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Isle Royale National Park Fees & Reservations

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Moose swimming off Isle Royale National Park

Moose swimming off Isle Royale National Park

Unlike the majority of national parks in the US which have 7 days passes, you pay a daily fee to visit Isle Royale National Park, but it’s certainly not going to break the bank, you get a whole lotta’ park for very little cash.

  • $4 per day, per person
  • $50 will buy you an individual seasonal pass, valid from 16 April until the park closes on 31 October
  • $150 will pay for a seasonal boat rider pass, valid from 16 April until the park closes on 31 October, of whichever year is indicated on your ticket. The pass covers the user fee of all passengers on the boat, although if you’re going to do some camping it only covers the people who are either included in or are following the same itinerary as the vessel.

About Isle Royale National Park User Fees

User fees are for all visitors to Isle Royale National Park, except children who haven’t yet reached the age of 12, children who are 11 and three quarters are fine, they can visit Isle Royale National Park for free. You can pay your user fee on the transport you use to reach the park, the boat or the plane, but if you’ve got your own boat and are planning to sail to Isle Royale National Park then you can pay your fees at one of the visitors centers at Windigo, Rock Harbor or Houghton.

NB – get this . . . absolutely 100% of the user fee you pay to visit Isle Royale National Park stays at the park funding park trail and dock maintenance and other projects.

Isle Royale National Park... shelter

Isle Royale National Park... shelter

Getting Married on Isle Royale National Park

Can you think of a more romantic setting to tie the knot than on Isle Royale National Park? No, me neither, pity I didn’t think of it at the time, anyway, you are permitted to get married at the park although you must send in $50 with your application which is non-refundable. It’s a small price to pay just to see if they can fit you in, don’t you think? Once they’ve received your $50, they’ll send you a proper application form through the mail, which you’ve got to sign and send back with another $100, which is also non-refundable. After that, they send you another form which you need to have notarized, and send that back with $200 . . . I’m kidding, the first two are correct, the last one I just made up as I went along! There is an additional charge of $50 per hour though, when the wedding takes places. A small price to pay!

Isle Royale National Park Overnight Permits

If you want to stay overnight at Isle Royale National Park then you’ve got to have a permit, it doesn’t matter whether you’re planning to enjoy a little back country camping, dock your boat or anchor out, you need a permit. Permits play an important part at Isle Royale National Park, it’s really not a way of making a little extra cash from the overnighters, it’s a way to monitor campground use, find lost campers, deliver emergency messages to any hiking parties and measure the amount of back country use.

  • Individual Permits – you don’t even have to pay for an individual permit (see, I told you the permits weren’t for extra cash), any individual parties of between 1 and 6 people get their back country permit from the National Park Service ship Ranger III, or you can pick up your permit at Windigo or Rock Harbor when you arrive at Isle Royale if you arrive on a different ship or plane.
  • Group Permits – if a group of 7 or more people plan on camping at Isle Royale National Park then they’ll have to make an advance reservation. If there are more than 10 of you then you’ve got to split up and make two smaller groups, each group must have an individual itinerary and travel separately from the other group. There is a processing charge for a group camping permit of $25.
  • Boating Permits – you need to make a reservation request if you need a campsite, anchorage or overnight docking space, charges are the usual user fee of $4 per day (for anyone over the age of 12 years).

She’s a bit of a nosey parker isn’t she? Anyway, nice to see that they take campsite maintenance seriously at Isle Royale National Park.


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