Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What environmental awards or recognitions has Isle Royale Resorts - Rock Harbor Lodge received?
A: In 2003, Isle Royale Resorts - Rock Harbor Lodge was certified to ISO 14001. Forever Resorts is the first U.S. multi-site hospitality, lodging and marina provider to be certified to ISO 14001:1996 for all its domestic operations. ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
The benefits of initiating an EMS in accordance with ISO 14001 standards are many: identifying areas for reduction in energy and other resource consumption; reducing environmental liability and risk; helping maintain consistent compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements; benefiting from regulatory incentives that reward companies showing environmental leadership through certified compliance with internationally recognized EMS standards; preventing pollution and reducing waste; improving community good will; profiting in the market for "green" products and demonstrating commitment to high quality.

Q: Dates and Rates?
A:Though our dates and rates vary season to season, we typically begin full service the second Tuesday in June and end the second weekend after Labor Day. Pre-season, is about a week and a half before our full service opening day, this is when we rent our housekeeping cottages only, and our store and marina are open limited hours. During pre-season the restaurants and gift shop, boat tours, are not open/operating. Every year our peak season begins July 4th, until the end of the season. Off-peak rates are available from our opening date until July 4th.

Q: When should I make a reservation? How early do I need to make a reservation?
A: You should make your reservations with us as soon as you have finalized your plans. We start reservations as early as the previous season.

Q: When are the dates and rates released? 
A: Dates for the upcoming season are released sometime in the fall of the previous season. Rates are determined by the National Park Service, and when they are released to us varies. The official rates are not required for making a reservation, just know that if you are quoted the previous season rates, that they are subject to change, until the rates have been officially set. We do not start taking reservations for the Windigo Camper Cabins until January 2nd. Please keep in mind that there are only TWO Windigo camper cabins, so in order to secure the dates you want, calling early is key.

Q: What time is check-in/check-out?
A: Our standard check-in time is 3 o’clock. If you are staying at Rock Harbor Lodge, you can expect your room ready no later than 3 o’clock. However, we try our best to have rooms ready according to each guests transportation. For example, we try and make sure all IRQIV arrivals rooms are ready by 11:30 AM when the boat comes in, all the IRSP arrivals rooms are ready according to flight, etc. We want our guests to get in, check-in and GET OUT! Get out to enjoy the trails, the sunshine, the water, and their vacation time! We are usually very successful at this, one of the industry’s fast turnaround rates, but some days when we have a large outgoing crowd, it becomes more difficult to do so. Our check-out time is 10:30 AM.

Q: Can’t I just make a reservation online?
A: Because the nature of planning a trip to Rock Harbor Lodge, and Isle Royale National Park is so complex, we require our guests to make a reservation with someone on the phone (or email) to ensure that your lodging accommodation dates with us match the schedule of the transportation line of your choice. The last thing that we want to happen to our guests is to be burdened with mixed-matched dates, and schedules. We know it can be confusing as each transportation line comes from a different place, and a different time, on different schedules, at different times of the season! We are here to help! If you have been to Isle Royale before and know the drill, please be patient as we hurdle you through a series of questions!

Q: I am traveling with a friend, who already has a reservation, but we want to be next to them, how do we make that happen?
A: If you are traveling with friends, on separate reservations, and would like to be next to each other, both parties need to request to be next to each other. It is the responsibility of each party to call and request to be next to each. A confirmation code will be needed in order to prove the identity of each party. Once the requests are made, we will do our best to honor that request; however, we can not guarantee it.

Q: Can I be in a lower level room/upstairs room/ front row cabin/specific room #?
A: If you have a preference for a specific room we will be happy to note your request, and we will do your best to honor that request. However, we cannot guarantee that that will be your assigned room.  We work in our reservations in the order that they come, and fit each reservation into one another like a jigsaw puzzle.  Because your length of stay, time of booking, number of people do affect how you fit into the jigsaw, it does not determine the priority of your request. For example, if you make a reservation with a special request, and at the time of your reservation we are able to accommodate your request, but at the time of check-in that room that met your request was down for an unforeseen issue, we would have to move you to the next room available. We try our very best to honor every room request; however, some times we are unable to. It is not our intent to “ruin” your vacation because we were unable to grant your request.

Q: Why can’t you tell me what room number I’m in?
A: Out of privacy and comfort of our existing or previous guests, we do not release room numbers until we hand  you the key to your room. 

Q: Do we need to carry our luggage from the dock to our rooms?
A: Rock Harbor Lodge does have a bellhop service, free of charge, to all of our guests staying with us. Please make sure that you have every piece of your luggage tagged with your name on it, so we can take it to the proper room.

Q: What do we do with our luggage when we check out?
A: When departing Isle Royale please have your bags ready by the appropriate time (more information about check out luggage in rooms, and at lodge office!) and the bellhop will pick them up and delivery them to the proper destination.

Q: Can I reserve a canoe ahead of time?
A: If you plan to rent a canoe for an overnight canoe trip, yes you can reserve a canoe ahead of time. By calling our reservation line to reserve with deposit.

Restaurant/Dining FAQs

Q: What times are the restaurants open?
A: We have two restaurants at Rock Harbor Lodge. The Greenstone Grill, which serves breakfast from 7 AM until 11 AM, and a lunch/dinner menu from 11 AM until 7:30 PM. The Lighthouse Restaurant and Gift Shop are open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Breakfast 7AM-8:30AM Lunch 12PM-1:30PM Dinner 5:30 PM-7:30 PM We welcome all visitors of Isle Royale to both restaurants for all meals. Reservations are not required; however, if  you are a party of 6 people or more, reservations are recommended. You can make a reservation with a phone call to Rock Harbor Lodge, or at the Lodge Office once you arrive. If you call and make a reservation over the phone, please confirm once you arrive.

Q: I have special dietary needs, can you accommodate?
A: We have several options for gluten free, dairy-free, and meat-free. All you have to do is ask for a GF- DF menu, and one will be presented to you! If you have any other allergies PLEASE call the lodge office, and ask to speak to a manager before you arrive, or fill out an allergy form (with instructions on how to submit on form) before you arrive to Isle Royale. We are happy to accommodate allergies, but please remember that Isle Royale is located several miles from a hospital, as well as several hours worth of transportation and communication if you were to get sick. If you let us know ahead of time, we can better accommodate you to insure you are healthy and well fed! If you or someone in your party has a food allergy and are concerned about eating at our restaurants due to allergies, and remoteness, a great option for you is to rent a housekeeping cottage that has a kitchenette unit so you have the option to store/cook your own meals! If you have an allergy and would like to pair your own food with something on our menu, great! Please feel free to do so! However, due to public health safety regulations, we can not bring your food into our kitchen, but you can bring it into the restaurant, at your table. For example, if you’re gluten free, and want to eat a burger on your favorite gluten free bun, order a burger without a bun, and we will bring everything to you, and all you have to do is put the burger on the bun!

Q: If we catch a fish, will you cook it?
A: Due to public health safety regulations, we cannot bring any outside food source into our kitchen, that includes fish. However, if you take a out a fishing charter, chartered by Rock Harbor Lodge, we can cook your catch! Because our operation has the proper licensing to do so. So if you want the freshest fish possible, book a charter!!

Cancellation Policies/Safety Policies to Know Upfront FAQs

Q: Cancellation Policy?
A: To guarantee a reservation for a lakeside lodge room, or housekeeping cottage, you will be required to make a deposit of the amount of the rate of the first night’s stay. If you cancel your reservation at any time you forfeit 10% of your deposit, if you cancel 5 days or less prior to your arrival date, then you forfeit the entire deposit. If you need to change (lengthen, shorter, move to different dates), as long as we have availability to do so, there is no fee for that. To guarantee a reservation for the Windigo Camper Cabins, you are required to make a deposit of the rate of the first night’s stay. That deposit is a nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit. That means if you cancel the reservation or change the reservation you forfeit the entire deposit.

Q: If I need to leave early, can I?
A: If you already staying with us at Rock Harbor Lodge, and you must leave the island early, for what ever reason, yes, you can do so. As mentioned in our original cancelation policy, you will be refunded 90% of your room rate.

Q: If the transportation lines don’t run do we still have to pay?
A: Because each transportation line is a separate company, they make their own decision whether they run, or do not run and for their own reason (weather, mechanical issues, etc.) We have no control over their decision. If they decide to delay you the day of your arrival then we will transfer your deposit to the next night, and not charge you for the night that you missed. If you were to cancel that entire reservation completely, without rescheduling then you would forfeit 100% of that deposit. If you have to stay an extra night at Isle Royale because the transportation lines are not running, then you will also have to pay for any additional lodging, or dining expenses. Because Isle Royale is such a remote location, we do not benefit from cancelled reservations, or any unforeseen predicaments. Nor do we have any control over the weather, or the decision of any of the other businesses serving you. This is a rare occurrence; however, without being in control of the weather, or unforeseen issues, it can happen. If you have any other questions about this policy please call.

Q: What happens if it’s foggy and we want to rent a canoe? 
A: Safety is our number one concern at Rock Harbor Lodge. Especially when we are surrounded by the largest, coldest, fresh water lake in the world. Lake Superior, and her notorious weather spats of abrupt high winds, or swift fog banks, are not something we take lightly. Our management staff, and employees have spent numerous seasons at Isle Royale, well enough to know how fast the weather can change, for better or for worse. If you plan on renting a canoe, kayak, motorboat, or even plan on taking a sightseeing tour, fishing charter, or water taxi, please remember that all water craft is subject to lake and weather conditions. We are not trying to ruin your vacation, or hinder your fun on Isle Royale by not letting you take out a watercraft. But because of years of experience, our staff can make critical and accurate decisions everyday to ensure your safety. Please understand that that goes for the most experienced when it comes to use of the equipment and to those who have experience navigating Isle Royale waters. Rock Harbor Lodge does not have any control on those who bring their own watercraft to the island nor do we base our decision to rent or not to rent on outside visitor recommendations. If you have any other questions regarding our policy, please contact our management staff.

What to Expect FAQs

Q: What should I pack?
A: Isle Royale is such a special and unique place, as it can be raining and foggy one moment, and then sunny, bright and warm the next. Our advice is pack in layers (tanks, t-shirts, sweaters, pullovers, rain jacket, and a warm jacket). Even in the warmest times in the summer, the evenings can remain chilly. By packing in layers you can take one off, or put one on as the day warms/cools. A rain jacket, or rain poncho will certainly come in handy in case a rain shower pops up.

Q: When is the rainy season?
A: Because Isle Royale is so far north, spring time often comes a little late. The typical spring weather of rain, fog, cooler days with a hand-full of perfect days usually occurs May, June, and part of July. It is not uncommon to find a few several rainy days in all parts of the summer nor is it not uncommon find a stretch of sunny warm days in the early part of the season! Usually by late July, August, September the weather starts to dry out and you will find more sunny, nice days than not. Of course we can not predict the weather, nor do we have any control over it.

Q: When do the bugs come out? -Die down
A: The bugs usually come out when the island starts to warm up and when the rain starts to recede. So, if you’re planning on coming earlier in the season, you will often times face less bugs, than if you were to come in July or August. By September the bugs have usually decimated. No matter what part of the season it is, the bugs will get worse the further inland you go within the island. If you are staying pretty close to the lodge, the bugs usually don’t get that bad, because the lodge is on the water and the lake breeze sweeps them away. If you are at all concerned about the bugs (and by bugs I mean mosquitos, black flies, horse flies) we would recommend bringing any bug protection that you think you might need (bug spray, bug repellant wrist bands, mesh head and body gear). FUN FACT! Isle Royale is home to many different kinds of crawly creatures; however, Isle Royale does not have ticks, or any other poisonous bugs, or even poisonous plants! 

Q: When do the moose come out?
A: There is no particular time when moose come out. Some people spend weeks on Isle Royale and don’t see a moose, and sometimes people come out for the day and they see one.

Q: Are moose dangerous?
A: Moose are wild animals that roam on around in their home of abundant wilderness, that we merely get to visit. Like any wild animal, you must keep your distance, avoid getting in the middle of a cow moose with it’s calf, and do not aggravate the animal. If you follow these rules you should be fine.

Q: How far are the cabins and the Lodge from the dock?
A: If you arrive to Rock Harbor by boat you will have to walk around the harbor to the Lodge Office to check in, which is about 100 yards. If you land via seaplane, then you will have to walk about an eighth of a mile to the lodge office. The lodge office, lodge, restaurants, tour boat, water taxi boats, auditorium are all in the same proximity to each other.  However, the housekeeping cottages are an eighth of a mile from the lodge office, tucked away, facing Tobin Harbor. No matter which transportation line you take you will have to walk down to the lodge office and check in first. TIP! To get a more detailed glimpse as to how far away (or close!) everything in Rock Harbor is to each other, use google maps in satellite view, zoom all the way into Rock Harbor. That will give you a great visualization of where everything is.

Wifi/Cell Phone Service/ In Case of an Emergency FAQs

Q: Is there wifi?
A: Yes, there is wifi. However, none of our lodge rooms have wifi in the room. Once checked in, each guest will have access to the wifi located in our Guest House lobby. The wifi is limited, and is only meant for light internet browsing (checking/sending emails, browsing social media, etc.) The wifi is not meant for streaming of any kind. That goes for any video chatting (FaceTime, WeChat, whatsapp, etc.), downloading or watching an videos (Netflix, etc.), downloading an ebooks or podcasts. If you are staying at Rock Harbor Lodge, and would like to watch a show, or read an ebook, please download ahead of time! Otherwise, enjoy being disconnected, and off the grid! Unfortunately, we only have wifi available in the guest house; therefore, there is not wifi in either of the two restaurants. Because the wifi at Rock Harbor Lodge is so limited, it is reserved to those who are staying with us at the Lodge. If you are not staying with us, and are using our wifi, we will ask you to disconnect. You can not “purchase” or “pay” for wifi use if you are not staying in the lodge. We want you to have a good time, but we just do not have those capabilities for us to allow you to do that. Isle Royale is one of very few places in this country that maintains such remoteness, and very basic forms of communication.

Q: Do phones work out there?
A: Please plan on your cell phone to not get service on Isle Royale. Sometimes, when the wind blows right, and the sky is just clear enough, or cloudy enough, some people have been able to get a signal here and there. However, it doesn’t last long, it is very rare, and unreliable.

Q: Where can people contact me in case of an emergency? 
A: If you are staying at Rock Harbor Lodge, and someone needs to reach you for an emergency, have them call our front desk at 906-337-4993. During the summer months the front desk is open from 7AM-8PM EST. If they call before or after hours they should leave a message, and that message will be checked first thing the following morning, and a message will be delivered to you.

General Informations/FAQs

Q: How do you get your supplies to the island?
A: All of our supplies, and food come out to the island on the Ranger III. Because the Ranger III makes its escape to the island only twice a week, that is how often our supplies get replenished.  Because we operate so remotely, as well as in conjunction with the Ranger III schedule, we have no control as to the quality or quantity of the goods when they finally make it to us nor the week by week demand of  menu items. Although it may seem like lack of planning to run out of a food item here and there, but we assure you we do our very best to maintain every menu item at all times; however, it is not uncommon for us to run out of, or refuse to serve a menu item if it is not up to our standard.  For example, we advertise that we sell fresh, locally caught fish, but if the local fisherman do not catch enough fish to feed the demand of our guests, we simply can not serve fish. Because we intend to keep our integrity, we will not outsource fish from other parts of the world and sell it as our own local. By any means, no one is going to go hungry at Rock Harbor Lodge.

Q: How do you get your power at Rock Harbor Lodge?
A: We get our power from a diesel powered generators. However, Rock Harbor Lodge in conjunction with the National Park Service have made efforts to switch our power from diesel powered generators to solar powered generators!

Q: What time does the visitor center hours? Why isn’t the visitor center open, I need my passbook stamp?
A: The visitor center is maintained by the National Park Service. We have no control over their hours, nor do we have the capability to open the visitor center up for you if it is closed. Rock Harbor Lodge does not have a stamp for the National Park Service passport book either. If you have any questions or need anymore information about the Isle Royale Visitor Center, please contact them directly.

Q: Are we associated with the transportation lines?
A: Although we work together with the transportation lines frequently, we are separate company than the transportation lines. Each transportation line is a privately-owned company (with the exception of the Ranger III, owned by the National Park Service), therefore we can only provide the information that they provide to us, to you. Please also understand though we work along side the National Park Service, we have no control as to when they open, when they do tours, or access to their facilities.

Q: Do we sell fuel in the store? What kind? Windigo and Rock Harbor?
A: Yes we sell fuel at the Dockside Store as well as the Windigo Camp store. We sell isobutane mix fuel, as well as white gas. If you are planning to fly to Isle Royale, you will have to purchase your fuel at one of these stores as you are not able to fly with fuel. Because we understand how important having fuel is for your backpacking trip, we carry an ample fuel supply at both ends of the island.

Q: I plan on coming to the island before you open (or after you close), and I need fuel because I am flying, where can I get some? 
A: Because we are here to serve the park visitor, as well as make sure that everyone has an enjoyable experience on Isle Royale, we will have camp fuel available for you to purchase; however, you will have to come to the lodge office. We recommend calling us a head of time to give us a heads up to make sure you get the fuel as quick as possible so you can hit the trail as soon as possible. 

Fishing Charter, Water Taxi, Sightseeing  and Marina Rental FAQ

Q: I am interested in taking a water taxi, what do I do next?
A: Our water taxis are based on reservations; however, if you decide you would a water taxi somewhere around the island once you get here, ask us at the lodge office! If we have availability, we would be happy to take you there! If you know ahead of time that you would like a water taxi, give us a call so we can get you in the books!

Q: What does a water taxi do?
A: Water taxis are a service we offer to backpackers, paddlers, and lodge guests alike! Water taxis can accommodate up to 6 passengers, and gear for each per boat. We go as far northwest McCargo Cove, as far east as Passage Island, as far south as Malone Bay and everywhere in between.  So if you are a lodge guests that would like to be challenged by getting dropped off somewhere in the morning and hiking back, or maybe there is a location you would to visit that does fit your schedule with the sightseeing boat, we can (try) and get you there!  If you are a backpacker who would like to get a start a head of the boat load of people that also just arrived, or maybe you want to hike the Greenstone Ridge trail start to finish, we can (try) to get you out there! If you are a paddler that is not comfortable paddling in wide open water, we can transport you and your canoe/kayak to a remote part of the island, and pick you up a few days later, we can (try) and get you out there!  By try, we mean we will do everything that we can to get you out there; however, all watercraft is subject to lake and weather conditions. Safety is our number one concern at Rock Harbor Lodge. Especially when we are surrounded by the largest, coldest, fresh water lake in the world. Lake Superior, and her notorious weather spats of abrupt high winds, or swift fog banks, are not something we take lightly. Our management staff, and boat captains have spent numerous seasons at Isle Royale and on the water, well enough to know how fast the weather can change, for better or for worse. 

Q: How do I bring my canoe on a water taxi?
A: Whether you bring your own canoe, or rent one from the Marina, we can strap up to two canoes on a water taxi. All ferry boats can transport your canoe/kayak from the mainland to the island. 

Q: I want to take a fishing charter, what do I need to do?
A: The fishing charters are a great way of seeing the island, all while catching dinner. Rock Harbor Lodge offers half day fishing charters for up to four people maximum. Our captains are very experienced and very passionate about fishing. Your fishing charter comes fully equipped with everything you’ll need to catch fish and stay safe, licensed and Coast Guard inspected. You will primarily be trolling for Lake Superior lake trout, as well as salmon. Fishing on Lake Superior waters surrounding Isle Royale does require a State of Michigan DNR fishing license, the cost of the fishing charter does not include the cost of a license. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the Lodge Office, once you check in for your fishing charter. Our fishing guides will educate you on fishing regulations (limits, size, etc.) as well as enforce all regulations. Rock Harbor Lodge does participate in Catch and Cook, so the Lighthouse Restaurant can cook your catch for you once you return! If you are not interested in consuming your catch immediately we can also package and freeze your catch for you to bring back with you. Call the Lodge Office to schedule a fishing charter. If you decide you would like to take one out while you’re staying with us, check with the lodge office about availability. Fishing Charters are not limited to Lodge Guests, if you are not staying with us, you are more than welcome to book a charter!

Q: Can/do I need to make a reservation for a sightseeing trip aboard the Sandy?
A: We do not accept advanced phone reservations for the sightseeing tours. Guests may sign up for any tour going out during their stay once they arrive at Isle Royale. The sightseeing tours are not limited to only lodge guests! We welcome all to join our sightseeing tours! It is an excellent way of seeing Isle Royale!

Isle Royale Queen IV/ Lodging Package FAQs

Rock Harbor Lodge has paired up with the Isle Royale Queen IV to provide a package you won’t want to miss out on! The package includes lodging in a Lakeside Lodge Room, transportation to and from Isle Royale aboard the Isle Royale Queen IV, all meals, a half day canoe rental, and a half day sightseeing trip aboard The Sandy. The package is available in 4-,3-,2-,1-night stays during the weekend. The first night being a Thursday, the last being Sunday. Any combination of days/nights is welcome with the exception of Monday-Wednesday. Once you make a reservation with Rock Harbor Lodge, we will send you a confirmation for your room reservation. Rock Harbor Lodge will make your reservation for your transportation aboard the Isle Royale Queen, which we will then send you a confirmation of your transportation reservation (separate). It takes a few days to process the Queen Packages all the way through, so we ask you to please be patient while waiting to receive all conformations. There are two restaurants at Rock Harbor, the Lighthouse Restaurant and the Greenstone Grill. Both restaurants serve a different menu, as well as have different hours. With the Queen Package, you are welcome to enjoy your meals at the restaurant of your choice! TIP: The Lodge offers Sack Lunches, so if you plan on being out on the trail for the day, but don’t want to miss a meal, ask for a sack lunch slip the day before you plan on hitting the trails for the day. The Sack Lunch will be prepared for you and ready for you the morning your trailblazing starts! The Sightseeing Tour aboard The Sandy is included in your package! You have the choice of taking whichever tour you would like! We do not take advance phone reservations for The Sandy tours, you can sign up for those tours once you arrive. The half-day canoe rental is also included in your package, you will rent those from the dock attendant at the Marina whenever you would like. The canoe rentals are first come, first serve, and are subject to lake and weather conditions.

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