Isle Royale National Wilderness Area and International Biosphere Reserve:
At A Glance
The largest island in the largest freshwater lake in the world but is the least visited of all the National Parks — it’s said that more people see Yellowstone in a single day than visit Isle Royale in an entire season. Eagles, loon, and waterfowl inhabit the isle, however it’s also home to wolves and moose.
Mixed Back-Country Hiking and Kayaking Adventure. Your Choice of Camping or Rustic Cabins.
Our Isle Royale open water kayaking adventure offers a true wilderness experience unlike any other place in the world!
In the northwestern portion of Lake Superior is a unique and remote island archipelago, The Isle Royale National Park and Wildlife Biosphere. The park consists of one large island surrounded by over 450 smaller islands; it encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged land, which extends 4 1/2 miles out into the largest freshwater lake in the world.
A venture into the park’s interior can transport one back thousands of years. Large quantities of copper artifacts found in indian mounds and settlements, some dating back to 3000 B.C.. The island has hundreds of pits from these indigenous peoples, with most in the McCargoe Cove area. Carbon-14 testing of a charred log found at one of these pits yielded an age of 1,500 B.C.
Around 11,000 years ago, two miles of ice lay on top of Isle Royale, pressing it down into the earth and sculpting its topography. This same ice sheet gave birth to Lake Superior as well as hundreds of inland lakes, ponds and bogs. The Greenstone Ridge, which forms the backbone of Isle Royale, is thought by many geologist to be a portion of the largest lava flow on earth.
These isolated islands have only 19 mammal species, compared to over 40 found on the surrounding mainland. The park offers outstanding possibilities for research in a remote ecosystem where human influences are limited. In this respect, Isle Royale is world renowned for its long-term wolf (Canis lupus)/moose (Alces alces) predator/prey study. The ecological study of wolves on Isle Royale is the longest running large mammal predator-prey study on earth. This is made easier because Isle Royale has been colonized by roughly just one third of the mainland mammal species, because it is so remote. In addition, the environment is unique in that it is the only known place where wolves and moose coexist without the presence of bears.
Within the waters of Isle Royale National Park are several shipwrecks. The area’s notoriously harsh weather, dramatic underwater topography, the island’s central location on historic shipping routes, and the cold, fresh water have resulted in largely intact, well preserved wrecks throughout the park.
Our multi-day sea kayak tours generally paddle between 5 to 15 miles per day. Participants must have the physical ability to complete these routes as evacuations for non-medical emergencies can be nearly impossible. Safety is always our number one concern and we do everything possible to manage the risks for our explorers! Your guides have gone through sea kayak instructor and trip leader training with the American Canoe Association (ACA) on Lake Superior. Guides are certified as either First Responders or Wilderness First Responders (WFR). Our guides carry two-way VHF marine radios and a GPS tracking device capable of sending messages and to call for advanced help in an emergency.
Weight/Size Limits: There is a minimum of ~80lbs and a maximum of ~280lbs. Kayaks can be size discriminate and having a safe fit is largely dependant upon height and body shape, too. Our largest cockpits are 17 x 33 inches in size and elongated, so one must be able to comfortably fit into this space to have the freedom to get in and out of the cockpit.