General Trip Planning Information
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located on the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, between the communities of Munising (west) and Grand Marais (east).
Please visit http://www.nps.gov/piro for more information and area maps. Topographical maps can be purchased at the park visitor centers located in Munising and Grand Marais, MI.
Car Michigan state highways M-28 and M-94 lead to Munising. State highway M-77 leads to Grand Marais. Alger County Road H-58 and other spur roads (some unpaved) provide access throughout the lakeshore. Many roads are closed by snow during the winter.
Plane Grass airfields are located near Grand Marais and Munising. Regularly scheduled commercial airline service arrives at Marquette, Escanaba, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
Bus Regional bus lines stop in Marquette and Escanaba.
Please contact the following for information on local transportation:
Alger County Transit - ALTRAN 530 East Munising Avenue, P.O. Box 69 Munising, MI 49862 906-387-4845 www.altranbus.com/backpack.html
Altran's reservation page www.altranbus.com/reservation.html
Altran runs seven days a week. Please refer to their website for the schedule and special run information.
Altran transportation services require advance pre-paid reservations. Checks are accepted as well as Paypal. If Altran does not have reservations, the bus does not make the run.
When making a reservation, please indicate your pick-up date, time, and location; your drop-off location; and the number in your party.
The Altran bus travels east towards Grand Marais on Alger County Road H-58, with the return trip traveling west on H-58 to Munising.
Traditional recreation uses include hunting, fishing, day hiking, overnight backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Lake Superior greatly ameliorates temperature extremes, slowing spring warming and the onset of winter. The coldest months average well below 0°C (32°F) and the warmer months about 22°C (70°F).
The average date of the last freezing temperature in spring is June 8, and the average first fall freeze is September 23; however, freezing can occur during any month. The freeze-free period, or growing season, averages 107 days annually.
The big lake's presence also increases precipitation at the lakeshore. Annual precipitation averages 31 inches; annual snowfall is 140 inches. Snow generally covers the ground from late November through late April.
The area is the second-most cloudy region of the United States, characterized by an annual mean cloud cover of 70 percent. Much of the cloudiness occurs in autumn and winter, and can be attributed to cool air flowing over Lake Superior being warmed along the shore and forming clouds. This condition also often results in rain, fog, and snow. Spring is relatively clear due the cold water surface of the lake.
The prevailing wind is from the west, with average velocities ranging from 7 to 9 miles per hour. High winds and storm conditions on Lake Superior are not uncommon.
Safety and Current Conditions
When you visit the lakeshore come prepared for a variety of weather, terrain, and unexpected situations. The weather near Lake Superior is unpredictable. Summers are often warm but be prepared for cool, rainy, windy weather. Hypothermia can occur at any time; know the symptoms. Use a layered clothing system.
Do not count on your cell phone. Many areas of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore do not have cellular coverage.
Important Warning - Falling Trees and Branches
Beech Bark Disease has spread throughout the national lakeshore, resulting in many dead and dying beech trees. Be aware of these trees and the potential for falling branches and trees.
This disease is initiated by a non-native insect accidentally introduced into the United States. Secondary attack by both native and non-native fungi further stresses American beech trees and causes an unusually large number of weakened and dead beech trees. The insect and fungus pose no direct threat to humans. There is no practical control method in large natural forests.
The National Park Service is making every effort to identify and remove dying and dead trees from developed areas as quickly as possible. However, all park visitors - but particularly hikers and overnight backcountry campers - should be alert for trees that are weakened, have large dead limbs or are completely dead, especially in windy conditions.
Be alert. Look up. Choose your campsite carefully.