Ferry & Water Taxi Service


Consult the National Park Service brochure, "Isle Royale, an Island Wilderness: Getting There, 1998". Travel times are for an average trip in calm seas, from the departure point to Rock Harbor, except for The Wenonah, which travels to Windigo only. Fees quoted are for adults during the most expensive part of the season. Additional fees are charged for transportation of SCUBA gear, excess baggage, and watercraft. Travelers departing from Grand Portage, MN, will need to make arrangements for nearby cash on the barrel parking.

Additional water transportation is available from the concessionaire at Rock Harbor. Although expensive, (Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin: $80, Rock Harbor to McCargoe Cove: $150), it does allow much greater flexibility. Alternatively, you could wait for a ranger led tour on one of the days the MV Sandy is scheduled for an outing and hope that enough people sign up for the trip the day before. If the trip is not cancelled, Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin or McCargoe Cove is only $10. The Voyageur II makes a counterclockwise circle around the main island, stopping at Windigo, McCargoe Cove, Belle Isle, and Rock Harbor Mon-Wed-Sat, completing the trip the next day, stopping at Daisy Farm, Chippewa Harbor, Malone Bay, and Windigo Tue-Thu-Sun. Pickups and drop-offs must be scheduled in advance. Each ferry service has its virtues- consider your own schedule, budget, and susceptibility to motion sickness when making your choice. For opinions on which service matches your needs, consider posting messages on the Usenet newsgroups alt.great-lakes or rec.outdoors.national-parks.
Transportation Service (One Way)
Vessel Length Operator Departure Point Departure Time Transit Time Cost
Ranger III 165 ft. National Park Service Houghton, MI 9 AM EDT 6.5 hr. 47.00
Isle Royale Queen III 81 ft. Isle Royale Line Copper Harbor, MI 8 AM EDT 4.5 hr. 40.00
Seaplane Service   Isle Royale Seaplane Service Houghton, MI Variable Variable 149.00
MV Sandy   National Park Concessions, Inc. Rock Harbor, IRNP Varies Daily Varies Daily Varies Daily
Voyageur II 63 ft. GPIR, Inc. Grand Portage, MN 930 AM CDT 6.25 hr. 44.00
Wenonah 65 ft. GPIR, Inc. Grand Portage, MN 930 AM CDT 3 hr. 31.00


Private Watercraft


Lake Superior's unpredictable weather and unusually cold water temperature create persistent dense fog, and violent squalls, while large weather systems moving across the lake can generate heavy swells and choppy reflection waves. As a result, persons travelling in their own ships need to be prepared for emergencies even on seemingly calm days.

Before travelling to Isle Royale on their own, boaters are advised to:

  1. Not attempt crossings in boats shorter than 7 meters.
  2. Carry a working FM Band Radio, set to channel 16, with a working range of at least 20 nautical miles.
  3. Familiarize themselves with Lake Survey Chart 14976, "Isle Royale" and any relevant Navigational Aids.
  4. Check ahead for mooring depths at individual docks.

As of 1998, visitor entrance fees are: $4 US per individual per day, $50 US per individual per season, $150 US per boat
Consult individual services for fuel transport policies while making reservations