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Isle Royale National Park

A superb water and wilderness archipelago, this is Isle Royale National Park. Experience nature in all her moods of peace and violence, an island of mystery and scientific exploration. Isle Royale is unique among the National Parks in its wilderness setting, cut off as it is from the mainland by many miles of Lake Superior waters. Backpacking at Isle Royale is a premier backcountry destination. No roads, no cars, only wave-swept shores and boreal forest trails that will be long remembered.




This will be an advanced backpacking trip, spanning May 23-June 1. We will leave Chicago on Thursday May 23 and carpool to Copper Harbor, Michigan (approx 8hr drive). Thursday night we will camp at Ft. Wilkins State Park campground. Friday morning we board the Isle Royale Queen IV vessel and cross Lake Superior to Isle Royale’s Rock Harbor (~3.5 hour crossing, take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness). From Rock Harbor we will backpack into the park and camp at designated campsites. Daily mileage will range 6-12 miles. The organizers will select the route and campgrounds. The return ferry crossing from Isle Royale will be Friday May 31, arriving at Copper Harbor around 6pm. Plan to arrive back in Chicago sometime Saturday June 1.

Who Can Attend:

This trip is suitable for backpackers with three-season backpacking experience over multiple days. If you have not been on a Beginner Bootcamp, you should not be on this trip. Contact one of the organizers if you are unsure of your backpacking experience.

Other Considerations:

One should understand the risks before signing up for this trip. Added caution and safety considerations will be taken, for there are no medical facilities at Isle Royale and it is a long trip from the park to a doctor’s office. Even a minor accident can turn a happy outing into a dismal experience. The organizers will collect some basic medical information in the event of an emergency.

You will need to bring your own gear and food. A good tent or shelter and adequate bedding are essential. Light-weight equipment is best. Warm clothing is a must. Stout, waterproof, and comfortable footwear is best for the rough and often wet terrain. A lightweight waterproof hardshell, trousers, and packcover or poncho are recommended. Expect rain and some insects (mosquitoes and black flies are not expected to be too bothersome during late May, but be prepared). Organizers will coordinate a gear shakedown before departure. See Group Camping Information link below for detailed information on gear, food and other precautions.

Opportunities for photography are excellent, so take your cue camera fans. Binoculars are handy for close observation of wildlife and for distant views.

Campfires are only permitted at a small number of campgrounds, so plan not to have a fire most nights. A small, lightweight stove is required for cooking.

Because of the potential for cold temperatures and remoteness of location, alcohol consumption is permitted but can be dangerous. You are responsible for your safety and comfort.

Fishing licenses are not required for inland lakes and streams; however, you must purchase a Michigan fishing license if you plan to fish on Lake Superior or connecting waters. Click the below Group Camping Information link for more information regarding fishing regulations.


$120 per person for round-trip ferry fare

$32 per person for NPS user fee (8 days @ $4/day).

$20 (approx.) per person for parking & camping fees in Copper Harbor & Ft. Wilkins State Park

$5 non-refundable Meetup fee (pay when you signup).

You are responsible for all fees, so please bring cash. User fees, parking and camping fees will be collected by the organizers on Thursday May 23. You are responsible for making your own ferry reservation. See Isle Royale Queen IV link below for ferry reservation information.


Organizers will arrange carpools approximately 10-14 days prior to departure. No need to solicit rides. Be sure to check the email associated with your Meetup profile and respond promptly to carpool information requests. Gasoline costs will be split among members of each carpool.


We practice Leave No Trace and expect everyone attending be committed to these principles.

No add-ons. If your friend wants to attend, please ask him/her to sign up for the Meetup site and join the trip through normal procedures.

No pets, children, or other dependents.


Isle Royale National Park:

Isle Royale Queen IV reservations:

Group Camping information: Read this! It contains important information to help you prepare.

Recommended Reading:

Moose Wolf Study:

Isle Royale Foot Trails and Water Routes:

Isle Royale Forums:


Please email us.

Chris and Spencer


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  • Amanda

    What a great week!! Thanks everyone for making the trip so wonderful : ) Lots of good times and laughs! Special thanks to Chris and Spencer for putting the trip together : )

    June 3, 2013

  • Billy K.

    This trip was the shizznit! A great group of folks in a spectacular wilderness area for 8 days was exactly what I needed. I am definitely going back there. Chris/Spence, thanks so much for organizing this amazing trip! Kinda re-ignited my passion for getting out in the woods. I haven't felt this content going back to work after a vacation in my life.

    June 3, 2013

  • Ryan M

    Amazing pictures!!!!

    June 3, 2013

  • Giedrius

    What a great time we had on this trip!
    Big thanks for organizing, talking, sharing tea and snacks, singing, having birthday, hiking together, laughs, sharing a tent, driving, joking and not joking, playing guitar, bandaging my wounds, bringing wine-glass, filtering water, just being together, waiting for sunsets and moonrise, counting stars and calories...
    Thanks everyone for making this trip so amazing.

    1 · June 2, 2013

  • Asta

    Wonderful adventure with great people and breathtaking views! Thanks to organizers and all group for unforgettable time!

    June 2, 2013

  • Mark G.

    Thanks Chris and Spencer for putting together this amazing trip. A great group and easily the best trip I've been on so far.

    June 2, 2013

  • Chris

    Expectations met and exceeded! Thanks everyone for being part of such a fantastic trip.

    June 2, 2013

  • Giselle B.

    Is there one spot left? Is that what I am seeing
    on the screen?

    May 21, 2013

  • Gene B.

    My mom has been admitted to a hospital from a stroke like event.

    May 18, 2013

  • George D.

    Documentary filmed on Isle Royale National Park screening in Chicago at the Chopin Theater 1543 W Division St Chicago on May 22nd. Opening reception at 6pm, film begins at 7:30pm. Check out the trailer here.

    1 · May 14, 2013

  • Agne

    Sorry, I can't make it. Starting a new job on Monday...

    May 9, 2013

  • Chris

    Showers are available after our hike in Rock Harbor - cost is $6 for 5 min. There are not lockers for rent, but the lodge will store a duffel bag of clean clothes for a small fee ($3.50/bag/day I think).

    May 7, 2013

  • Ryan M

    Sorry guys, this trip isn't for me.

    May 5, 2013

  • Paul C.

    Post photos of the trip! I'd love to see. Thanks!!

    May 2, 2013

  • Julie

    Uugh, can't take work off! I know you'll all have an amazing adventure!

    April 13, 2013

  • Marzena

    This is such a beautiful place! You will have a blast!!!

    2 · February 13, 2013

  • Mary R.

    . . . in the event Wonderland permits elude me. Or they don't and I and hit the vacation lottery. . .

    1 · January 19, 2013

10 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Isle Royale National Park

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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