The Beaver Basin Wilderness includes 13 miles of stunning Lake Superior shoreline from Spray Falls on the west to Sevenmile Creek on the east. The wilderness is some 3.5 miles deep and contains three beautifully clear lakes -- Beaver Lake, Trappers Lake, Legion Lake -- and five cold water streams -- Lowney Creek, Arsenault Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and Beaver Creek. These clear streams and extensive wetlands provide habitat for native coaster brook trout and other fish. Popular fish species include brook trout, largemouth, smallmouth and rock bass, northern pike and white sucker. An old growth cedar swamp exhibits healthy regeneration, an important browse species for white-tailed deer. Extensive beech-maple upland hardwood forest provides habitat for numerous mammals, birds, and flowering plants. Species present include black bear, gray wolf, American marten, fisher, migrating songbirds, raptors such as bald eagle and merlin, waterfowl, grouse, and a diverse population of wildflowers. An interesting pattern of glacial geology includes post-glacial meltwater channels, escarpments, and Lake Nipissing beach ridges.
The Beaver Basin Wilderness offers opportunities for quiet, solitude, wilderness recreation, and spiritual renewal. Individual and small group recreation is available along 8.4 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail and 8.5 miles of other hiking trails as well as six backcountry campsites.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Beaver Basin Wilderness.
Michigan state highways M-28 and M-94 lead to Munising. State highway M-77 leads to Grand Marais. Alger County Road H-58 and other spur roads (some unpaved) provide access throughout the lakeshore. Many roads are closed by snow during the winter.
Grass airfields are located near Grand Marais and Munising. Regularly scheduled commercial airline service arrives at Marquette, Escanaba, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
The Disabled Traveler's Companion is a good place to look for the latest information on accessibility is the Disabled Traveler's Companion website. While not officially affiliated with the National Park Service, they have been working with Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and other National Parks and provide valuable information to the disabled traveler. Their website contains information and photographs campgrounds and park attractions that may help in planning your trip to Pictured Rocks.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
Altran's backpacker transportation services run seven days a week. Please refer to their website for the schedule and special run information.
Altran transportation services require advance pre-paid reservations. Checks are accepted as well as Paypal. If Altran does not have reservations, the bus does not make the run.
When making a reservation, please indicate your pick-up date, time, and location; your drop-off location; and the number in your party.
The Altran bus travels east towards Grand Marais on Alger County Road H-58, with the return trip traveling west on H-58 to Munising.
Traditional recreation uses include hunting, fishing, day hiking, overnight backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Lake Superior greatly ameliorates temperature extremes, slowing spring warming and the onset of winter. The coldest months average well below 0°C (32°F) and the warmer months about 22°C (70°F).
The average date of the last freezing temperature in spring is June 8, and the average first fall freeze is September 23; however, freezing can occur during any month. The freeze-free period, or growing season, averages 107 days annually.
The big lake's presence also increases precipitation at the lakeshore. Annual precipitation averages 31 inches; annual snowfall is 140 inches. Snow generally covers the ground from late November through late April.
The area is the second-most cloudy region of the United States, characterized by an annual mean cloud cover of 70 percent. Much of the cloudiness occurs in autumn and winter, and can be attributed to cool air flowing over Lake Superior being warmed along the shore and forming clouds. This condition also often results in rain, fog, and snow. Spring is relatively clear due the cold water surface of the lake.
The prevailing wind is from the west, with average velocities ranging from 7 to 9 miles per hour. High winds and storm conditions on Lake Superior are not uncommon.
Safety and Current Conditions
When you visit the lakeshore, come prepared for a variety of weather, terrain, and unexpected situations. The weather near Lake Superior is unpredictable. Summers are often warm but be prepared for cool, rainy, windy weather. Hypothermia can occur at any time; know the symptoms. Use a layered clothing system.
Do not count on your cell phone. Many areas of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore do not have cellular coverage.
Important Warning - Falling Trees and Branches
Beech Bark Disease has spread throughout the national lakeshore, resulting in many dead and dying beech trees. Be aware of these trees and the potential for falling branches and trees.
This disease is initiated by a non-native insect accidentally introduced into the United States. Secondary attack by both native and non-native fungi further stresses American beech trees and causes an unusually large number of weakened and dead beech trees. The insect and fungus pose no direct threat to humans. There is no practical control method in large natural forests.
The National Park Service is making every effort to identify and remove dying and dead trees from developed areas as quickly as possible. However, all park visitors - but particularly hikers and overnight backcountry campers - should be alert for trees that are weakened, have large dead limbs or are completely dead, especially in windy conditions.
Be alert. Look up. Choose your campsite carefully.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.