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Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Kayaking

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Kayaking

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is encompassed by towering sandstone cliffs, beautiful beaches, dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, deep forest, and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior. Located in the heart of Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, vibrant colors of minerals like copper and iron have stained the face of the Pictured Rocks cliffs, formations, and sea caves over thousands of years.

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Kayaking

Though hiking trails run throughout the park, the national shoreline is best seen by water. Kayaking the scenic area has made quite the splash lately among people of all ages. Located in the small city of Munising, Pictured Rocks Kayaking is the only company that launches paddlers from a boat, guaranteeing an exciting but safe experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the Pictured Rocks Kayaking adventure:

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New: Choose from 2 Tours

Ultimate Kayak Tour

4-5 hours with 2 hours of kayaking, the best adventure
Ultimate Kayak TourPaddling next to Chapel Rock on the Ultimate Kayaking Tour.

What we’re famous for! The bucket list experience. Paddle only the most iconic stretch of Pictured Rocks, such as Lover’s Leap and Rainbow Cave.

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Miners Castle Tour

3 hours with 1 hour of kayaking, just $99
Miners Castle TourMiners Castle, as seen from the water.
Just added last year in 2022! The tour is the most affordable in the area at just $99. Paddle along the start of lakeshore & cliffs to one of the most famous sites, Miners Castle.
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Whichever tour you choose, it is recommended passengers purchase tickets at least three weeks ahead of time. Tickets can be booked online or by calling (906) 387-5500.

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Ultimate Kayaking Tour: The Rundown

Tour Rundown

You’re not with Pictured Rocks Kayaking if you’re not on a boat.

Your guided tour begins at our office where you board one of our vessels and cruise through Munising Bay into Lake Superior. You’ll sail by landmarks like the East Channel Lighthouse and Miners Castle during the boat ride to the paddling route.

Tour Rundown

Our boat follows you – making it safer and more convenient for varied ages and abilities.

Kayakers are launched from the boat right where the iconic stretch begins, just past Painted Coves. On your paddle route, you’ll get intimate views of Caves of all Colors, Lovers Leap, Rainbow Cave, Indian Head, Gull Rookery, Grand Portal, Battleship Rocks, Flower Vase, Indian Drum, Chapel Cove, Chapel Rock, among other natural treasures.

The Ultimate Kayak Tour Map

Trips are approximately 4-5 hours long with around 2 hours (5 miles) of kayaking time. Once finished with the paddle portion of the trip, you don’t have to paddle all the way home – you’ll board the boat for a ride back to shore.

Why You Need to Paddle Pictured Rocks

Safety & Convenience is Our Game

Safety & Convenience is Our Game

Since our boats follow you along as you kayak along the Pictured Rocks shoreline, you’ll always be within a reasonable distance of restrooms and emergency help if ever needed. Families and seniors can choose to take a break at any time, making your trip as comfortable as possible. However, we still don’t recommend this tour for smaller children.

We only offer tandem (two-person) kayaks, due to their stability, and will pair you up with a guide or another person if there’s an extra person in your group.

Who Can Kayak Pictured Rocks?

Safety & Convenience is Our Game

All of our kayak guides are ACA trained and will be with you throughout the duration of your adventure. No previous kayaking experience is necessary for this tour and a basic safety and paddling course will be provided before you board the boat.

Pets are not permitted on our tours.


What to Bring?

What to Bring?

We recommend bringing sunglasses or a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and shoes or sandals. Please keep in mind anything can get wet. We sell floating waterproof phone cases at our office. You may have food and non-alcoholic beverages aboard, as well. While always beautiful, the weather in the U.P. can be finicky at times. Be sure to bring appropriate layers for rain or cold weather.

Plan Your Trip

Arrive Early

Arrive Early

Make sure you keep travel time in mind when choosing your tour start time – especially morning tours. Please arrive at our office at least 45 minutes prior to confirm your booking, receive gear, and review safety protocol prior to boarding. You’ll get a chance to sit in one of our kayaks, and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

What if the Weather’s Bad? — The Grand Island Tour Option

What if the Weather’s Bad?

We do paddle in light rain; however, if Pictured Rocks Kayaking cancels a trip due to weather, you will be provided with a full refund or you can opt to reschedule your tour depending on availability. While safety is our number one concern, we will always do our best to work with you.

Grand Island TourOne of the many waterfalls seen during a kayaking tour of Grand Island.

If weather permits, kayakers may opt for the Grand Island tour for a reduced rate. Given its location in Munising’s bay, Grand Island is typically protected from winds that cause tall waves. This means a safe paddling surface. Grand Island is quite the hidden gem, with a serene calm not found in other areas, while still offering the same gorgeous geological rock layers as the national lakeshore. Since the tour is often after rain, kayakers can enjoy dozens of waterfalls they find along the island up close.

Preparing for Your Trip to Munising and Pictured Rocks

Preparing for Your Trip to Munising and Pictured RocksPhoto Credit: Tim Trombley

Of course, the first thing you should do is book your tour! Tickets go fast, and you want to make sure you can experience this one-of-a-kind adventure. It’s also recommended to have a place to stay before you travel. The Munising and Pictured Rocks area provides a wonderful selection of lakeside hotels, cabins and cottages, and rustic or modern campgrounds.

Preparing for Your Trip to Munising and Pictured RocksPhoto courtesy of the Alger Co. Chamber of Commerce

Once you drop off your bags, it’s time to explore! Stop by the local visitor centers for maps of the nearest trails, a waterfall and hiking guide, and all sorts of other information about the Munising and Pictured Rocks area. That’s everything you need to know about Pictured Rocks Kayaking. Happy paddling!

Check kayaking the Pictured Rocks off your bucket list today and book your adventure now!

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