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  1. #21

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    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.

  2. #22

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    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?

  3. #23
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    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.

  4. #24

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    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)
    Last edited by OhioHiker; 10-11-2020 at 09:41.

  5. #25
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    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.

  6. #26

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    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?

  7. #27

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    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.

  8. #28
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    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.

  9. #29

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    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!
    Last edited by Pringles; 10-12-2020 at 23:37.

  10. #30

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    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.


    WHAT IF...

    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!

  11. #31
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    Pink Lady Slippers are very showy wild orchids. Google it for a picture.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #32

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    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.

  13. #33

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    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)

    or

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

    or

    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.

  14. #34

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    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... .

  15. #35

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    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.


  16. #36

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    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.

  17. #37
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    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.

  18. #38

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    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?

  19. #39

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    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.

  20. #40
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    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.

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