Miles of colorful sandstone cliffs from 50-200 feet high rise from Lake Superior's rugged shoreline and long stretches of white sand beach invite kayakers to explore the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Launching: Within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, put-in points for kayaks are at Sand Point, Miners Beach, Twelvemile Beach and Hurricane River. Additional put-in points in the Munising area include Grand Island Landing, Munising City Marina, Munising/Brown's Addition boat ramp, and the Anna River. In Grand Marais, you may launch at the Grand Marais harbor beach and marina.
Weather: Lake Superior is unpredictable! Kayakers must be prepared for cold temperatures, high winds, fog and rough seas that may occur at any time. You should constantly be alert to changing conditions and should consult the current marine forecast before starting any trip (NOAA 1-906-475-5212 or Marine Band Radio Channel 16).
Hypothermia: Hypothermia occurs when your body's core temperature is reduced below normal levels. Cold water conducts heat away from your body 25 times faster than cold air. Uncontrollable shaking, slurred speech, or difficulty moving are all warning signs -- you must be warmed immediately. If submerged in Lake Superior, it is important to conserve body heat to increase your chances for survival. Wear your flotation device, huddle with others or pull legs together and up to your chest to help conserve heat. Do not attempt to swim long distances.
Cautions: Sea kayaks ride low in the water and are difficult for other boaters to see. It is best to paddle brightly colored kayaks in red, orange, or yellow.
The Pictured Rocks cliffs extend for 15 miles and include sheer walls all the way to the water line. These exposed cliffs offer no way off the water if wind and waves increase.
Be aware of boat tours that leave Munising on a regular basis during the summer months; they run fairly close to the shoreline with a turnaround point at Chapel Beach.
Most storm systems come from the northwest -- you are fully exposed to the winds when paddling on Lake Superior. There are no protected anchorages at any backcountry or front country campgrounds.
Equipment: The National Park Service recommends that kayakers use wet or dry suits due to Lake Superior's cold water. U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) are required for each person.
Be prepared with provisions for at least one extra day. In your gear, include a first aid kit, emergency signal device, self-contained stove, an extra paddle, compass, maps, insect repellant, tow line, rain gear, waterproof matches, and dry storage containers. Map Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore