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Isle Royale National Park
With its wolf tracks, moose antlers, northern lights, and white-capped waves, Isle Royale is a slice of the Northwoods set like a jewel in the cold blue waters of Lake Superior. One of the least-visited national parks in the country, Isle Royale can still seem crowded along the busy Greenstone Ridge Trail. For solitude, try the Minong Ridge or Feldtmann Ridge Trails, or sea kayak the solitary shorelines, always keeping one ear cocked for wolf howls.
Contact: Isle Royale National Park, (906) 482-0984; www.nps.gov/isro.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Mountains in the Midwest? Yes, indeed. The peaks here top out at 1,000 feet above Lake Superior, offering splendid views. With 58,000 acres to roam, “the Porkies” have more than 90 miles of trail, including one of the wilder sections of the North Country Trail. Camp or reserve one of the rustic backcountry cabins.
Contact: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, (906) 885-5275; www.dnr.state.mi.us.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Picture rocks. Now picture swirls of color in 50- to 200-foot sandstone cliffs along 15 miles of lakeshore. Wilderness opportunities here include sea kayaking the more than 40 miles of shoreline, hiking a shore-kissing section of the North Country Trail, and exploring the 300-foot Grand Sable Dunes.
Contact: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, (906) 387-2607; www.nps.gov/piro.