How to Visit Pictured Rocks in One Weekend

Upon moving to Ann Arbor and becoming an adopted Michigander, there were many destinations in Pure Michigan Zak Suhar wanted  to explore. Between the rolling hills, quiet countryside and unspoiled beauty, he began curating a list of the places he wanted to visit most and settled on the Upper Peninsula. Read his story below on a weekend adventure to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls.

For any hiker, traveler, outdoor enthusiast, camper, and road tripper, here is how to fit in the best of Pictured Rocks in just a weekend.

Twelvemile Beach Campground

Twelvemile campsite is a wonderful place to camp alongside Lake Superior, not only for its wonderful location, but also because it’s a first-come first-serve campsite. This is essential for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore since it’s a very popular area, but you’ll still have to ensure you get there early for a beachfront campsite (ours that sat atop a small bluff). Nothing beats sitting in your hammock atop a bluff, Lake Superior waves crashing, glowing sun setting, and campfire roaring in the background.

Bridalveil Falls

Kayaking along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is something worth the experience, especially to see Bridalveil Falls. Seen best from the water, the falls can be seen from a hiking trail as well, but the 140-foot tall cascade won’t do it justice from above.

Lover’s Leap

At the end of a kayak or boat tour, the highlight of the lakeshore, in my opinion, is Lover’s Leap, one of the staple natural landscapes the U.P. offers. On a still day, you can get great reflective photos of the rock formation, the wonderful colors of the lake, and the sandstone cliffs of beautiful reddish and orange hues.

Mosquito Beach

Mosquito Beach is a wonderful place to relax after a long hike or paddle. This is a great place to stop for lunch and walk along the waterfront littered by rocks and unique formations. It’s the end of the Mosquito Beach trail, which forks with one branch heading directly to the beach, and the other somewhat longer trail passing Mosquito falls on the way to the beach. The trail passes along the lower falls, rapids, and then the upper falls which are some of the smallest in the U.P. but still worth seeing if you have time.


Miners Castle Overlook

Driving to the Miners Castle overlooks is something you will not want to miss when visiting Pictured Rocks, and by far the most famous formation of the area. Erosion over long periods of time has created the interesting rock formations that give this place its name. Several foot trails lead to breathtaking overlooks of Lake Superior and Grand Island from different vantage points – I recommend the top overlook to get the best combination of foliage and water. No matter the season (except maybe winter) you can expect this overlook to be saturated in color and contrasts.

Miners Falls

One of the top waterfalls in the U.P. is Miners Falls, just a 1.2 mile hike into the woods (round trip). There are two overlooks at the end of the trail, the first offering an overhead view of the  drop over sandstone outcrop. The Miners Falls Nature Trail also has wonderful views of the Miners Basin along the way. If you’re up for it, take the steps down to the lower viewing platform at the falls.

Chapel Falls

Chapel Falls is another wonderful landscape in the Pictured Rocks area. Just under a two mile hike through the woods stands the  falls cascading towards Chapel Lake. The first outlook gives an incredible vantage point, the second trail winds around where you can literally stand on top of the falls, and a third spot shows the falls barely peaking through the forest above Chapel Basin. Definitely explore all three spots and vantage points for a variety of photographs.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Finally, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is definitely my  favorite. One of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, the Upper Falls has a drop of 48 feet and stretches more than 200 feet wide. The Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island, can be found downstream. This is a definite must see, and be sure to visit their local microbrewery for some delicious craft beer. A flight of true Michigan beer is a great way to stay refreshed after this hike.

About the Author: Zak is a Midwest born and raised explorer and adventure photographer. He was born a Hoosier, grew up a Cheesehead, studied in Ohio and currently resides in Ann Arbor as an adopted Michigander. Zak works in advertising but his ideal weekend involves disconnecting and getting outside.

All of the photography is courtesy of Zak, check out more of his work here.

Eight Extraordinary Photos to Inspire Your Summer Vacation in Pure Michigan

There is nothing like a Pure Michigan summer.  The warm weather, abundance of outdoor activities and refreshing waters make Michigan the perfect warm-weather escape.  Here are eight photos that will inspire you to begin planning a summer getaway in the Great Lakes State!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, streams, forests and wildlife among this scenic area on Lake Superior. Plan a family trip to go sightseeing, camping, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, fishing…the list is endless.

Pictured Rocks - Erika Atherton

Credit: Facebook Fan Erika Atherton

With more than 3,200 miles of shoreline, from Keweenaw Peninsula to Beachtowns to the Sunrise Coast, you’ll find the perfect stretch of beach. Dig your toes into the warm sand. Relax to the sound of the soft lapping of the waves. Watch your children build sandcastles. Float in the lake. Get ready to refresh and reconnect where the water meet the sand.

Lake Superior - Kelly Illikainen

Credit: Facebook Fan Kelly Illikainen

Au Train is in the heart of the Hiawatha National Forest and within a mile of Lake Superior. Explore everything it has to offer and find your own picture perfect moment.

Au Train - William Rogers

The 40-mile stretch of the Menominee River provides a beautiful setting for wildlife watching. Numerous campgrounds and boat access points along the river cater to wildlife watchers with canoes – you may even see a bald eagle!  The scenic Piers Gorge area of the river contains some of the fastest-moving water in Michigan and is a great place to go white water rafting.

Menominee River - JennyLyn Carley Popelka

Credit: Facebook Fan JennyLyn Carley Popelka

Take me out to the ballgame! Grab a hot dog and your favorite cold drink and enjoy America’s favorite pastime by catching a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park.

Comerica Park - Michelle Forte

Credit: Facebook Fan Michelle Forte

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, with its surface covering 31,700 square miles! Venture over to Isle Royal National Park for an experience and views you won’t forget.

Lake Superior - Neil Weaver Photography

Credit: Facebook Fan Neil Weaver Photography

The Eben Ice Caves are a popular sight to see in the winter, but the scenery in the summer can’t be beat!

Lake Superior Cave - Michigan Nut Photography

Credit: Facebook Fan Michigan Nut Photography

Michigan’s Great Lakes are a boater’s delight. Lift the sails or start the motor. Let the deep waters of the Great Lakes be a backdrop of alluring scenery, mesmerizing sounds and amazing adventure.

Lake St. Clair - Jesse Barcega

Credit: Facebook Fan Jesse Barcega

Where is your favorite Pure Michigan destination in the summer?

Five Stunning Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from April

It’s no secret that Pure Michigan boasts eye-catching scenery all year round. This April, our Pure Michigan Instagram community ventured outdoors to find some captivating Pure Michigan moments. Their photographs never cease to amaze us! Here are just a few of our favorites from April.

A captivating sight on one of Mackinaw City’s beautiful beaches. Thank you to @winglemire for sharing.

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 This view from Fishtown in Leland never gets old! Thanks to @lepetit_hippo for sharing! Who’s looking forward to summertime boating and fishing in Pure Michigan?

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 The Detroit skyline at dusk as seen from Windsor. Thanks to @danielectomy for sharing!

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 Where in Pure Michigan  will you be this summer? We had to share this tantalizing summertime photo of West Grand Traverse Bay, captured by @welcomehomenorthernmichigan.

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 We can’t get enough of this shot of the Milky Way seen from Harbor Beach. @danfreiphoto shared this enchanting photo on a clear Pure Michigan night.

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Have you captured a fantastic Pure Michigan photo? Share it by tagging #PureMichigan for the chance to be featured in our next round up!