Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few helpful tips about Grand Island

Grand Island offers a host of activities such as hiking, bicycling, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, cabin rental, bus tours, fishing, and swimming. Grand Island is a a rustic and primitive island known for its scenic natural beauty and interesting history, as well as spectacular views of 300’ cliffs. There are no paved roads and vehicles are not permitted. The island has gravel roads, two track, and single track dirt trails. There are few amenities on Grand Island. Drinking water and vault toilets are available. There are no stores or shops other than the gift shop on the mainland.

No, however, if you are renting bicycles, kayaks, paddle boards, or taking the bus tour, reservations are highly recommended due to limited bus seating (16 passengers) and bicycle, kayak, paddle board inventory.

No, the bus tour stays on the southern part of the island (see bus route on Grand Island map) which is where all the historical sites can be seen. It is about a 3 ½ hour tour, but you will only be on the bus for the about ½ hour because you will get on and off the bus to visit the old buildings, the old cemetery, ect.

Yes we are pet friendly. As long as they are on a leash they are welcome on the ferry and on the island.

You will pay for your kayak/paddle board at the gift shop and take the passenger ferry to the island. Upon arrival at the island you will be issued your kayak/paddle board. Kayak’s and paddle boards are only authorized in the area 100 yards from the island shoreline between Williams Landing and the East Channel Lighthouse (approx. 5 miles each way). This is not a guided tour./p>

Yes, reservations are required between Memorial Day and Columbus Day for all designated campsites on the island except for Cobble Cove, Flat Rock, and Muskrat Point which are first come, first served. To make reservations or check campground availability, please go to www.recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777. Random camping is allowed on the island, provided the rules of random camping are followed.

The island provides over 40 miles of rugged dirt trails and easier gravel roads that will accommodate any level biker. There are no paved roads on the island. More energetic cyclists can mountain bike the 21 mile main island perimeter route in four to six hours, with time for brief stops and some exploration. Consider your level of fitness and your pace as you make route choices.

We offer passenger ferry service to and from Grand Island seven days a week. Prior to June 15th the ferry will leave at 9:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, and 3:30 PM. From June 15th thru September 16th the ferry will depart every hour on the hour from 9:00 AM until 6:00pm. September 17th thru October 9th we will return to the 9:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, and 3:30 PM ferry schedule. The ferry schedule from the island to the mainland is the same as above. The channel crossing takes about 3 to 4 minutes each way. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

Yes, the round trip fee for a personal bicycle is $8.00.

Yes, most all of the animals found on the mainland are also found on the island. Black bear are normally afraid of humans and will leave in a hurry. Black bear sighting are rare.

Overnight parking is allowed for those camping on Grand Island. There is no fee.

LNo, the bus tour, ferry service and all rentals are paid for at the gift shop.

The ferry has never stopped due to weather. The ferry is not covered. Watch your weather forecast and dress accordingly.

To make reservations or check cabin availability please go to www.recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.

History

The first Settlers came to the Island in the early 1800's when trading for furs was the prime industry. Evidence of this activity is still apparent there. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1846, setting up a trading post there to trade with the Ojibway Indians.

In 1990 the Forest Service purchased Grand Island from the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co and it became part of the Hiawatha National Forest. The historic homes that remain on the island are now over 100 years old and are impeccably maintained by their summer residents.

Since acquiring the island the Forest Service has been improving camping sites and creating Mountain Bike trails throughout the island. The East Channel lighthouse, however, is only accessible by boat.

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