Pictured Rocks, Michigan (MI)


Pictured Rocks, Michigan
United States
46° 33' 43.92" N, 86° 18' 45" W

Majestic sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes, forest, and shoreline are all patiently waiting for you to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The colors in the cliffs are created by the large amounts of minerals in the rock. The cliffs are composed of the Munising Formation of 500 million year old Cambrian period sandstone. Streaks on the face of the cliffs come from the groundwater leaching out of the rock. During the Romantic Era of the 1800s, a series of American writers described their feelings upon sight of the Pictured Rocks. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft visited in 1820 and remarked upon "some of the most sublime and commanding views in nature".

The climbs here are either ice or top rope and are rated on the Waterfall Grading System, which is as follows:

  • WI2 - low-angled (60 degree consistent ice), with good technique can be easily climbed with one ice axe. Grades beyond this generally require the use of two ice tools.
  • WI3 - generally sustained in the 60-70 degree range with occasional near-vertical steps up to 4 meters.
  • WI4 - near-vertical steps of up to 10 metres and/or overall 80 degrees, generally sustained climbing requiring placing protection screws from strenuous stances.
  • WI4+ - highly technical WI4.
  • WI5 - near-vertical or vertical steps of up to 20 metres, sustained climbing requiring placing multiple protection screws from strenuous stances with few good rests.
  • WI5+ - highly technical WI5
  • WI6 - vertical climbing for the entire pitch (e.g. 30–60 metres) with no rests. Requires excellent technique and/or a high level of fitness.
  • WI6+ - vertical or overhanging with no rests, and highly technical WI6.
  • WI7 - sustained and overhanging with no rests. Extremely rare, near-mythical, and widely accepted testpiece examples of this grade don't exist in the Canadian Rockies.

Climbing Routes

Inland Climbs- WI3-WI5

  • Amphitheater- WI5 This route has a lot of free standing pillars, climbing is best at the end of the season when the ice is thawing. (Ice/Top Rope)
  • Dryer Hose- I14 Top rope set up is a little tricky on this climb, but worth the work. (Ice/Top Rope)
  • The Curtains- WI3 A fun route, great for learning and warm ups. (Ice/Top Rope)

Lakeshore Area Flows- WI3-WI6

  • Giddyup- WI4 This hollow cone is fun and easy. (Ice/Top Rope)
  • HI Ho Silver- WI6 This is a brittle, tricky, mischievous monster. (Ice/Top Rope)
  • Sweet Mother Moses- WI3 A nice column with some challenging ice overhanging the top. (Ice/Top Rope)

Miner’s Castle- WI4-WI5

  • Midnight Rambler- WI4 Fun and exciting, this climb is worth the hike to get to it. (Ice/Top Rope)
  • Dairyland- WI5 The overhanging ice at the top of this route is going to challenge anyone who tries to send it. (Ice/Top Rope)

The Lake Superior shoreline provides a spectacular place for backcountry camping. Campers must stay in designated backcountry campgrounds, located at two to five mile intervals along the trail. Each campground has a specific capacity; individual campsites within each backcountry campground are identified by a numbered post. Permits are required. The reservation fee is $15

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Interagency Visitor Center
Phone: 906-387-3700

Drive In Campgrounds
Little Beaver Lake Campground
Hurricane River Campground
Twelvemile Beach Campground
Rates are $14 per night. Lakeside sites at Twelvemile Beach Campground are $16 per night. Sorry, no reservations.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862
Phone- 906-387-3700

Directions 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.

Latitude: 46.5622
Longitude: -86.3125