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Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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NoaNadeem
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Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by NoaNadeem »

In mid-July sometime, 2 of us are thinking of taking the ferry from Copper Harbor, stay one night overnight in Rock Harbor campground, and returning back on the next day's ferry. Unfortunately I don't have more time to add an extra day.

Couple of questions:
1) I'm assuming there are capacity constraints when I arrive at Rock Harbor campground (which I assume is very close to where the ferry docks?) - what happens if its full, is there a way to pre-reserve it (doesn't seem so for smaller parties), and is the campground being full a valid concern in mid-July? If I cannot guarantee a space and it tends to run out, then I'll look into the expensive hotel room there for peace of mind, but would prefer not to spend that extra money if possible.

2) Assuming I arrive around noon on Day1, and then catch the 2:45pm ferry back on Day2, what would be the two best small day-hikes to do on the island?

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dcclark
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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by dcclark »

1) Rock Harbor campground is quite large and close to the ferry dock. There are no campsite reservations anywhere on the island (except for group sites, which a group of 2 wouldn't qualify for.) Campsites can hold 2 or 3 tents, and campers are very good about sharing sites. (Sharing sites is the expectation at any rate.) So even though the campground is likely to be quite full on a ferry departure day in July, you'll won't have any problem finding a place to camp. It may not be a private site and it may not be quiet, but you'll have a spot!

Another option is to try to grab a hotel room or camper cabin, but those are much more expensive (and may be fully reserved already for mid-July).

2) If you feel up to some climbing and 6-7 miles, a good choice for your first day is to take Tobin Harbor or Rock Harbor trails and then turn up to Mt. Franklin and back. You can also stop over at Suzy's Cave and decide to turn back there if you'd prefer. #1 choice for a shorter day is Scoville Point. It's beautiful and quite easy.

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thesneakymonkey
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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by thesneakymonkey »

1) the campground is a 2 minute walk from the dock
2) RH does fill up, but that said, many folks are willing to share a site or a shelter
3) you could get lucky, but RH will likely be full or filling fast
4) can I suggest a plan B to hike out to 3 mile instead of staying at the lodge (if rock harbor full)? 3 mile is not that far (conveniently 3 miles from rock harbor). If you have the gear and some experience it is VERY doable. Youll have plenty of time to make it back in time on day 2.
5) adding another day (or half a dozen) to your trip would be ideal but I know that isnt possible for everyone. The island is impossible to explore in 48 hours.
6) Dont get me wrong when I say this next one. I do like rock harbor. BUT honestly I think the further you get away from the hustle and bustle of that area the better your experience will be.
Trip #1East side loop: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2 Minong End to End : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 9ZJVgtfgga
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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dcclark
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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by dcclark »

One upside: A bunch of folks in Rock Harbor Campground will be packing up to leave on the Queen the same afternoon that you arrive. So there's a decent chance you can snag a nice site (or even a shelter) from one of them.

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booyah
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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by booyah »

One of several nice things about taking the Queen from Copper Harbor is that it gets there several hours before the Ranger. Each time I have taken the Queen we've walked past empty shelters/empty sites for RH but once the ranger shows up they fill right up. The last trip we stayed in RH as my hiking partner had a poor response to the Dramamine on the ride over. We had to unload and rack kayaks, and were still able to nab a tent spot and went hiking locally. Before we made dinner we had a neighbor in the site with us (who came over on the Ranger). The other tent site had a few tents as well, so usually people will make space.

jerry
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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by jerry »

I arrived on the Ranger late last June. There were numerous tent sites available after 3pm. You should be in good shape arriving earlier then that.

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Re: Rock Harbor campground - does it fill up / campers turned away?

Post by Bobcat1 »

Last August, on a Ranger arrival day, I limped into the Rock Harbor campground after 9 pm and pretty near set my tent up in a trail, the campground was so full. But the site I was half-on, half in the trail was a small one that already had two tents and the residents were asleep but in the morning it was no problem that I had moved into their site, that’s just how it works. At the other end of that trip, I had a shelter and I cleaned up all my stuff and was ready to share, but no one asked.
19 RH-ML-TI-RH by kayak
16 RH-DF-MB-TI-RH-3M-RH by kayak
09 RH-DF-MC-TH-HL-SD-WC
00 WC-IM-WC
96 WC-FL-SB-SD-HL-CE-3M-RH
94 RH-DF-MB-3M-RH
92 RH-DF-LR-CW-HL-SD-IM-WC

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