2023 Was The Fourth Busiest Year Ever at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

2023 Was The Fourth Busiest Year Ever at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Cover Photo Miners Castle Pictured Rocks Kayak Trip 2022

Michigan’s national parks and state parks saw record numbers in 2020 and 2021 as people looked for outdoor recreation opportunities in the midst of a pandemic. We saw visitor numbers come back down to earth last year while still being better than pre-Covid years, and 2023 appears to have been about the same. A look at visitor numbers shows that Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore had its fourth busiest year ever in 2023, and today we will take a look at some of the sites that saw increased traffic and how the addition of user fees hasn’t slowed things down at this stunning destination on the Lake Superior shoreline.

Miners Falls Below

The National Park Service reported 910,943 visitors for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in 2023. While this was a slight drop from 2022 it was still an increase of more than 50,000 visitors in 2019. Here’s a look at how the last five years stack up:

2023: 910,943 visitors
2022: 925,685 visitors
2021: 1,313,179 visitors
2020: 1,212,251 visitors
2019: 858,715 visitors

Miners Castle Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore began charging entrance fees in March of 2022. Initial fees were $10 for a weekly pass and $20 for an annual pass, and have seen increases to $20 weekly/$30 annual in 2023 and $25 weekly/$45 annual for 2024. It is encouraging to see that these fees have not slowed down traffic at the park while at the same time providing much-needed funds for park maintenance, upgrades, improvements, and development. We may never again see the record-breaking crowds of 2020 and 2021, but seeing Pictured Rocks hovering between 900,000 and a million visitors each year is a positive sign for the future of this park.

2021 Favorite Michigan Photos Log Slide Overlook Pictured Rocks May

Locations within the park that saw increased traffic in 2023 include the Chapel area, Log Slide, and Munising Falls. Almost 60,000 overnight stays were recorded in the parks campgrounds and backcountry camping areas, and cruise boats saw more than 163,000 passengers.

Pictured Rocks Kayak Trip Uncle Ducky Miners Beach

One of the projects that were completed at the park in 2023 were the opening of a commercial use entry point at Miners Beach, which will alleviate congestion at one of the park’s most popular day trip spots. The NPs also worked to repair a section of the North Country Trail that was damaged during a 2022 storm and repairing a staircase to the beach that was dismantled in that same storm. The road to Miners Falls was repaired, and the Munising Falls area got a new cement walkway. A few possible projects for the future were proposed in December and we’re sure more great things are on the way. 2023 was a great year and we are looking forward to some epic Pictured Rocks adventures in 2024!