Top 7 Highlights of a Pictured Rocks Kayaking Tour
What are the Pictured Rocks?
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula between Munising and Grand Marais, massive sandstone cliffs, caves and unique formations along Lake Superior shoreline, sand dunes, miles of incredible hiking trails, beaches, waterfalls, inland lakes, and wild forests make up the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Minerals from Lake Superior stain the rock face with magnificent hues of white, red, blue and greens as water seeps into cracks and crevices in the sandstone.
Your First Step: Book with Pictured Rocks Kayaking
Pictured Rocks Kayaking is the only company in Munising that launches kayakers from a boat. “This is the BEST way to see the rocks. What great views! Best crew. Felt safe the entire time” is one of the many raves about the outfitter on TripAdvisor.
Tours begin aboard a vessel heading out of Munising Bay with amazing views of Grand Island, the Historic East Channel Lighthouse, and Miners Castle. The boat anchors near the Painted Coves where staff helps launch paddlers into the water for five miles (approximately 2 hours) of kayaking along the lakeshore.
To ensure the safety of all passengers, the vessel stays with the kayaking groups throughout their entire adventure. Once done with the paddle portion of the trip, kayakers board the boat and head back to the mainland.
While phenomenal views are enjoyed from the boat, the true adventure begins once paddlers are launched into Lake Superior.
Here are the top highlights of a Pictured Rocks Kayaking tour:
Some of the cliffs in the Pictured Rocks are 300 feet tall! Though the structures can appear daunting at first, they’re rich in color and history. The rock walls captivate your eye and make you realize the scope of this great land.
3. Paddling through A Gigantic Archway
In case you needed another reason to paddle Pictured Rocks, near the end of the tour, you’ll reach Lover’s Leap. The popular 250-feet-tall archway is one of the most iconic and photographed formations in the Pictured Rocks park – going through it is certainly a magical memory you won’t forget.
4. Gliding over the Big Lake
The Pictured Rocks can attribute most of its unique geological features to the big lake. Not only is Lake Superior the largest of the Great Lakes, it’s also the world’s biggest freshwater lake by surface area. And it’s clean! So much in fact that people can see an average of 30 feet below its magical turquoise waters.
5. Eagles and falcons, oh my!
Bald eagles and peregrine falcons are common birds found along the lakeshore, with one Pictured Rocks Kayaking guide even claiming they saw 6 falcons on one trip!
“We lucked out with amazing weather and not only saw a bald eagle but saw baby peregrine falcons learning to fly! Pictured Rocks were gorgeous. Seeing it from the kayaks was better than any other way in my opinion,” another TripAdvisor review raves.
6. Uncover the Lore of the Pictured Rocks
The Pictured Rocks was established in 1966 as the first designated national lakeshore in the United States. Prior to that, the remote area had been cherished and worshiped by the Ojibwe tribe for hundreds of years.
As paddlers glide along the cliffs and caves, tour guides will share fascinating stories and beliefs passed down from Native Americans.
7. Gorgeous Views from the Boat
While most of the landmarks are enjoyed when kayaking near them, don’t forget about the others you get to see on a boat! Miners Castle, quite possibly the most popular formation in the Pictured Rocks park, is accessible by land but the view from the water is unmatched. Enjoy this beauty aboard the vessel and prepare to be launched from the boat shortly after.