pack, and I never did it, but it sounded like a neat idea.

You had said something about eating at a campground, while charging a phone. Again, I donít think thereís any power along the way (except at Minerís Castle, if itís open). But donít settle for just any old spot to eat. A magnificent spot will come along any minute.

I donít know if you care much about literature, but it youíre even a bit interested, if you head west out of Munising, going toward Marquette, thereís a rest area on the lake side. (Not the road to the ferry to Grand Islandówhich is another glorious place.) Park. When you face the lake, go to the water, then go right. The shore veers off to the left in a short distance. Straight in front of you (when the shore goes left) is a rock cliff with weeds and whatnot growing on it. Look a bit up. Thereís a face carved in the rock. Longfellow wrote about it. I think it was called ďface in the rock,Ē but Iím not sure. It was eroded rather badly the last time I looked for it, but you could still see it. You might Google it, if interested, for better directions.

And now, Iím off to my new county parkóYellowstone. Iím going to do the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone! Be back in a few, if you have more Pictured Rocks questions.

07-17-2020, 10:40
........ When you get to Munising, get a pasty at Muldoons. :-) .........

great pasty !!!

07-18-2020, 17:11
As others have said, yes - you need to reserve sites. That means you need to gage your mileage ahead of time. Do NOT OVER GAGE!!! Oh, your other question about bugs! Dang, they were so bad when we went... we cooked dinner and went into our tents immediately. Bugs were out of control... to the point that 100% deet didn't help!!! Thank goodness, I had a mini deck of cards!

Odd Man Out
07-18-2020, 18:08
Another literature connection. East of Grand Marais is the Fox River. Hemingway went up there fishing and wrote stories about it. However in the stories he used the Two Hearted River (also east of Grand Marais) because it had a cooler name. That is where we get the name for Two Hearted Ale (from Kzoo) which is about the best American Ale you can buy. Look for it when you are in the area.

07-19-2020, 20:33
I have an Original Bug Shirt shirt and pants for hiking during bug season, and take a Thermacell to keep the bugs under control.

07-20-2020, 15:29
Another literature connection. East of Grand Marais is the Fox River. Hemingway went up there fishing and wrote stories about it. However in the stories he used the Two Hearted River (also east of Grand Marais) because it had a cooler name. That is where we get the name for Two Hearted Ale (from Kzoo) which is about the best American Ale you can buy. Look for it when you are in the area.

I thought Bell's was in Comstock?....looks at map.... I guess Kalamazoo has suburbs, Comstock being one of them! You are correct sir!

Other great beers from Bell's:

1. Lager of the Lakes
2. Light Hearted Ale
3. Oberon

07-20-2020, 20:55
12 mile is a car campground it requires a different permit than the backcountry sites

07-20-2020, 21:47
12 mile is a car campground it requires a different permit than the backcountry sites

The nearest backpacking site is Benchmark.

You have that you might end at Sand Point. It’s a pretty place. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it’s nice.

Odd Man Out
07-20-2020, 23:22
I thought Bell's was in Comstock?....looks at map.... I guess Kalamazoo has suburbs, Comstock being one of them! You are correct sir!

Other great beers from Bell's:

1. Lager of the Lakes
2. Light Hearted Ale
3. Oberon
I'm in the Grand Rapids area so it's another local brewery for us. I used to do a lot of home brewing back in the mid '80s when Larry Bell ran the only brewery in the area. Back then it was called Kalamazoo Brewery. It was later they moved to Comstock and changed their name. Oberon release day is a major local holiday each spring. Oberon is the best post-lawn mowing beer.

07-21-2020, 21:43
Before I forget, as you head west after the lighthouse, there’s a sign alerting you to shipwrecks. Unfortunately, you’ll already have passed the shipwrecks, but if you take the steps down on the beach, and go back toward the lighthouse, there are one or two shipwrecks. They’re just flat ribs, but they’re history. If there are waves coming in, you can’t see much. But in the morning, usually the lake is just lapping at the structures, and you can “explore,” or at least stand on those ribs and look at the nails.

08-04-2020, 06:25
What is cell service like in this area? My main concern is to be able to call/text my ride when I get near the end at Sand Point.

I would also like to be able to check in with wife periodically via text?

Odd Man Out
08-05-2020, 10:53
Don't know. Call the park visitors center. They might know. I would think reception at Sand Point is most likely as it is an open developed area no far from Munising. The rest of the trail is pretty remote.

10-11-2020, 09:05
Its getting close to 6 months away from a late May trip if I want to reserve sites. Is late May, probably the last week, a good time? I don't want to fight biting insects and let it ruin my trip. I know I've heard from others that Fall is a good time to go. I am trying to go "off season" because 1)less people 2)I want to go asap, very excited to see it.

Of the combinations of campgrounds I have tried on paper, these provide the milages I am most comfortable with for per day hiking. I am good for around 8-10 miles I could probably push out 12 if I had to. This past June I (accidentally; expedited my trip because of impending weather) did 14 in 5h30m. I was pretty spent, but I lived. All year I have been working very hard on my gear and fine tuning my pack in anticipation for this trip, that should help also. I am to the point where I think food will be my biggest concern. I assume water won't be a problem? I typically hike with 2L.

Plan 1, the one I want the most, except the 16 mile day is undoable for me I think.
Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Mosquito River (16)
Mosquito to Sand point (9.1)

Plan 2, might provide the best scenery for camp ground selection, but is kind of higher milage
12 Mile Beach (11.5)
Coves Group (11.7)
Miners Castle (12.2)
Hike out Miners Castle to Sand Point (4.1) maybe Munising Falls (7)

Plan 3, misses allot of the mentioned sights, but is the best option for do'able milage
Benchmark (11.2)
Beaver Creek (9.2)
Mosquito River (10)
Hike out Mosquito to Sand Point (9.1)

Plan 4 Milage slowly ramps up to the end
Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Chapel Beach (11.6)
Hike out to Sand point (13.5)

Odd Man Out
10-11-2020, 10:09
I don't like option 1. You have a long day when going by all the cliffs. You will want to allow some time to sight see there. Plus as a solo you can't use the group site. Plan 2 is problematic. There is no camping at Miner's Castle. Plans 3 and 4 are better. I wouldn't say you are missing anything. You will be walking by all the sights. Starting out slow is not a bad plan, but with option 4 you again have a big day when walking the cliffs. I would suggest a 3/4 hybrid. Start slow like plan 4 with first night at Au Sable. Then put in you biggest day on day 2 to get to Beaver Creek. It's a great campground and campfires are allowed. Day two is easy hiking as you follow 12 mile beach all day. Then finish with Mosquito and the sand point. Your water problem is likely to be to much. Snow might be melting. Late may may be early for bug season, or it could be horrible. Better ask a local on that one.

10-11-2020, 12:03
I like your plan! That would let me see the light house at Au Stable and the views from Beaver Creek!

on the trip planning guide they claim in my average highs is 60 average low is 40. lowest I can comfortably go with my 20* quilt would be 35ish . I suppose that might be cutting it close if its a cold winter?

10-12-2020, 08:51
Odd Man Out’s suggestions are correct.

If you could do #1 and add a night at a site like Coves, your mileage would probably make you happier.

In general, it seems like you want lower mileage, but to do it in fewer days. Hmmm. Maybe you want to add that extra day and linger a little? Or, instead of hiking to Sand Point, stop at Miner’s Castle. From Miner’s to Sand Point or Munising, it’s mostly in the woods. I’m thinking that at here are only a couple of viewpoints in that section. One gives you a nice look at Grand Island, and the other is near the group site, and was where a man tossed his wife off the cliff a number of years ago. Otherwise, you’re looking at things through the trees. Other than always wondering if you missed something, you could do it without thinking about it twice.

Instead of Miner’s, which doesn’t have any camping, you could schedule Cabbage Patch. Grab water before you go in (you’ll see the campground sign, and turn back about 100 feet to a bridge over a stream, get water there). It doesn’t have a view, but it’s a nice enough campsite.

You asked about water. You’ll have access to water most of the time. on top of the cliffs, you’ll only pass water once in a while, but you come off the cliffs about every 4 miles.

I have camped comfortably as early as late March (high 20’s) and as late as late November (also high 20’s). Spring can feature cold winds off the lake, and it takes flowers a while to pop up. Fall can be splendid, but once the rains start, they don’t stop until it snows, or so it seems.

Plan your preferred mileage, and find the campsites at those distances, and then let us know. Most of the sites have neat attributes. I do recommend you try to end up at Chapel or Mosquito, but if you don’t you’ll still have a great trip.

Odd Man Out
10-12-2020, 19:46
Good call Pringles. Stopping at Miner's Castle is not a bad way to cut miles without missing much. I recall there wasn't much in that section. But there were some inland cliffs in the woods from when the lake level was a lot higher. That was kind of cool. If stopping at Miner's Castle, you would have to check on transportation options. Not sure if you can spot a car or arrange a shuttle from there. Also if not hiking all the way to Munising, you should arrange a stop at Munising Falls, but you can drive there. Also where to start?. The mileage charts measure from the east visitors center, but you can hike in from "downtown" Grand Marais along the beach and then up the river by another waterfall. I was originally going to do this, but my hiking buddy wanted a shorter first day so we started at the visitors center. I don't recall how many miles this adds but it's part of the NCT so you could get the details from their site. We stayed at the campground in town the night before the hike. Not sure of their season.

10-12-2020, 23:27
The county has a shuttle bus that you can schedule. Google Altran Pictured Rocks shuttle. They will go to more places now, than when I was there. The road has been improved a lot, and theyíre willing to take the bus on the road now. You can shorten and lengthen your hike by starting in Grand Marais, or the Grand Marais Visitor Center, or probably the Log Slide, and then at the other end, you could hike into Munising, or the visitor center at Munising Falls or Sand Point or Minerís Castle or Minerís Beach. It sounded like you didnít really want the longer days, but maybe I misinterpreted.

For the shorter days, Iíd park at Minerís Castle parking area, and get a shuttle over to Grand Marais Visitor Center. From there, I think you had said Au Sable Point East for your first night. If memory serves me, thatís probably 7 or 7.something miles. Watch for poison ivy in the sunny areas around the lake, and in the disturbed soil areas by Logslide. Au Sable Point East can be mosquitoe-y. Do what you need to do at camp, then hike back out to the lake. Throw cobbles into the lake. Look for Agates. You used to be able to keep any you found, then some rock shop was caught finding their rocks at Pictured Rocks, and... well, you didnít want to carry a rock, anyway.

The next day, hike away before breakfast, and hike over to the Au Sable Point Lighthouse. Eat your breakfast on the steps or the front porch of the lighthouse. Looking back toward Grand Marais, youíll see the huge dune, and the out buildings of the light house, and Lake Superior. Iím not remembering mileage too well, but I think you said Seven Mile would be your camp for the night. Between the lighthouse and the first campground, youíll pass one or two shipwrecks. Theyíre worth looking at. Youíll pass through a couple of front country campgrounds. They arenít too modern, but they have privies, and potable water. If youíre there in June-ish, watch as you hike through the pine forest for pink lady slippers. I think it was June... . This camp area is along a nice creek, and beside the lake. You should be able to see a pretty sunset from a sandy beach.

Itís been a while, and I donít remember mileage especially well. You put Chapel, and that it was 11 miles. Iíd be inclined to go to Coves, which would be a shorter day. Coves campsites are a touch inland, but you can walk the little trail out fo the lake. I liked to sit on the ridge/bench above the lake, rather than down on the lake. If itís a hot day, people set up camp and go a little further along the trail, to the Coves. Go down into a cove and swim in the warmer water.

The next day, you climb the first of the cliffs, starting by going up and down a little bit in and out of the coves. Once youíre on top, you bop along. Stop at Spray Falls. As you come to Chapel Beach, youíll descend at Chapel Rock. Thatís the rock where, according to the tale, Father Marquette said a mass in the rain. He, and assumably others, stayed under the lip of the rock. Past Chapel Rock, youíll cross Chapel Creek or River (I forget) and come into the Chapel camp area. A little ways past the middle, thereís a side trail that will take you to an outhouse. Two actually. Itís quite the rest area. Leaving Chapel, youíll climb the cliffs, but slowly. Youíll get views of Grand Portal, and go in and out of the woods, and onto cliffs that are around 200 feet over the water. The water is extremely clear, with a greenish tint, unless waves are coming in. If you look out into the lake, you may see lakers. In fact, you may see them at any point. If youíre in your tent at night, and you hear a churning motor sound, it may be a laker. The turn around for most of the PR Boat Tours is Chapel Rock, so youíll be seeing tour boats. Smile and wave. Coming back down, into Mosquito River, thereís an area of forest that looks mangled. Itís low to the lake, and Iím told, spray from waves ends up on the trees and freezes. The frozen limbs break. It looks messy. I overheard a man hiking with his young son, tell him it was a ďGnome Forest.Ē I liked that. Just after the Gnome Forest is Mosquitoe Campground. Iíd try to stay there. There are maybe five sites, and 3 of them are my favorites. (Yes, I have more than one favorite campsite. Sue me. :-) There are worse things than having three favorites.). Pick a site and set up, then go down to the lake. The Mosquito River is adjacent to the camp area, and is quite pretty. But the area beside the lake at this campsite is a wonderful place to sit and think. Or just sit. You might also choose to explore the sea caves along the shore, back toward the east. Thereís an outhouse at this camp area, too.

For your final day, itís a nice little hike to Minerís Castle. You climb up on the cliffs, again. Thereís a fantastic place for lunch, in a patch of Canadian Dogwood (bunchberry), overlooking the lake. You drop off the cliff just after the campsite, and drop down to Miner Beach. The trail goes out to the beach. If you hate walking on sand by this time, donít go out to the beach, walk the road. If you love looking at the lake, go out to the beach and walk there. After a mile or so, youíll go inland, and along a stream, and then climb up to Minerís Castle. If youíve stashed a car, you can dump your pack and go look at Minerís Castle. There used to be two turrets, but one fell off in maybe 2006 or so. The viewing platform gives you a great view of the crystal clear water, and the castle, and you get a good view of Grand Island. You can walk down to Minerís Castle, though after hiking along the cliffs, the castle isnít as special, and the other visitors may drive you bonkers.

From here, Iíd drive in to Munising, and have a pasty at Muldoons. Maybe have a cherry pasty, or part of one, for dessert. Then, with a car, you could drive back into the lakeshore and see Munising Falls, and Sand Point, and the Grand Island Lighthouse. In fact, if you donít have to leave, you could take the Pictured Rocks Boat Tour, or the Glass bottom boat tour of shipwrecks, or the Zodiac tour around Grand Island. Iíve done all three, and the last one is pretty awesome. They all show you different things, though. Anyway, you canít go too far wrong if you just go to Pictured Rocks and hike some. Every camp area has some neat attributes. The lake is, well, superior. Let us know what you finally decide to do. And we need to see pictures!

10-14-2020, 07:03
Oh wow. Thank you for the details! Iíll add that to my notes to take with me!

Btw, what are Pink Lady Slippers?

I love this feed back! You guys know exactly when I can hammer down and pound out some mileage or slow it down to enjoy beautiful sights and sounds after making it to camp early. I am so nervous I will miss something! lol. That is exactly the feedback I want, and itís only from people that have hiked it before.


I was to add a 5th day (4nights) to my trip? What would that look like?

My wife mentioned it, she will be dropping me off and picking me up. She also mentioned dropping of my daughter (12y/o very experienced hiker) to do the last 2 days with me. I thought that sounded like a good idea, she could also resupply me too!

Odd Man Out
10-14-2020, 08:15
Pink Lady Slippers are very showy wild orchids. Google it for a picture.

10-15-2020, 08:40
I never saw a lot of pink lady slippers in PR, but in June, I usually saw some, in dry open areas, under big pine trees. I think they were earlier, but in wet areas there were always marsh marigolds, and some yellow lady slippers. Early ephemerals, well, you’re talking fall.

I think adding a day would slow things down enough to really enjoy it, but I do know others would feel bored and really wish they could go faster. I like to linger, though. :-) With your wife doing shuttle, if she like backpacking but doesn’t want to do the whole trip, she (ad daughter) could easily hike in to Ausauble campsite from the Hurricane River trailhead. But maybe she wants to go shopping. Itinerary 1 would be nice, with a campsite inserted into the long day. Offhand, I don’t know the mileage, but look at Coves or Beaver Creek. Your daughter would be able to join you fairly easily at either. The hike from the Little Beaver Campground parking to Beaver Creek backcountry site is maybe 3 miles, and to Coves it’s only about 2. I might be wrong on dividing between Seven Mile and Mosquito, though. You’ll find a site between, and then we’ll talk about what’s neat about that site.

If you want to keep your shorter itinerary, and if your wife likes to do “outdoor” things, I toss out another option. On the extra day, rent bicycles and take the little shuttle boat to Grand Island, which is a national forest area in Munising Bay. A few years ago, the pontoon boat ride was $15 per person, $5 extra for a bike. You’d have to find a place to rent bicycles, or bring your own. There are a number of trails that can be bicycled, or you can go over there and hike. As you might imagine, it’s very similar to Pictured Rocks in scenery, but as a friend says, it’s got the “Island Mystique.”

Don’t worry about missing things. You’ll see what you’re meant to see.

10-15-2020, 16:19
Ok, If i take Plan 1

Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Mosquito River (16) (W)
Hike out to Sand point (9.1)

and add Beaver Creek, Only because Old Man Out mentioned it (cant remember why, but it must have met my "criteria" lol) It would look like this

Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Beaver Creek (6)
Mosquito River (10) (W)
Hike out to Sand point (9.1)


Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Coves (7.3)
Mosquito River (8.7) (W)
Hike out to Sand point (9.1)


Au Stable (7.1) (W)
SevenMile (7.3) (W)
Coves Group (8.8)
Mosquito River (7.2) (W)
Hike out to Sand point (9.1)

Wife is definitely more interested in shopping. She is getting a rental house somewhere near Munising. Of the 3 plans I guess I would need to know between Beaver Creek, Coves,and Coves Group is my wife able to drive to these locations to drop of my daughter? I know many of the area roads a dirt/gravel, she will be driving my truck.

10-16-2020, 08:41
The group site is only for groups, so unless you’re taking six or more friends, that one’s out. Both of the alternates are nice. Your wife can only drive within about two miles of those sites. There is a road to the Little Beaver lake campground. It would be closest to Coves, only by a mile or so. If you hiked to Coves, set up camp, and then hiked inland toward the campground, you could meet them along the trail, or go all the way to the parking area. In going to the campground, you’d pass some of the former lakeshore rocks that someone above mentioned. You could do the same thing from Little Beaver to the parking area, but it would be longer. It would give you an in/out option for hiking, as there are a couple of trails you could take. The road to the campground isn’t great, but I always managed in a Corolla.

Shopping in the UP. There are no words... .

10-16-2020, 11:23
Sounds like Coves it is! I think my plan is finalized! This is exciting! Hope I can book all these... that would throw a huge wrench in it all.

Any good shopping recommendation? Hopefully they are open in May. I can pass along the info. Lol.


10-16-2020, 21:22
I hope you do get the sites you want, but if you don’t, they’re all pretty good, in one way or another. You know, just thinking out loud, if you wanted to, instead of hiking from 7 mile directly to Coves, and then going to the parking area to rendezvous, you could look at going inland to Trapper Lake, then cutting over to Big Beaver, and you go through the Little Beaver campground (where wife and daughter would be). Then you just hike out to the Coves with her. I don’t know that I’d necessarily want to do it that way, but you could, and it would be a little different. I lived in the area almost 20 years, and only took that trail on two hikes, so I don’t know it super weak, and I didn’t love it most-est, but it’s an option.

Shopping. The UP. We always laughed that we lived where others went on vacation, and we had to go to where others lived, to shop. Marquette is probably 40 miles from Munising, and is a big enough town to have had a Target. I know, that’s not impressive for most, but it was a BIG DEAL for us. They also have a downtown area. I’d guess that Green Bay is probably 2-3 hours away, and they have shopping, and she might find places in Marinette and Escanaba. I’m afraid I’m thinking stock-up shopping and she’s thinking “quaint,” and I’m not good at quaint. I’m sure she’ll find things that interest her. You might suggest that she get a ride on the Pictured Rocks Boat Tour for your daughter’s final day, one of the earlier tours, and maybe she could get a picture of you guys on the cliffs. It’d take some luck, but it’d be fun to try.

Let me know what sites you do get. You’ll have a great trip.

Odd Man Out
10-16-2020, 21:51
Have a great trip. On the map you posted you will see Spray Falls. You will find a picture in in one of my early posts. It's probably one of the most photographed spots in MI. Just don't fall over the edge. The water flow in spring should be impressive.

12-08-2020, 21:17
Just for giggles I went to recreation.gov to see how it the site works. None of the camp sites ive looked at are even listed? Only Twelve Mile, Hurricane River, and Little Beaver are able to be reserved?

Are the others first come first serve?

12-09-2020, 09:30
I took a peek at the system. That is confusing. After finding what you found, I did a search for one of the backcountry campsites... benchmark. A page came up with pictures of the Benchmark Campstie. That looked really good. So I tried looking up Clifftops. It changed it to Cliff tops. It never came up with that site. Maybe it was a nomenclature problem. I tried Au Sable Point East... nope. Maybe it was the name again. I tried more sites and got nowhere. It sounds like it’s time to call the park folks and talk to a real human being.

Odd Man Out
12-10-2020, 00:27
When you search Pictured Rocks, you will see those three campgrounds which are the drive in campgrounds. What you have to do is select the Back Country Permit option. When you get to that page, click the Build Itinerary button at the bottom of the page. Then you enter your party size and the first night. Scroll down and it will show availability at each campground on each night. Select an available campground for each night and then go to book now. However the sites for next year are not available until Jan 1.

12-10-2020, 09:11
Thanks for explaining that. I had gotten to the backcountry option, but abandoned it when I’d need to fill in the group size. (Commitment is hard.)

02-23-2021, 08:04
Itís booked!!! Now I am nervous!! [emoji1787]

Iíll start at Sand Point Junction. I got sites at Au Stable, Beaver Creek, and Mosquito River.

Iíll hike out to Sand Point for pick up by my wife.

On the last night she is going to park at the parking near Chapel Beach and hike in to Mosquito Beach and meet me with my daughter. Then she will hike out the last day with me. She is a very experienced 12y/o hiker.

Iíll prob have her bring my last days food to save me some weight.

I am really excited an anxious. This is my first ďdestinationĒ type hike!

If you guys have any tips or idea PLEASE share!! :)

02-23-2021, 09:21
I hope it’s nervous excitement and not apprehension. That wounds like a great trip, with beautiful sites. Each campsite has some really nice attributes.

I likely already mentioned having breakfast on the front porch at the light house rather than at camp at Au Sable.

Is your wife staying with you overnight at Mosquito? You might consider having your wife park at the east end of Miner’s Beach instead of at the Chapel trailhead. (Or the west end, OR Miner’s Castle parking—both would make a longer hike in, but it would be nice hiking.) From Miner’s beach, the two would go up the hill, and be on the rocks. For a ways, it’s just a walk in the woods, but then they’d be at the edge of the cliffs (safe) and would get the same type views you’d had on the cliff top sections. Instead of 2–ish miles in, I think it would be 3 from east Miner’s Beach, maybe 3.5. I forget the details, but it’s not much further, and it is much, much more spectacular. There’s a great spot, just off the trail, with a splendid view and loads of bunchberry plants, that would be a wonderful spot to stop for a snack. Don’t ask how I know this. After a bit on the top of the cliffs, they drop down, and work their way into the Mosquito area. The next day, you’d all go back that way, and be able to have another snack at the magnificent snack spot. For that matter, you could put packs in the car at that point, and hike the rest of the way with day packs.

I envy you your trip. It’ll be beautiful and you’ll have fun.

02-23-2021, 09:28
She will only be hiking in to drop off our daughter. She will be leaving that day. She isnít much of a hiker. Lol.

I could have her bring a day pack and pack out some small stuff from me; trash, one of my two water bottles... etc.

02-23-2021, 10:22
If she would like, check the mileage of doing the east end of Miner's Beach to Mosquito, it IS a much prettier hike. Otherwise, still trying to up the prettiness factor, take the side loop to Mosquito Falls. I think it adds a mile and a half. Just take the time there to stop and look. I've done it twice and the second time I found lots more cascades. She should also save plenty of time to just sit on the rocks at Mosquito, it's a beautiful place. Get water at the visitor center at Miner's Castle for the rest of your day.

09-13-2021, 08:45
My trip is very quickly approaching!

Iíve been going over my plan, I have Sand Point as my pickup spot. I cont remember why I planned it like that and not going to the Munising Visitor Center?

Will I miss anything stopping at Sand Point (coming from mosquito river)? I think itís 3 more miles to the visitor center.

09-14-2021, 08:55
The miles between Sand Point and the visitor center are in woods. You’ll likely be able to see a little through the trees, but not much. There are houses down below, and you’ll hear some road noise and doors opening and closing and kids making noise. It’s not bad, but it’s likely not going to something that you’ll slap your forehead and say, “What was I thinking?”

Get a pastie at Muldoon’s. Take lots of pictures and share them with us. I sure miss that lake.

Odd Man Out
09-16-2021, 16:56
My trip is very quickly approaching!

I’ve been going over my plan, I have Sand Point as my pickup spot. I cont remember why I planned it like that and not going to the Munising Visitor Center?

Will I miss anything stopping at Sand Point (coming from mosquito river)? I think it’s 3 more miles to the visitor center.

Our last day was Mosquito River to Sand Point too. If I recall, we couldn't hake that last section as it was under construction that year, but I seem remember that we didn't feel we missed much. In the hike from the bluffs down to Sand Point (which is at Lake level), there were some water eroded escarpments in the woods that were prehistoric cliffs from when the lake level was much higher. That was kind of interesting. Otherwise there wasn't much. If you are not hiking all the way to Munising, you could drive in to see Munising Falls at the west end of the trail on your way out. That would be worth while if you didn't see it otherwise. Plus the pasties.

When you get to Spray Falls, check to see if that tree on the overhang is still there. It seems not long for this world, but I stood next to it on my first about 35 years ago, and when this picture was taken about 4 years ago. When on the ledge you can't tell that there is so little between you and the lake.


09-28-2021, 11:18
Drove from Georgia to Munising to get parties at Muldoon's last week. Ate them at Bay Furnace picnic area overlooking the lake. It was totally worth it...

Actually, we were camping our way across the U.P. so technically we didn't drive up just for Muldoon's...but it still would have been worth it.

09-28-2021, 11:46
If you are doing a Pasty tour of the UP, you shouldn't miss the best pasties on earth in Twin lakes MI (south of Houghton, on M26) From Krupp's Mini Mart.

I will be heading to PR from 10/14-10/18 Doing the western half, Staying at Coves Group, Cliffs Group and Twelvemile beach campground, will report back.

09-28-2021, 21:37
I used to get my permit, then go to Muldoons and get a pastie, then hike to my site, put up my tent, and then sit and eat my pastie as I watched the waves come in. I love being able to hike in Yellowstone just as easily as I used to be able to hike at Pictured Rocks, but geeze, I wish there were pasties around here.

Odd Man Out
09-29-2021, 19:12
I used to get my permit, then go to Muldoons and get a pastie, then hike to my site, put up my tent, and then sit and eat my pastie as I watched the waves come in. I love being able to hike in Yellowstone just as easily as I used to be able to hike at Pictured Rocks, but geeze, I wish there were pasties around here.

Make your own. When our family would go car camping, I would make a batch of pasties to eat the first night when we're didn't have time to cook while setting up camp. Unless we were camping at Brevoort Lake (just west of St Ignace). Then we stop at Lehtos on US 2. But I always have a rutabaga in the fridge for pasty emergencies.

09-30-2021, 08:26
An emergency rutabaga stash… that’s a staple I hadn’t thought of.

You’re right, I should try making them. I talked to a person yesterday, who had gone back to the UP for a trip, and brought back frozen pasties and was treating herself to them one.at.a.time. I was jealous. I’m not into cooking much, but I retire Friday, and that would be a good thing to learn to make and I’ll have the time.

Odd Man Out
09-30-2021, 13:24
The trickiest part is making the crust (if you've never made a pie crust before)

Here is a recipe for 4 pasties (You can stretch into 5 by rolling the dough out thinner)

I use 2 cups of flour with 2/3 cups of shortening (or lard to be more authentic).
Cut together to make crumbs.
Add cold water a little bit a time while stirring just until the dough starts to stick together.
Divide into 4 ball. You don't want to work to dough much or it gets tough.
Refrigerate the dough balls while cutting the vegetables.

Dice beef (sirloin/round/etc...), potatoes, rutabagas, and onions.
You can use hamburger, but steak is better.
I don't measure. I just cut enough for four pasties - about a cup of filling per pie.
I wuold guess 1 lb of beef, 1 large or 2 small potatoes, a small onion, and a slab of rutabaga = to the onion
toss together in a large bowl with salt and pepper and divide into 4 equal parts (1 use 4 small bowls).
They can come out bland so don't be too timid with the seasonings.
If you have about 4 cups you're good to go. Less, cut more. Too much, squeeze it in.

Now get one ball of dough and roll out on a floured surface (I use a pastry cloth).
The dough will be tender and difficult to handle. Dust with lots of flour if it helps.
Roll to about a 9 inch circle. Gently roll dough onto the rolling pin and unroll onto a 9 inch dinner plate.
I find it easier to build the pastie on a plate. It helps to keep the filling in place and make it easier to transfer.
The dough should be overlap the edge of the plate slightly.
Put one sample of filling on half of the dough in a semicircle, but don't go all the way to the edge.
(The upturned edge of the plate helps keep the filling in place)
Fold the uncovered edge of the dough over top the filling all the way to the opposite edge.
Crimp the edge of pie by folding the over uncovered edges toward the middle.
Lift the plate and flip the pastie over onto the palm of your hand. Then flip the pie from your hand onto a baking sheet.
(The plate also make this transfer step easier)

Repeat until you have made all four pies.
Use a knife to poke vent holes all over the tops.
You can brush the tops with beaten egg. This makes them look pretty, but I don't always bother.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 min. If they are golden brown and sizzling, they are probably done.
(eating partial cooked or raw meat...yada yada yada yada... don't sue me)

If not eating right away you can wrap them in foil and freeze/refrigerate. Then reheat in the foil.
If I was going camping, I would wrap them in foil while hot, then wrap them in newspaper for insulation.
If you want, tou can heat them up at camp by leaving them in the foil and throwing them in the fire (burn the newspaper).
Lore has it that miners would heat them on their shovels over their acetylene lamp flame.

Serve with ketchup or brown gravy. Arguing about ketchup vs gravy is a good way to start a bar fight in the UP.

09-30-2021, 20:43
That looks great Odd Man Out. Thanks for sharing!

10-01-2021, 14:55
thanks for recipe!!!

Odd Man Out
10-01-2021, 20:25
Made pasties last night. Yum. Cut a couple slabs off the emergency rutabaga. Still plenty left for next time. They last forever in the fridge.