Copper Country Parks : Copper Country National Parks : Isle Royale National Park Email this article
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Isle Royale Hiking Trails

There are 165 miles of hiking trails that intersect the 133,782 land acres of Isle Royale.  Each trail is very different from another  and range from very easy to very difficult.  Mike Tremblay rates the trails from 1 (very easy) to 10 (very difficult).  There are both long and short trails that people can hike.  The trails themselves are marked fairly plain on the island map that is provided by the Rangers when you arrive on the island.  However, it is very important when you are planning your trip to Isle Royale to consider the difficulty of the different trails as your hike will be significantly altered as the trail's difficulty increases. The degree of difficulty for each trail is not on the island map but is provided below by Mike Tremblay.

Click on the maps below to enlarge different sections of the Isle

West End of Isle

East End of Isle

Middle of Isle

For a description of the 7 Long Trails (Feldtmann Ridge Trail, Greenstone Ridge Trail, Indian Portage Trail, Ispheming Trail, Island Mine Trail, Minong Ridge Trail, and the Rock Harbor Trail) make sure you click on the link above for long trails. For individual miles for these and other trails check the mileage chart provided by the Park which will be in the information package your receive when you get to the Park.  The long trails are difficult to accurately rate as rating depends often whether you are climbing the steep hills or coming down.  The Greenstone Ridge, in many places, is very easy, but can quickly change to being very difficult.  In heavy prolonged rains, trails which are relatively easy can quickly turn into mud and become treacherous.  Trails can also pool up quickly in places making dry feet difficult.  What can make the Rock Harbor Trail difficult is the rain and water on all the lake shore rock over which much of the trail passes.  When dry, great footing.  When wet, slippery and because the rock is often angled, footing can be tricky.  Good boots, patience, and being in good walking shape are necessary ingredients for any of the long trails on Isle Royale.

The 15 Short Trails are Daisy Farm Trail, Chickenbone East Trail, Hatchet Lake Trail, Huginnin Cove East Trail, Huginnin Cove West Trail, Island Mine Trail, Lake Richie Trail, Lane Cove Trail, Mt. Franklin Trail, Mt. Ojibway Trail, Rainbow Cove Trail, Stoll Trail, Tobin Habor Trail, Washington Creek Trail, and the Windigo Nature Trail. Again consult the mileage chart for the specifics of each of these trails.  When the rating on each short trail is given, believe it, as some of these short trails are very difficult and some very easy. 

Although Isle Royale has 100+ miles of shoreline, the mainland is quite narrow with the Greenstone Ridge running right down its back.  Ascending or descending this ridge is what makes the majority of the trails difficult.

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