Stephen took this shot of two massive slabs of fallen rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore back in 2015. See more of Lake Superior in all four seasons in his gallery.
Atlas Obscura says that although there’s a whole lot to see in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, hikers should keep their eyes peeled for one feature in particular: Chapel Rock, once known as La Chappelle:
Composed of Cambrian age sandstone dating back approximately 500 million years, Chapel Rock is the result of the erosion caused by a proglacial lake somewhat confusingly referred to as “Nipissing Great Lakes.” This giant body of water consisted of separate basins joined by straits, and once occupied present-day Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Georgian Bay. Around 3,800 years ago, the high waters of Nipissing Great Lakes carved through the soft sandstone, resulting in today’s dramatic formation, which juts out into Lake Superior.
Although Chapel Rock’s stone is mostly beige, its base is a warm orange, thanks to mineral concentrations. The sandstone cliffs that comprise Pictured Rocks are full of iron, copper, manganese, and limonite, which impart red, orange, blue, green, brown, black, and white hues. Not long ago, a natural rock bridge spanned the area between Chapel Rock and the mainland. It collapsed in the 1940s, leaving the formation unconnected with the rest of the shore. Thankfully, the rest of the structure has remained intact and is protected from climbers by order of the Lakeshore Superintendent.
The rock isn’t the only thing that has proven to be remarkably durable. Charles Penny, a member of the Douglass Houghton expedition responsible for exploring Lake Superior’s southern shore, admiringly described a single pine tree that grew like a “spire” out of the sparse dirt covering the top of the outcropping. Till this day, the same resilient pine stands sentinel over Chapel Rock, connected to the mainland by its extensive root system.
See more in John’s Pictured Rocks gallery on Flickr.
Sunrise overlooking Grand Sable Dunes in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore seems like a glorious way to start the day. See more from John at michigannutphotography.com or on the Michigan Nut Facebook page & have a wonderful week!!
John McCormick aka Michigan Nut is one of my favorite photographers. He’s been sharing some great videos he took this year at some of Michigan’s waterfalls on his Facebook page – check them out!
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore explains that Miners Falls is where the Miners River drops about 50 feet over a sandstone outcrop, creating the park’s most powerful waterfall. You can see this photo & more at Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook and view & purchase John’s great waterfall (and other) pictures on his website.
Visited by passing English geologists in 1771-1772, the nearby Miners River was named by employees of Alexander Henry during one of his exploratory trips on Lake Superior. At that time, indicators or “leaders” were used to locate mineral deposits. Discolored water oozing from bedrock was one such leader found in the Miners Basin, although no minerals were ever extracted from this area.
Charles took took this pic last week. See lots more on his Flickr!
Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library says that on October 7, 1972 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was officially dedicated:
Authorized by Congress in 1966 as the nation’s first national lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore today encompassed over 73,000 acres of multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, wildlife and the forest of the Lake Superior shoreline. Stretching from Munising to Grand Marais, the park is a four season destination attracting everyone from hikers to campers, hunters, and casual visitors. The park is managed by the National Park Service and welcomes over four hundred thousand visitors each year.
Craig captured this spectacular sunrise in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore over Grand Sable Dunes on the shores of Lake Superior. Check it out at Craig Sterken Photography on Facebook & also have a look at Craig’s new vinyl stickers for your car windows!
Just can’t get enough of John’s photos from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The Pictured Rocks’ Waterfall page says:
Located about 1.75 miles northeast of Chapel Beach.
Spray Falls plunges about 70 feet over the Pictured Rocks cliffs directly into Lake Superior. This remote waterfall is best viewed from the water as there is limited viewing access from the North Country Scenic Trail (from the Chapel trailhead it’s a 9.6 mile round trip hike; from the Little Beaver trailhead, it’s just under 8 miles round trip.) The 1856 shipwreck “Superior” lies at the base of the falls in 20 feet of water.
The waterfall varies in flow & it’s flowing pretty strongly right now. A great way to get there IRL is the Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises, but you can get the next best thing including an awesome video of Spray Falls on the Michigan Nut Photography Facebook page!
John writes that he caught these paddle boarders taking a break beneath Lovers Leap in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. See it bigger on Facebook and be sure to head over to Michigan Nut Photography for more great pics from his day!