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From: Rock Harbor, Isle Royale
Price:$ 1,395
Duration: 8 Days, 7 Nights
August 10 - 17, 2019

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8 Days, 7 Nights
Skill Rating:
Rock Harbor, Isle Royale
$ 1,395
Included: Guides, group camping equipment, permits and all meals on the trail
Not Included: Transportation, parking fees, personal clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping pad or backpack

Explore the best of the “Big Island” on our 45 mile traverse of Isle Royale, the best kept secret of our national parks. A natural sanctuary for wildlife and nature lovers, Isle Royale offers opportunities to observe moose, beaver, muskrat, fox, mink and a vast array of other wildlife in their natural habitat. Spend your nights relaxing around the campfire listening for the nocturnal serenade of wolves or the call of the loons. One of our Top 5 places to visit in the United States, Isle Royale will take you away from it all.


Day 1: We'll meet in Grand Portage, MN to get acquainted over dinner and spend the night at a local campground. We rise early the next morning to catch the ferry out to Isle Royale.

Day 2 -6: Upon arrival in Rock Harbor we will spend the week backpacking to Windigo, crossing the entire island. We will be travelling anywhere from 6 to 10 miles per day. Although the trail is rated "moderate", there is an occasional difficult section with a knee-bending climb. Camping is primitive but comfortable at the five national park campgrounds. We ask that you participate in all camp activities, including cooking, washing dishes and setting up and breaking camp, in order to hone your wilderness camping skills and have the finest and most complete outdoor experience possible.

Day 7: We pack up our gear and prepare to leave this beautiful island, returning to Grand Portage by ferry, to spend one last night at a local campground (we try to camp near some hot showers this night!), celebrating and enjoying the week's memories. Day 8: Breaking camp a final time, we make our farewells and head home. **This itinerary is subject to change.

Clothing & Equipment:

You should dress in layers for warmth and for easy removal to prevent overheating.
All items should be waterproofed and packed inside your backpack.

Clothing Checklist

  • Raingear (jacket and pants) preferably of a breathable material
  • Underwear and 1 pair synthetic long underwear NO COTTON
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 1 long sleeved shirt Light sweater/ wool or pile (fleece)
  • 1 pair fast-drying long pants NO BLUE JEANS
  • 4 Socks - 2 wool and liner socks if you use them
  • Sun/Rain/Cold hat
  • 1 Well broken-in pair of light weight hiking boots. Gortex soft shells are very good.
  • Bandanas
  • 1 pair of sandals (something comfortable to wear in camp, tevas for example)

Equipment List

  • Backpack (internal or external frame) at least 4,500 cubic inches.
  • A waterproof backpack cover
  • Bug repellent
  • Sleeping Bag (compact 3 season), closed-cell foam pad
  • Small flashlight with extra battery and bulb - headlamps are preferred
  • Plastic mug with handle and lid
  • Toiletry Kit (toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap/shampoo, sunscreen, tampons, nail clipper, personal medicines, etc.)
  • Pocket Knife
  • Matches or lighter (in waterproof container)
  • 2 water bottles (at least 1 quart each)

Optional Equipment

  • Compass
  • Camera, film, waterproof container
  • Fleece pants (especially if you tend to get cold easily)
  • Fleece vest (especially if you tend to get cold easily)
  • Ziploc ® storage bags
  • Sew/repair kit
  • 1 small towel (Packtowel® works well)
  • Journal
  • Reading book

What is special about this trip?
Isle Royale is a hidden national treasure. It is the least visited national park in the continental United States, and since it is in the middle of Lake Superior, has next to no day visitors. It is a pristine, secluded wilderness paradise full of unspoiled forest and stunning shoreline.

How do I get there?
sle Royale is, at its closest point, 14 miles off Minnesota’s shoreline in the heart of Lake Superior. Upon Registering for the trip you will receive a map and exact directions to our meeting location. Participants wishing to carpool, or get a ride up from the Duluth airport, should contact The Northwest Passage office.

How and where will you meet me?
We typically meet you at the ferry launch in Grand Portage, MN. Your guides will contact you to confirm the meeting location.

How long will it take me to get there?
It takes about 9 hours to arrive at Grand Portage, MN from Chicagoland.

Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan to arrive early or stay late, give the office a call for a recommendation on a great place to stay.

What money should I take?
You won’t need any money during the trip, just traveling money.

Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
There are ATMs available on the mainland, but finding one on the island can be tricky.

What's the weather like?
It can get up to the high 80s during the day and dip down to the mid 40s at night. The water is usually about 60 degrees in the summer.

What are the accommodations like?
This trip is a camping trip. The Northwest Passage will provide two-person tents for participants to share and all the necessary group camping equipment. Those wishing to have an individual tent should contact us regarding the availability of a single supplement. Often the campsites on Isle Royale will have outhouses and lean-to’s which can be used for cooking and/or sleeping purposes. When traveling in the backcountry, NWP practices Leave No Trace camping techniques. This means that we will pack out all of our garbage, and minimize our impact on the land as much as possible. Your help in this endeavor is greatly appreciated!

What do I need to bring?

We will send you a gear list upon registration.

Can I drink the water?
Some say you can drink the water straight out of the lake around Isle Royale, but we treat all our drinking and cooking water either with a filtration pump, tablets or by boiling it.

What's the food like?
The guides cook up delicious food and lots of it. To fuel our paddling muscles we have hearty hot breakfasts, lots of snacks, trail lunches and hot suppers, usually fajitas, jambalaya, pesto pasta, Thai noodle dishes, rice and beans, etc.

What time zone will I be in?
Isle Royale is in the US Eastern Time Zone

How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
Once on Isle Royale it will be very difficult to access a phone, therefore we recommend that you have all of your personal matters in order before the trip departure. We will be asking you to provide us with an emergency contact whom we can contact on your behalf if necessary.

How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We hike between 6 and 14 miles in a day. Our route, however, is very flexible so we can hike as much or as little as we want to each day.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We use Eureka tents, Whisperlite stoves and Katadyn filtration pumps.

How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
We typically take between 4 and 10 people on this trip. The guides are experienced outdoor professionals and are certified in Wilderness First Aid.

How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
Prior backpacking experience is not necessary, but if you haven’t carried a pack before you might want to go for a couple hikes before the trip. Load your pack with about 30 pounds and hike around town or better yet on dirt trails. As your fitness improves, instead of increasing the weight in your pack increase the duration of your hikes.