First-Timers to the Island

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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First-Timers to the Island

Post by backcountry1913 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:41 am

My husband and I are planning a trip the IR on June 25-29th. We would be riding the ferry in from MI to Rock Harbor on the 25th at 0900. We will be catching the ferry at the same time on Saturday, the 29th back to MI. We don't want to spend anymore money than necessary, so we would like to do the entire trip hiking (no kayaking or island ferries). We are in our late 20's and both avid hikers and campers and we are looking to do about 8-10 miles/day (if that's feasible with the terrain). Does anyone know of a good itinerary for the short time we are going to be there? We want to see the most we can in the short time we are going to be there. We are spending the first part of vacation traveling around MI and camping at State Parks and going to IR is the ending of our vacation. I know it is a short time to be up there and it makes it hard because we want to start and end at the same place. Would hiking from Rock Harbor to the other end (Windigo) and catching a ferry to get back to Rock Harbor even sound feasible due to the timing of everything :?: Thanks for any help :D

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Re: First-Timers to the Island

Post by johnhens » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:48 am

Welcome to the Forums and to Isle Royale. If you are up to it, hike to Moskey Basin the first day, 11 miles. The next day do a loop through Richie to either Chckenbone West or to the Greenstone to either the Daisy Farm cut off or to the Ojibway tower (Great views) also great views along the Greenstone. Spend the night at Daisy Farm and back to RH the next day. You could hike back up to the Greenstone to the Ojibway tower if you missed it the previous day and take the Greenstone back to RH or hike the RH trail.
The terrain is mixed, dirt trail with exposed roots and hiking over rocks. Pay attention to the cairns between Daisy and Moskey as the trail can become coy.
You could hike to Windigo in 2 long days and catch the ferry back (depending on when you get to IR). A bit ambitious.

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Re: First-Timers to the Island

Post by thesneakymonkey » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:04 am

Maybe a short east side loop would work for you. I wouldnt want to do an end to end with that few of days. Dont get me wrong it is totally doable but you will want more time then that to soak in the cool sites.

With your days you could do:
June 25 Rock harbor to 3 mile
June 26 3Mile to Moskey
June 27 Moskey to Daisy
June 28 Daisy to Rock Harbor
June 29 Depart Rock Harbor
Trip #1East side loop:
Trip#2 Minong End to End : ... 9ZJVgtfgga
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Re: First-Timers to the Island

Post by dcclark » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:41 am

I second doing a short east end loop, rather than doing an end-to-end. Not only will you have more time to enjoy the sights, but that would remove the need to hitch a ride on the Voyageur from Windigo back to Rock Harbor too (and thereby open up another day for you to enjoy things). I don't think it's necessary to do an end-to-end hike to see the best parts of the island -- quite the opposite, in fact!

Here's another possible agenda:

June 25: Rock Harbor to Lane Cove
June 26: Lane Cove to Daisy Farm
June 27: Daisy Farm to Moskey Basin
June 28: Moskey Basin to 3 Mile
June 29: 3 Mile to Rock Harbor, then depart.

This gets you to the north shore of the island, and Lane is good for sunsets, plus you'll get up on the Greenstone ridge and see Mt. Franklin and Mt. Ojibway.

Alternately, if you do thesneakymonkey's agenda, take advantage of your extra time in Rock Harbor by going to a ranger presentation (free), taking the Sandy on a tour (costs a little, but much less than the Voyageur), and/or hiking the Scoville trail.

Side note: If you're seeing MI state parks, be sure to stop at the Porcupine Mountains! Plus for some more backcountry fun, check out Craig Lake.

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Re: First-Timers to the Island

Post by Base654 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:15 am

one of my standby trips:
25 Rock harbor to Daisy
26 Daisy to McCargoe cove
27 McCargoe to Moskey
28 Moskey to Rock harbor
29 shopping depart.

So, yes longer days, but I'm 48 and not in great shape.

Rock to daisy is a bit longer, but it's flatish, it's really not a big deal. If you don't make Daisy, you can pick up the miles and still make McCargoe the next day. Or skip McCargoe and go to Moskey.

Moskey to Rock harbor... I am out of camp at 8ish and at Rock between 2 and 3... with a lunch at 3 mile. It's long (12-14 miles) and not for some, but I like Moskey enough to want a day there and not Daisy or three mile. And my pack is empty. Alternately, stop at 3 mile and get up early the 29th.

remember you have sun early and late in time of year. somewhere around 6am to 10pm.

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Re: First-Timers to the Island

Post by Tortuga » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:26 am

I second Base's suggestion above. You'll hit McCargoe and Moskey, which are two of my favorite camps on the island. I would personally stay at 3Mile rather than Rock Harbor on the 29th, then march in early morning. To be fair I take the Queen, which departs later than the Ranger, so it might depend on your boat.

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