Isle Royale
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Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
Isle Royale on 03/17/2008 10:36:24 MDT Print View

I've been to Isle Royale in the past, and I still haven't found a reliable trail guide. Has anyone hiked the Greenstone/Minong trail on Isle Royale? I'm looking for some feedback...

Andy Berner
(Berner9) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Isle Royale on 03/17/2008 12:36:43 MDT Print View

http://www.irnha.org/the.store?cart_id=9776913.18965&page=/catalog/IRNHAproducts.html#map

Scroll down a little. They have a map and chart section.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Isle Royal Guidebook on 03/17/2008 12:39:45 MDT Print View

While I haven't hike Isle Royal yet (this summer!) I have done a great deal of research about the park. I found the following guidebook to be very helpful.

Isle Royal National Park: Foot Trails and Water Routes
by Jim DuFresne.

In addition to the guidebook I found that having a good topo map (mine is from REI) helps a great deal with the planning.

I have been told by several people that the Greenstone Ridge is very easy. I am planning on hiking the Greenstone, Minong, and Feidtmann trails in 5 days. The guidebook I have suggests it would take 11-12 days. I figure with all the loops possible I’ll just cut the trip short if I’m not feeling up to it by not doing the Feidtmann Ridge trail.

I hope this was helpful.

By the way, what time of year where you thinking of backpacking the island?

Chad

Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
thx on 03/17/2008 12:40:32 MDT Print View

Chad, thanks for the response. I'm planning on going some time Mid-Aug. U?

I'm surprised you found that guide book to be helpful. To each his own, I guess.

Edited by mattbrodhead on 03/17/2008 12:42:34 MDT.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: thx on 03/17/2008 13:14:01 MDT Print View

I'm planning on heading at the end of August.

I don't know why the guidebook wouldn’t' be helpful. It has every hiking trail and campsite on the island. Each section of trail has a well written description of the trail with distances between campsites. Shure the suggested days are short (8-12 miles) but it's not very hard to do the math.

The book also talks in detail about getting to the island, history, weather, bugs, animals, fish, and water sources.

Chad

Phil Brown
(pbrown19)

Locale: Traverse City MI
Isle Royale on 03/17/2008 18:28:56 MDT Print View

I have hiked a route on Isle Royale several times that is similar to what Chad describes. I hiked out of Rock Harbor to daisy farm, then headed north across the island to Mcargoe cove. From there I picked up the minong to windigo, and hiked back via the greenstone ridge. This hike is tougher than it looks on a map, as there is quite a bit of elevation change, and the terrain is rocky. In late summer the mosquitos and/or blackflies can be horrible. Also, the minong ridge is very dry, so make sure to fill up on water before covering the longer sections. The lean-to shelters at the more popular campgrounds are well cared for and very nice. The only problem I have had is people coming in on boats and staying there (they're not supposed to, but apparently the rangers don't care). Let me know if you have any specific questions about planning your trip, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Steve Parr
(srparr) - F

Locale: SE Michigan
Isle Royale Website on 03/17/2008 20:33:38 MDT Print View

Check out this website: www.isleroyale.info/trips/ and read thru some of the trip reports.

The site doesn't seem to be maintained anymore (and no one can see to contact the gentleman who ran it), so another site was setup with good forum participation: www.isleroyaleforums.com

Lots of friendly people there who are willing to answer questions. The trip reports can be a wealth of information about trails and campsites. Enjoy your trip! Be warned though, many who visit will keep returning year after year after ...

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Isle Royale on 03/18/2008 10:05:14 MDT Print View

I the end of August is a bad time for the bugs when is a good time?

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Isle Royale on 03/18/2008 10:19:01 MDT Print View

As I recall from a couple of trips, mid or late August is a great time to go: warm days, cool nights, virtually no bugs, and the crowds are tapering off. Of course, where you're planning to go, crowds are never an issue anyhow.

I agree with what everyone else has said. I've never hiked the Greenstone down toward Windigo; I have done most of the trails on the "developed" end of the park. It seems strange, but the 6 or 8 miles per day recommendation is really pretty accurate. It's not hard walking, but it's very rocky and, for some reason, really eats up the time.

This is still about my favorite place to go.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Isle Royale in August on 03/18/2008 11:27:07 MDT Print View

Chad,
My wife and I were there Aug 7-14 last year and had no problems w/ bugs. On the Minong for the most part you have to get water near the campsites and a few of those are a sharp descent from the main trail. Also, the Park is so gorgeous
that you may want to slow down to smell the roses and eat the
berries. As a rite of passage most of the rangers do the Greenstone in one day and last year two brothers ran it. We
will be back there in the future.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Isle Royale on 03/18/2008 20:36:23 MDT Print View

Matt -

Join the Isle Royale forums. You'll get tons of info there. You can also read my trip report from my trip to the island on my Web site if you'd like.

http://www.isleroyaleforums.com/
http://samh.net/backpacking/?do=showproduct&id=113

Edited by sharalds on 03/18/2008 20:43:20 MDT.

Phil Brown
(pbrown19)

Locale: Traverse City MI
Isle Royale on 03/19/2008 07:47:15 MDT Print View

Sam I liked this part of your trip report: "ended up being the worst mosquitoes any of us had ever seen. "

My exact thoughts from my 2003 ISRO trip, which ended up being a mosquito feed-a-thon to rival the deepest of cambodian jungles. I think the bug season varies from year to year. Maybe because the weather on the island is constantly changing...who knows.

Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
oi on 03/19/2008 10:29:33 MDT Print View

Thanks guys. Two years ago, we went Mid-August and I didn't have any problems with bugs. But knock on wood, I guess...

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Isle Royale on 03/19/2008 14:43:06 MDT Print View

This is defiantly going to be a trip to remember! I suppose as the trip approaches I'll get better information on how bad the bugs are.

Oh I forgot to mention I had a typo in my previous hiking plans. I would do the Greenstone Ridge and then the Feldtmann Ridge and then finally the Minong Ridge. If I'm short on time I'll drop the Minong Ridge for another trip.

Phil Brown
(pbrown19)

Locale: Traverse City MI
Isle Royale on 03/19/2008 16:53:07 MDT Print View

Chad -
Most of the time the bugs aren't really that bad. There are just a couple weeks during the heat of summer when they can really come out... and that just happens to be when I take trips there. I recommend you do NOT leave out the minong ridge. IMO it is the best section of trail on the island. There is a nice cooling breeze in the campgrounds on the north end, and the views across to canada from the bluffs are amazing. It also seems to be one of the least used trails on the island, so you get an awesome feeling of isolation. I would also make sure to take in the feldman(sp?) loop, which is your best bet for seeing wolf and moose activity.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Isle Royale on 03/20/2008 09:24:00 MDT Print View

In terms of bugs, yes it is variant on a few factors. We were there during the first week of June (and being Minnesota boys knew that was like playing with fire). August will be just fine unless there's un-seasonably favorable weather conditions for a hatch.

When I go back to the Island I plan to explore the Minong and Feldtmann trails. The Greenstone was pretty and a really nice trail but it lacked in excitement and vistas.

One thing to point out is that on the Island there are wooden shelters (with bug screens) at many of the campsites. One could do an especially ultralight trip without having to carry a shelter with a little planning. Something to think about.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Isle Royale on 03/20/2008 09:31:17 MDT Print View

With all this nice information I think I'll just do the Minong and Feldtmann Ridges instead of the Greenstone Ridge.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Isle Royale on 03/20/2008 18:17:46 MDT Print View

Good Choice