Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

Moderator: dmdhiker

Post Reply

Topic author
MooseFan
NewbieCake
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 12:20 pm

Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by MooseFan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:21 pm

Our first trip to Isle Royale will be Aug 23rd and are staying at one of the cabins at Rock Harbor. There are four of us coming from the Duluth MN area and are wondering if there are options other than the Voyageur II to get there. Are there boats available for round trip hire in Grand Portage? One traveler may be prone to getting sick/anxious so the boat shouldn't be too small :wink: Any suggestions? Thank you!

User avatar

IncaRoads
Forum Moderator
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:52 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 11
Location: St. Paul, MN / Fernandina Beach, FL

Re: Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by IncaRoads » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:35 pm

Not aware of any private boat charters in the Grand Portage MN area. You may want to consider travel from the Michigan side as the travel times to Rock Harbor are shorter. The Ranger III out of Houghton MI is the largest boat and typically provides the smoothest ride.

Link to NPS website on transportation options---> https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/directions.htm

User avatar

Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1425
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by Ingo » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:25 pm

Hmmm, Aug 23rd is a Thurs and the Voyageur II goes out on Mon, Weds, and Sat. I agree with IncaRoads on the Ranger III, but it goes out on Tues & Fri. Which leaves the Queen IV out of Copper Harbor--larger and more comfortable than the VII and runs every day (in Aug)--also the quickest boat ride to RH. I'm not aware of any charter boats to IR either--would be a fishing charter boat if there is any.
The other option is the seaplane out of Grand Marais--but that may only be better for someone with a boat issue and not a more general motion sickness/small places issue. Shortest time, however.


Topic author
MooseFan
NewbieCake
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by MooseFan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:00 pm

Thanks IncaRoads and Ingo. I was wondering about a fishing boat or something other than the Voyageur out of Grand Portage - if anyone has had luck with that. A 6 hour boat ride is too long for me. Otherwise we will consider the seaplane or a ferry from Copper Harbor.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 979
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by Midwest Ed » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:51 pm

You can book a charter boat for a fishing expedition but I almost certainly doubt they are allowed to simply ferry you to/from Rock Harbor Lodge. Commercial enterprises are strictly controlled by the federal government (NPS and Coast Guard) and they are licenced for specific purposes. Plus it would far more expensive than the commercial ferries AND a far smaller boat.

The Isle Royale Seplane service now offers a route to/from both Windgo and Rock Harbor that originates in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

My suggestion is to drive the extra hour and 15 minutes to Copper Harbor for a fairly quick 3.5 hour ride on the Queen.

(Edited to add links)
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
MooseFan
NewbieCake
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Boat options from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor

Post by MooseFan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:52 pm

Good info Midwest Ed, thank you!

Post Reply