7 Amazing Facts About the Pictured Rocks
Whether you want to kayak, boat or enjoy miles of hiking and biking trails in the summertime, or snowmobile, ski or explore frozen waterfalls and ice caves in the winter, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a year-round destination with something for everyone.
The area draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, and the reasons are undeniable. Here are seven incredible facts of the Pictured Rocks that will have you eager to experience it firsthand:
1. Why Are They Called Pictured Rocks?
The cliffs in the Pictured Rocks park soar between 50 and 200 feet over beautiful Lake Superior. The rock face is stained by vibrant colors from minerals like iron and manganese that are found in the water. While often mistaken as the “Painted Rocks,” the name Pictured Rocks refers to the colors from lake minerals only; there are no pictographs (rock paintings) or petroglyphs (rock peckings) within the national lakeshore.
2. Monumental Wave Action on Lake Superior
The Pictured Rocks are located between the cities of Munising and Grand Marais on the southern shore of Lake Superior. A force to be reckoned with – the big lake is known to cast waves as tall as 40 feet.
Needless to say, the weather in the area is highly influenced by Superior so it’s imperative to stay vigilant and keep an eye on the forecast at all times, especially when planning a trip on the water.
Guided Pictured Rocks boat and kayak tours in Munising are suggested to see the best parts of the park safely.
3. Autumn Colors – the Best in the Country?
Did you know the U.P. has been recognized countless times as the best place to view autumn colors in the entire U.S.?
The optimal time to witness fall foliage in all its glory is either during the final week of September or within the first ten days of October, although it’s difficult to foresee the precise “peak” weekend. To maximize your chances of catching the best display, it’s wise to plan your visit ahead of time.
4. You Can Climb Waterfalls in Pictured Rocks
Michigan Ice Fest, the largest event of its kind in the Midwest, takes place in the Pictured Rocks every year. The combination of cold temperatures, waterfalls, lake-effect snow, and water seeping out of the rock layers of porous sandstone cliffs creates phenomenal ice curtains and columns.
5. How Old Are Pictured Rocks?
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore contains ancient red sandstone called “Jacobsville Sandstone”. Rising just a few feet above lake level, the oldest rocks visible in Pictured Rocks were deposited between 1 billion and 500 million years ago during the Precambrian period! The
6. You Can Kayak through Sea Caves
Now offering a 3-hour Miners Castle tour, passengers can explore the caves of the most popular sandstone formation in the park! Otherwise, their 5-hour tour features Lovers Leap, Grand Portal Point, Chapel Rock and Cove, and so much more.
7. There are Over 7 Waterfalls in Pictured Rocks
Nature’s artistic flair is on full display at Pictured Rocks as over 7 majestic waterfalls can be found within the national lakeshore! These cascades range from thunderous torrents carving through gorges to gentle trickles cascading into Lake Superior.