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Isle Royale National Park, MICHIGAN

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Camping Michigan Isle Royale National Park
Most Recent Isle Royale National Park Camping Reviews
Beautiful and quaint right on Lake Superior!

This was a last-minute stop for us because we didn't want to stay at the campground we had originally intended. I found it here on The Dyrt, but bypassed it for another campground option. However, when we drove past the roadside sign, my husband said he wanted to check it out. And we're so glad we did!

When we pulled in, we were told to use the telephone to call the host and they would come and help us out. So when we did, somebody drove up and gave us our choice of spots. The campground was almost empty, so we had anything we wanted, and majority of the options were on the lake!

some of the spots are closer together so there's not a lot of privacy, but the side of the campground we were on had lots of buffers between the sites in the form of pine trees. each site had a gorgeous campfire ring made out of stones pulled off of the beach. It's a red Rock Beach! The bathroom was in a little house, but it had its own shower and looked like something from a log cabin. Not at all like a campground bathroom! there was another shower house at the opposite end of the campground which had similar decor. There was also dump station and fresh water easily available. not to mention the laundry house! Two washers, two dryers, and a sink for scrubbing plus all of the laundry soap and dryer sheets you needed. It was just payment on the honor system to use them. Very reasonable!

there was no electric hook-up at the site we were in, but we didn't need one. However, they were available.

Great little find in Michigan!

Nothing wrong, but nothing fancy

Most sites have a view of the water, but this campground has a very specific purpose to this area, and it's not for long term camping. I mean, you can, but there isn't much glamour here.

The good part… They have electric, the bathroom is close, you can take a shower and even do laundry! In the summer, my husband says it's fun to people watch here (he's stayed before), but this time of year, it's quieter. The slips and dock are right in front as well as the camp office. The casino is an easy walk, and since you are so close to the border, you can exchange your money as well (Canadian to USD and vice versa).

We didn't know in advance, but paying for the campground allows you free use of the pool inside the casino!

Now, the ugly party.. The price. It was about $45 for an electric site. I think tents were about $20. While it did come with the amenities mentioned above, there is no privacy at any of the sites. The back row sits against the trees, but that's as good as it gets.

Bottom line, it's a good stopping spot near the border where you can plug in and swim, but not great if you want privacy or upscale.

I'd stay here again, but probably opt for a tent site to save some money if I could make do off the grid.

Quiet and spacious

Only a few shelters and we got the last one on Tuesday afternoon we arrived.

The shelters are similar to the other ones on the island.

There are outhouses but no potable water nor cell reception.

There were a few people who docked their fishing boat and ate here.

Quiet and Scenic

We could see the water from all shelters, But in 1 the shelter isn't as exposed as there are trees at the shoreline to block the wind.

There are outhouses, but no potable water at the site.

Gorgeous, Established, and has Shelters

Stayed in a shelter (there are 9) - they are no additional cost. There was one open when we got in on a Saturday afternoon in late June. 

It is the most established campground we stayed at. It had pottable water on tap. It had a ranger station and a small store.

Quit Spot for a rest.

Nice private camp ground. Sites are nice on the North side not to crowded with some trees still. South side much more open.

Tent camping.

This is a nice campsite. Not very private no trees or shade but I guess it’s not really needed when you’re on Lake Superior. It’s mid June and the high is 60. You get to enjoy all the amenities of the lodge and casino. The view is very nice.

Amazing place, management, and view!

Went here over memorial weekend and I've gotta say it was just wonderful. This is a more modern camp site with a full bathroom and shower for those of us who dont want to make our own Blair witch movie but that doesn't take away from the beautiful lake view and the wonderful surrounding wild life. I will be coming back.

Busy Camp

Not as many sites located directly on the water, about a 7ish mile hike from Rock Harbor. This is one of the few if only campgrounds on the island with fire rings because of people boating in and fishing. Quite a few tent shelters. Can get crowded because of the close proximity to the harbor.

Lake side camping at its best

Tent camping right on the lake. Camper camping right next to it.

The $12 Frozen Pizza is well worth it at Washington Creek

Washington Creek was an awesome place to end our trip. The campsites were right next to a cove and were awesome! The fox trying to steal our shoes in the middle of the night was annoying, but overall, a great experience.

The frozen pizza was awesome. You have the choice of sausage or cheese. We each ordered our own. The General Store has just the amenities that you want at the end of your journey. Especially a shower!!!

Isle Royale National Park is amazing and I can't wait to go back!!!

What's that noise? The sound of a trillion mosquitos!!!

South Lake Desour was my least favorite campsite on Isle Royale National Park. It felt suffocating with the afternoon heat and the bugs were insane. About 8:00 p.m. you had to dive into your tents to survive the mosquitos. The noise sounded like a jet engine out side the tent. Anyone without a bug net would be miserable.

Even at 7:00 a.m. in the morning when we were trying to pack up, we were bitten like crazy. Lesson learned: spray your clothes with permethrin before you go backpacking in Isle Royale. BUT it is Isle Royale national Park so it still gets three stars.

RANGER REVIEW: Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef at Hatchet Lake

This was one of the interior lakes on Isle Royale National Park. It is very pretty, and the water is a perfect temperature for swimming, but the mosquitos are thick in the interior of the island, especially at the interior lakes. All of the campsites at Hatchet Lake are comparable. I don't think there was a bad campsite.

RANGER REVIEW: One of the benefits of being a contributor on theDyrt is you are given the opportunity to test different gear. I had the Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef. It is freeze dried and very light for backpacking. The best part, it tastes great!!! I give the Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef 5/5 stars.

RANGER REVIEW: Mountain House Scrambled Eggs is 4/5 Stars

Todd Harbor was my favorite place we stayed on the island. The breeze from Lake Superior kept the bugs down and the campsite had awesome views of the lake. We stayed at site number 4, I highly recommend it, but get there early or someone will beat you to it.

RANGER REVIEW: For all of the reviews that I have performed on theDyrt, I was able to receive a lot of Mountain House freeze dried food to sample and review. I had the Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers. Honestly, it is a really good breakfast. The two servings is a little much for me by myself, but it is a great portion to share with your camp buddy. I give it 4/5 stars.

Our First stop on the Island

A small group of family and friends left the luxuries of home to backpack thirty miles in Isle Royale National Park. It was an amazing experience and I look forward to taking the rest of my children here as they grow up.

The first leg of our journey was a boat ride from Grand Portage, Minnesota to McCargoe Cove. We did not do much backpacking the first day. We did hike around the area and set up camp to take it easy our first night. We elected to stay in our own tents, but those who wanted more amenities could take advantage of several small shelters built in each camp.

Other than Windigo and Rock Harbor, there are no amenities other than some shelters and latrines.

McCargoe Cove is set in a cove right off Lake superior, so this spot is especially popular with the fishermen since there is a nice dock and ease of access for their boats. This was a nice place to stay but it wasn't my favorite.

I tried some new food at McCargoe Cove that I highly recommend: NOKA - Mango/Coconut was fantastic.

History & Wilderness

Awsome wilderness, history and scientific research site. Backcountry camping and shelters available.

lots of moose activity

busy campground, usually people’s last stop before taking ferry back to U.P. Outhouses and bathroom access. Lots of shelters. A resident bull moose that frequents the area that is out all hours of the day.

easy hike, beautiful view

easy and quick hike from Rock Harbor, campsites are secluded and great access to Lake Superior. out houses are not as well maintained as they are at other campgrounds. If you can get a site on the water, best lake access on the island.

Quiet Scenic Campground

One of the most scenic campgrounds on Isle Royale. Difficult hike downhill to the cove, but worth it. Only a handful of campsites so arrive early if possible. super quiet, and lots of beavers around!

Great wilderness campsite

Very secluded campground with individual Lake Chickenbone access at each campsite. Very good spot to see wildlife including moose!

Amazing views with private campsites

Great lakeshore access, plenty of wildlife viewing, great campsite all around!

Secluded, tranquil bay

This was by far my favorite campground (that we stayed at.) We got a shelter right on the bay, and it was secluded enough from the other campers to the point where we could walk out to the water and clean ourselves nude without having peeping toms. The nights were cold and clear, and very still, with the occasional loon call. There is a dock a short hike east, connected to the campground, with plenty of places to relax and enjoy nature. We saw beaver, river otters (?), and hares here, as well as plenty of birds, including nesting loons.

Algae Bloom

4.5 stars. We had started out from Daisy Farm that morning, heading to Chickenbone lake due to the fact that Lake Ritchie had an algae bloom warning. By the time we got to Chickenbone (tired, cranky) another hiker told us they spotted algae flakes in the water. We set up anyway, hopeful that maybe they were full of beans, but our resident marine biologist confirmed everyone's fears. Algae. So we hiked a mile back to a stream we had crossed early, got our water, and returned. We also didn't realize until the next morning that someone from the previous night (who probably drank some of the bloom water) had taken a giant sloppy crap under the trees right near our site. Neat. So, I suppose fair warning if you are thinking of camping here during bloom season. (late summer.) BUT, I suppose if we had camped here minus the bloom, we would have had a great experience. The lake is beautiful, and there are plenty of tent sites right on the lake. I would try and go here again if during a different season.

Beware the shelters in Inclement weather!

I would give this a 4.5 rating, but here we are. We arrived on the island during a rainstorm. One of our friends wasn't feeling so well, so instead of making it to Daisy Farm, we stopped here. We scrambled for a shelter, but the only shelter with room for 3 people was right on the water. (multiple were right on the water) and the wind, rain, and mist from the lake sprayed right inside. We made due with tent foot prints and other items to make a shield from the storm, but fair warning if you're headed here during a storm and you want a shelter. Otherwise, it's a nice spot. You get a few non hikers showing up wondering where the showers are (lol) but other than that, everyone is great. Also, a busy spot since it's so close to the harbor.


This campground feels large, and has a lot going on. Ranger station, dock, access to the trail that goes up to the tower, lots of vault toilets, and quite a few shelters that sit far away enough from the lake so that inclement weather won't affect you as much.

Open space to view Lake Superior

Nice campground but we like trees and not open view except wonderful view of Lake Superior.

Close to the casino …a walk away.

Grand Portage is the last stop in MN to Isle Royale NP

Grand Portage Lodge and Casino is not what I imagine as a place to pitch a tent, but right next to the marina is an RV park and a bunch of spots for tents. I'm not a gambler so this is not normally a destination for me, but it is the best place to camp to make it to the Ferry by 6:30 a.m. the next morning to be transported to a paradise in Isle Royale National Park.

The nice thing about the campground is that you sit on a hill and look out at lake superior. There is a large gas station next to the marina where you can make phone calls at a pay phone (There is no cell service) and get some last minute treats before you head out on the boat.

This is the place to stay if you are going to Isle Royale National Park from Minnesota.

Great scenery in one of the least visited national parks

The shelters at Rock Harbor Campground were especially welcoming to us at the end of our 40-mile trek across Isle Royale in June 2016.

We started in Grand Portage, Minnesota, and ferried to Windigo. From there we hiked around 40 miles across the spine of the island, on the Greenstone Ridge Trail, all the way to Rock Harbor. When we arrived, we were happy to see that there were still a few wooden shelters available and we wouldn’t have to pitch our tent the last night before catching the ferry back to Grand Portage in the morning.

Isle Royale is one of the most remote and least visited national parks. It was the 51st (of 59) that we visited during our year on the road, and it was not a disappointment.

While our long backpacking trek felt like we had accomplished something major, we would also recommend just sticking around the Rock Harbor and completing some of the shorter trails as day hikes.

The Rock Harbor Campground was nice: its wooden shelters provided good protection from the rain and a place to spread out after feeling cramped in our tiny backpacking tent for the previous two nights. It also had a picnic table, water and bathrooms nearby.

Don’t forget to plan out your trip thoroughly with a ranger ahead of time!

You can read much more about our three days hiking across the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Isle Royale)

Our first night on the Island

We stayed at Caribou the first night of our trip. This little island has a large leantou for everyone to hunker down in and a outhouse. It should be noted that this island is one of the only spots that you can build a fire.

Very Nice, but crowded

Great spot, but crowded for obvious reasons. Only 2.7 miles from rock harbor, this is obviously a popular place to stop for a night. We stayed here our last night so we only had a short hike in the morning before catching the ferry back to the mainland. Definitely not secluded, but nice all the same.

Had some decent trees to put hammocks up if you bring one. Also, made a little fox friend that came through our site