Isle Royale Backpacking EdVenture: Moose and Wolves of the Northwoods

Join the Minnesota Zoo for this amazing moose and wolf adventure!

Lake Superior’s Isle Royale National Park is an island of wild creatures, unspoiled forests, refreshing lakes, and rugged scenery. Hike trails known for moose sightings, amazing stargazing from reduced light population, and visit one of the least frequented National Parks as you can only reach the island via boat or plane. Discover this US Biosphere Reserve known for its isolated population of wolves and moose.

The Zoo is partnering with Wilderness Inquiry (WI) to provide this trip. WI will provide the food, tents, cooking supplies, and two amazing guides. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and ground pads are also available if you need one.

All participants are required to be vaccinated and boosted to travel with Wilderness Inquiry.

Date: Summer of 2023
Age: Adults age 18+
Cost: TBD (this includes the round-trip ferry from the mainland, the park permit, food on the island, 3 guides, and some gear if needed)

Registration Deadline: TBD

Activity level: Easy | Moderate | CHALLENGING | Difficult
- Hiking many miles each day over rough terrain, in all types of weather
- Carrying your own gear as well as some food and community gear (tents, fuel, etc.)
- Sleeping on the ground in a tent

Transportation: Guests have to provide their own transportation to and from Grand Portage.

Parking: You will be spending your first night at Judge CR Magney State Park (20 miles from Grand Portage where you take the ferry to Isle Royale), where you will be required to purchase an overnight state park pass ($10) or you may use an annual pass ($25). On the second day of the trip we will drive to Grand Portage where you will leave your car for the remainder of the trip. Parking here costs $5 per day.

Packing: For those who would like a few tips on how best to pack your backpack, check out these REI tutorial videos: video #1 and video #2.

Day 1: Trip starts at Judge C.R. Magney State Park mid-afternoon
- Drive from Minneapolis to Grand Portage, please plan to arrive by 5pm
- Get to know your trip mates over a delicious meal.
- Get packs ready to go meet the ferry in the morning.
- Campsite Info: Judge C.R. Magney State Park 4051 MN-61, Grand Marais, MN 55604

Day 2: Grand Portage to McCargoe Cove
Take the MV Voyageur II ferry to Windigo to pick up your permit and then onto McCargoe Cove
- Get up early to meet the 7:30am ferry for the 3-hour ride to Windigo on the western end of the island to pick up permits at the ranger station
- Parking at the ferry landing is available through the city for $5/day
- Then continue on to McCargoe Cove to start your hike and set up camp for night 1 on the island.
- Day hike options this afternoon if the group would like
- Campsite Info: McCargoe Cove

Day 3: McCargoe Cove to Chickenbone West
- Enjoy a hearty breakfast before breaking camp and setting out on your way to Chickenbone Lake. Your first full day on the Island!
- Mileage: 2.7 miles
- Hours traveling: 2 hours

- Campsite Info: Chickenbone West

Day 4: Chickenbone West to Daisy Farm
- Your longest trek on the Islands starts today. You’ll spend a good portion of the day hiking on the stunning Greenstone Ridge Trail a 1.2 billion year old lava formation that is the very reason there is a land mass in the middle of Lake Superior.
- Mileage: 7.9 miles
- Hours traveling: 4-6 hours

- Campsite Info: Daisy Farm

Day 5: Daisy Farm to Three Mile
- After a day of elevation climbs and topping out on Isle Royale. Today’s trek is a recovery hike by comparison. Enjoy following a trail never too far from Rock Harbor in case you want to cool off.
- Mileage: 4.4 miles
- Hours traveling: 2-3 hours

- Campsite Info: Three Mile

Day 6: Three Mile to Rock Harbor to Grand Portage to Home
- Enjoy one more bright and early hike.
- As the campground name implies, you're still about three miles from Rock Harbor where the Voyageur II will be departing at 8:30am to take our group back to where we started in Grand Portage. - Also enjoy one last circumnavigation of Isle Royale before arriving back in Grand Portage around 3pm, then depart and head home.
- Mileage: 2.7mi
- Hours traveling: 1-2hrs

- Campsite Info: Your own bed

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