"Picture"-ed Rocks Through Hike

"Picture"-ed Rocks Through Hike

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 46.66075°N / 86.14105°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 3, 2009
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Fall
Page best viewed in widescreen format...my apologies if you don't have one!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

What follows is a brief but photographically visual account of my through-hike of the Pictured Rocks area in Michigan's UP last September. After three years of living in the area (well, 3 hours away) my wife and I decided it was finally time to head over and see what those Pictured Rocks were all about...Boy, were we glad we did!

Day I

After rising well before the sun and packing our car, we drove the 3 hours to the Park Headquarters in Munising to arrange for our permits, etc. at 8:00. We parked our car and hopped on the shuttle for the Grand Marais side of the park, and arrived around 11:00. From there, it was all on foot for the next 45 miles until we reached our car again!

Pictured Rocks TrailheadJust about to hit the trial at the Grand Sable trailhead.
Pictured RocksThe beginning of our journey...

After hiking for several miles, we finally came out at a place called "Log Slide" at the crest of the Grand Sable Dunes. From there we headed to our campsite at East Au Sable...

Pictured RocksLog Slide (the lake is ~300 feet below...)
Pictured RocksWhere the Grand Sable Dunes meet Lake Superior. Epic!

Pictured RocksTaking a break after an easy first day...
Pictured RocksThe lighthouse at Au Sable Point

Day II

We awoke to a beautiful, calm morning and a great sunrise over the dunes. This day was going to be a long one, with over 15 miles planned, and not much expected in the ways of scenery...

Pictured RocksSunrise over the dunes
Pictured RocksContrary to popular belief, the entire lakeshore is not cliffs...this is along Twelvemile Beach. (You guessed it: 12 miles long!)


Today was the epic day: our first taste of the famed cliffs! We got to hike a beautiful 10 miles along the tops of cliffs as much as 200 feet tall.

Pictured RocksNear Spray Falls, approaching the highest cliffs
Pictured Rocks

Pictured RocksChapel Rock is one of the most visited (and, sadly, abused) places in the park
Pictured RocksApproaching Grand Portal Point, one of the wonders of the park

Pictured RocksTypical sandstone cliffs and beautiful waters of Lake Superior
Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks
Pictured RocksYours truly atop a random feature along the trail

Pictured RocksThis gives a good idea of the height of the cliffs!
Pictured RocksMany of the cliffs are beautifully striped or colored otherwise, hence the name

Pictured Rocks
Pictured RocksMiner's Beach at sunset

Day IV

This would be our last day in the area...we woke up nice and early to hike the final 8 miles to our car and the 3 hours drive home. What a great trip!

Pictured RocksCliffs at Miner's Beach
Pictured RocksMiner's Beach for sunrise breakfast...


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-13 of 13

maddie77777 - Feb 24, 2010 9:14 am - Voted 10/10


I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes last year, and was totally amazed with Northern Michigan. I saw some pics of Painted Rocks on our trip, and vowed to go there sometime this year. Your pictures are fantastic, and I want to go now more than ever.


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 24, 2010 10:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Awesome!

if you thought that northern lower michigan was awesome, wait until you get to the UP! it is a whole order of magnitude more beautiful/rugged/amazing! let me know if you need some ideas of places to visit, otherwise be sure to check out my page and dwhike's pages for lots more info and ideas! enjoy :)


cp0915 - Feb 24, 2010 9:45 am - Voted 10/10


Terrific photos. I haven't been to Pictured Rocks in years!


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 24, 2010 10:13 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Beautiful

thanks! once we saw what we had been missing, we asked ourselves why we hadn't done it sooner!

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Feb 24, 2010 10:17 am - Voted 10/10

Great place

Nice TR. I was there a few years ago for a couple of days and thought it was spectacular. Your pictures bring back some memories, especially of the Log Slide. That was fun!

I have been to Lake Superior a few times now, to different areas, and have always been amazed by the beauty there.


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 24, 2010 2:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great place

thank you bob :)
lake superior is certainly no mountain, but it has a captivating beauty all its own...it's tough to beat the raw wildness and power of lake superior (it's similar to a mountain, but in its own ways)
thanks for stopping by!


lcarreau - Feb 24, 2010 5:31 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Great place...

Agreed !!!

Lots of folks say, "The Mountain is EVERYTHING!"

But, there's other landforms out there that are perhaps more
accessible, besides being much more memorable. Nice job and the
perfect smiles on your report !!!

Larry of AZ


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 24, 2010 7:23 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great place...

thanks larry, lake superior is certainly more accessible than many mountains i have seen!


lcarreau - Feb 24, 2010 9:00 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Great place...

Yeah, and if you want a drink of fresh water ...

Just kidding, I guess it's best to have bottled water along with you.

Stu Brandel

Stu Brandel - Feb 26, 2010 2:26 pm - Voted 10/10

Pictured Perfect

Great TR. My only trip to the Pictured Rocks was 10 years ago, and Chapel Rock was a spiritual experience. When I was there the tree atop Chapel rock had roots running over the gap and back to the 'mainland'. Your picture shows no roots and you have a caption stating that Chapel Rock had suffered abuse in some way. What is going on with it? I will be very sad to learn it was desecrated.


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 26, 2010 4:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Pictured Perfect

if i remember correctly, there is at least one root that still spanned it (it is not visible off to the right) unfortunately there were many signs of vandalism (carvings, etc.) as well as littering around the area. it was fenced off to prevent people from climbing on it and ruining it, but it was very obvious that these measures were frequently ignored. it was in decent shape, but it was evident that it had seen better days...
still, it was a wonderful place to visit! too bad a few have to ruin it for the rest of us, eh?


MarkDidier - Feb 27, 2010 10:44 am - Voted 10/10

Gotta Get North!

Nice TR and great pics. I think about getting to the UP often, but my car always seems to head southeast or west. One of these days...


stinkycheezman33 - Feb 27, 2010 12:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Gotta Get North!

thanks mark :)
the UP is totally worth it for a shorter drive and more reasonable budget (though for you it's probably just as close to head to the appalachians...) the Big Lake is something truly amazing to behold!

Viewing: 1-13 of 13



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.