Isle Royale Kayaking Tours

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Isle Royale National Park Kayaking

Copper Harbor is one of two ports in Michigan providing passenger ferry service to Isle Royale National Park, which is one of just five National Park Service sites in Michigan! Isle Royale is the largest island in the largest freshwater lake in the world, and is the least visited of all the National Parks — it’s said that more people visit Yellowstone in a day than Isle Royale in an entire season.

Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula are both closely related. They are a mirror image to each other, sharing the same Michigan county, the same Great Lake and in fact, are part of the same bedrock! Composed of some of the oldest exposed rock in the world, the unique geologic compounds, mineral deposits, parallel spiny ridgelines and botany are virtually identical. Eagles, loon, and waterfowl inhabit both, however, Isle Royale is also home to wolves, moose, and otters. What’s more both showcase premier Midwestern wilderness areas ideal for paddling adventures and are two of the best places for kayaking in Michigan.

Isle Royale offers some of the best kayaking in Michigan! An Isle Royale kayaking trip offers a true wilderness experience unlike any other place in the world! Hiking and boating are the only means of travel, as no vehicles are allowed on Isle Royale. The island has over 150 miles of shoreline and numerous barrier islands and fjord-like bays that can best be explored in a sea kayak.

The three-hour, 56-mile journey on board the Isle Royale Queen IV across the world’s largest freshwater lake, is the start to your adventure. Gain a first-hand perspective on just how large the BIG lake is and perhaps have a close encounter with a behemoth 1000 freighter while in route.

We always try to develop an itinerary that best meets the ambitions, physical abilities and paddling experience of every group, while the trip duration and current marine forecast have an impact on where we will visit. In general, we tend to highlight both the southeast and northeast areas of the Island, as its finger-bays and barrier islands host an area of truly world-class sea kayaking opportunities. It may be possible to schedule a point-to-point tour to other areas of the Island utilizing the water taxi, although additional fees would apply.


Related Adventure Journal posts:
“Where Moose are Loose…”
“Eco-Minded? Paddling Isle Royale is Perfect!”
“Swapping the Backpack for Kayak”
Isle Royale – Open Water Dreaming

“5-Star” Trip Advisor Reviews of Isle Royale Tours: Click Here!

Meet An Isle Royale Guide: Click Here!


Tours can be confirmed with a 50% deposit. Mention our “Early Bird Special” discount when booking your trip, no later than April 15th, and receive a 10% off the trip cost! (This offer does not apply to any trips already noted as a “Special”, as they are already being offered at a discounted rate).

Participants need only to provide a compact sleeping bag, pad, their personal items and a sense for adventure (view Suggested Packing List)!

Reservations are required at least 3 weeks in advance of the scheduled tour to guarantee availability (although we will try to accommodate requests made in less than this time if space still exists on a tour that already has a guide confirmed).

Cancellation Policy: 50% deposit is non-refundable if a cancellation is made less than 2 weeks prior to the scheduled departure. Otherwise, deposits will be refunded, minus a 15% cancellation fee.


The following schedule is a tentative guide. It may be possible to schedule a tour for other dates and duration based upon guide availability and space on ferry boat.

2019 Isle Royale Trip Schedule/Pricing

June 13-17 5 day / 4 night *June Special $999/person
June 21-24 4 day/ 3 night *Solstice Special $899/person
July 2-6 5 day/ 4 night $1199/person
July 11-14 4 day / 3 night  $1049/person
July 18-22 5 day/ 4 night $1199/person
July 27 – August 1 (THREE SPOTS LEFT) 6 day / 5 night $1349/person
August 4-8 5 day/4 night $1199/person
August 11-14 (ONE SPOT LEFT) 4 day/ 3 night $1049/person
August 24-28 5 day/ 4 night $1199/person
September 6-9 4 day/ 3 night *September Special $899/person

Isle Royale National Park Kayaking Trip

General Trip Safety Information

The Keweenaw Adventure Company operates many of its sea kayak tours in very remote, uninhabited areas. Although our overnight tour guides are certified Wilderness First Responders, emergency and medical response can be distant and time-consuming at best. Participants need to be aware that weather conditions on Lake Superior can sometimes be extreme with greatly varying temperature, wind and wave conditions. We will not set out if there are poor conditions on the Lake or if there is an unfavorable marine forecast, but conditions are sometimes subject to change throughout the course of the day. Participants need to be aware for the possibility of cold water immersion and for paddling in choppy or rough water.

Although we do not require previous paddling experience for our multi-day tours (our guides will provide instruction), participants need to be aware that our multi-day sea kayak tours generally paddle between 5 to 15 miles per day. Participants must have the physical ability to complete these routes as evacuations for non-medical emergencies can be nearly impossible.

Safety is always our number one concern and we do everything possible to manage the risks for our clients! Your guides have gone through sea kayak instructor and trip leader training with the American Canoe Association (ACA) on Lake Superior.  Guides are certified as either First Responders or Wilderness First Responders (WFR). Our guides carry two-way VHF marine radios and a GPS tracking device capable of sending messages and to call for advanced help in an emergency.

Weight/Size Limits: There is a minimum of ~80lbs and a maximum of ~280lbs. Kayaks can be size discriminate and having a safe fit is largely dependant upon height and body shape, too. Our largest cockpits are 17 x 33 inches in size and elongated, so one must be able to comfortably fit into this space to have the freedom to get in and out of the cockpit.

Isle Royale is the perfect paddling location for all skill levels. Our guide had expert skills and knowledge. I felt I was safe at all times. Every campsite had a magnificent view. There’s nothing better than watching the sun set with the boreal forest in the foreground. This experience was everything I was hoping for.


Nan B.

Reviews We Love

Sea_Kayaking Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 16 reviews
5 1

Great Bunch!

5 5 1
Jeff & I did the 4 night to Isle Royale last week with Ben Miller. Within the last 5 years we have kayaked ice fields in Iceland, the Na Pali Coast off Kauai, and Milford Sound in New Zealand, to name a few.. This trip was every bit as enjoyable as any we have done. Ben was a wonderful guide, and I really appreciated the effort Sam took in putting this together with the right people. It was a great bunch! Thank you Sam.

4 day/3 night Isle Royale kayak trip

5 5 1
I can't begin to describe how totally awesome this trip was for my Wife and I. Our KAC guide, JJ, is not only an excellent and highly experienced paddler, it turns out he is a great cook as well. He knew exactly where to go and, probably more important, where not to go. Early on in the trip JJ asked each of the 4 guest paddlers what their expectation was for the trip. The most common answer were things like good weather, see a moose and other wildlife etc. My answer was a bit more uncommon in that I wanted to kayak Lake Superior during high surf and bad weather; it's just how I roll. I have to say that JJ delivered on everyone's expectations, including mine. We saw a gigantic bull moose up close on Raspberry island, a huge beaver and 5 Bald Eagles soaring together overhead in Rock Harbor; truly amazing. JJ also pulled some strings and delivered some beautiful weather, except for a brief period when a brief squall came through as we were passing between two islands. Some of the most exciting paddling I have ever done. After we crossed to Raspberry Island JJ took me and another paddler out into open Lake Superior to experience the big surf I was hoping for. I cannot give JJ more praise for the experience that he provided. In the end, I think that Isle Royale should be on everyone's bucket list. The park is indescribably beautiful and the facilities at each of the campsites were fantastic. Our experience with KAC and JJ were all top notch and I have been relaying my experiences with anyone who will listen.

Sea kayak adventure

5 5 1
Went on a 2 hour tour with J.J. Yesterday 7/30/16, fantastic trip! J.J. Was very knowledgable about kayaks including the safety aspects. Nice too that he told a lot of facts about the area. Very well run operation, definitely will recommend Keweenaw Adventure and J J again! He was awesome!!

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