Your Guide to the Best Pictured Rocks Kayak Tour
In the past ten years, Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has emerged as a sought-after destination for kayakers – and it’s easy to see why. The allure of exploring stunning sea cliffs and winding through spellbinding caves on enchanting Lake Superior is the ultimate experience of a lifetime.
This great lake can be notoriously rough at times, so a guided kayak tour of the Pictured Rocks is highly recommended. While several outfitters in Munising offer tours of the national lakeshore, Pictured Rocks Kayaking is the area’s exclusive outfitter that launches paddlers into the water by boat.
For maximum safety and convenience, the accompanying cruise boat conveniently caters to varying ages and abilities. Whether a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, you’ll find comfort in the fact that their team is always nearby, ready to assist.
Embark on an amazing tour beginning with a boat ride where you’ll pass notable landmarks such as East Channel Lighthouse and Miners Castle before your kayak guide launches you into the water near Painted Coves.
Duration: 4-5 hours
Paddle Time: 2+ hours
Dates: Memorial Day Weekend – October
During the trip, you’ll paddle five miles along colorful sandstone cliffs, stopping at the massive Rainbow Cave and the stunning Chapel Rock, while getting the chance to also paddle underneath the famous Lovers Leap archway. This unparalleled experience showcases the best of the lakeshore and is a must-try!
Pressed for time? Try the Miners Castle Tour, a new option introduced in 2022.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Paddle Time: 1+ hours
Dates: Late June – Early September
This adventure begins at the start of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with just over an hour of paddling. You’ll explore the beautiful colors of the cliffs and caves on the water before arriving at one of the most famous formations, Miners Castle.
Alternative Tour: Grand Island
In the event of unfavorable weather conditions, trip cancellations or a refund may be necessary. However, kayakers may still have the option to embark on a Grand Island Tour at a reduced rate, weather permitting.
Grand Island, located in Munising Bay, is typically sheltered from winds that create high waves, providing a safer paddling experience. This hidden gem boasts serenity and displays similar stunning rock formations like the Pictured Rocks. Although an alternative tour, it certainly doesn’t disappoint, as kayakers can witness dozens of up-close waterfalls that emerge after a rainfall.
Features of All Tours
Pictured Rocks Kayaking has been expanding its fleet and enhancing safety measures since 2016. In anticipation of the 2023 season, they’ve further upgraded facilities to ensure exceptional service from beginning to end of your tour. Their commitment to delivering a top-notch experience remains unwavering. Features on all tours include:
- Basic safety and paddling course before tour
- Tandem (2-person) kayaks for stability — paired with guest or guide if odd-number
- Custom-made kayak boat takes you to offshore launch point and picks you up
- Boat follows along for the whole tour, with restrooms and access to belongings
- American Canoe Association (ACA) certified tour guides
- Perfect for anyone 5 years of age or older with upper-body mobility