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Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide

Updated: Apr 5


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide

Taking in Pictured Rocks from the water definitely provides a unique perspective of the beautiful sandstone cliffs that make up the park. With about 60 miles of driving and 100 miles of trails encompassing Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Munising to Grand Marais, there is much to explore by land.


While most people say the best views of Pictured Rocks are from the water, that is not to discredit the amazing trails that lead to breathtaking waterfalls, historical landmarks, forest wilderness, and cliff-top views. In our opinion, with limited time, you should preference the land activities of Pictured Rocks as it will allow you to explore a variety of what Pictured Rocks has to offer in just one day.


If you are looking for a more relaxing trip at Pictured Rocks, you may also consider a Boat Cruise, taking you on a tour of 16 attractions from Munising to Grand Marais in just 2.5 hours. Given more time, you may also consider adding a guided kayak tour to witness the colorful sandstone of Pictured Rocks up close.


Pictured Rocks Kayaking Guide

Pictured Rocks Travel Guide: Kayaking Adventures
Pictured Rocks Travel Guide: Kayaking Adventures
Pictured Rocks Travel Guide: Kayaking Adventures
Pictured Rocks Travel Guide: Kayaking Adventures




Kayaking Safety & Conditions


If planning to Kayak on Lake Superior, NPS has recommendations & requirements for your safety

  1. You must have a Sea Kayak on Lake Superior (long & slim for coastal paddling)

    1. No recreational kayak or canoes should be used on Lake Superior. If you do not have a Sea Kayak, consider kayaking the Au Train River or Beaver Lake.

  2. PFD (Personal Flotation Device)/Life Jacket

    1. Required for each person in the boat and required to be worn at all times in the water

  3. Whistle or Air Horn

    1. Required to be attached to you for immediate use while in the water and must be audible for a half mile distance.

  4. Inform a friend/family of your float plan & timing

    1. If you do not return as planned, they can get a search started

  5. Check the Marine Weather Forecast

    1. Weather changes quickly and makes a difference if you are kayaking open water, a bay, or near the shore.

  6. Recommended: Know how to re-enter your kayak, wear a wetsuit, & paddle with others


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide

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Group Kayaking Tours


Tandem Sea Kayaks ($168/Adult and $128/Youth 12 & Under)


Enjoy 2 hours (about 5 miles of kayaking) near the most picturesque parts of Pictured Rocks. The total trip is about 4-5 hours, with the remaining time being a tour by boat shuttle to the launch of your kayaks around the mouth of the Mosquito River. The boat follows nearby during your kayaking time to allow for emergency help and restrooms, making this tour accessible for various ages and skill levels.


Compared to other kayak tour companies based in Munising, we have found that Pictured Rocks Kayaking offers the best kayaking route and optimizes your time on the water by viewing the most picturesque stretch from Mosquito Beach to Chapel Rock (same stretch of lakeshore as the Chapel Basin Hike from our complete guide). The pricing is competitive for the area and offering, therefore, if you preference the amenities and guidance that a guided kayak tour offers, booking with Pictured Rocks Kayaking is your best bet.


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide

Tickets: $168/Adult


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide

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Kayaks starting at $25 for the full day!


Enjoy a 3 hour kayak ride down the Au Train River, paddling 7.5 miles downstream through the Hiawatha National Forest from the Riverside Bridge to the Doucette Bridge. Northwoods Canoe & Kayak Rentals picks you up at their private parking lot located by Doucette Bridge, allowing your car to be waiting for you at the end of your journey, and shuttles you to the beginning of the tour at Riverside Bridge. Although the kayaking can be completed from bridge to bridge in roughly 2.5 hours, your rental price includes the full day up until they close at 5pm which allows for time to stop and admire nature along the river, take a swim, go fishing, or picnic along the riverbank.


The Au Train River kayaking tours are an awesome way to experience the waters of the Upper Peninsula. Northwoods Canoe & Kayak Rentals does a fabulous job of making sure your experience is fun and safe for the whole family.


Pictured Rocks Kayaking: Adventure Guide