Grand Portal Point is one of the landmarks of the famous Pictured Rocks cliffs in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The way to see Grand Portal Point by foot
Grand Portal Point is one of the highlights on Pictured Rocks boat tours, so it’s possible to see Grand Portal Point by boat.
It’s also possible to see it by foot, and you will get a different viewpoint of it compared to seeing it when you’re on a cruise!
Seeing Grand Portal Point by foot will require a little bit of effort. There’s a hiking trail to get there.
It’s around 4.3 miles one way from the nearest parking lot to Grand Portal Point. (That is the direction that passes by Chapel Beach first.)
To get to Grand Portal Point, you’ll be doing what’s commonly called the Chapel Loop Trail. Doing this hike as a loop will be 9-10+ miles.
And there’s much more to see than just Grand Portal Point! Chapel Loop Trail is THE hike to do if you want to see the Pictured Rocks cliffs by foot. So you’ll be able to see many more unique rock formations with this hike. And, part of the loop includes waterfalls too. Consider it one of the best hikes in Pictured Rocks! (More photos below!)
Backpacking the North Country Trail
The North Country Trail is a national scenic trail that extends for 4,600 miles across many states from the midwest to the east coast. It also goes through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for around 40 miles.
The NCT also goes past Grand Portal Point, and there are backcountry campsites near the Pictured Rocks cliffs.
On one side, there’s the Chapel Beach backcountry campground that’s around 1.3 miles from Grand Portal Point. On the other side, there’s the Mosquito River backcountry campground that’s around 2.7 miles from Grand Portal Point.
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PHOTOS of what you’ll see on your hike to Grand Portal Point!
The sun’s lighting onto the lake isn’t the best in these pictures. I was at Grand Portal Point at around 6pm in the middle of July. At this time, the sunset was past 9:30pm.
So to get to Grand Portal Point, you start from the Chapel Mosquito area parking. For google maps, you can make the Chapel Basin parking lot your destination. The general area of Grand Portal Point is also on google maps.
Once you’re in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore park, you’ll look for signs to the Chapel Mosquito area.
This is a popular trail and the parking lot might be full when you go. If you see cars parked on the road before you even get to the parking lot, you can take your chances and drive all the way to the parking lot to see if anyone’s left recently, or if anyone will be leaving shortly. Otherwise, you might have to park a bit further from the parking lot and then walk a little extra just to get to the parking lot and trailhead.
So when you’re doing this hike as a loop, you can go in either direction.
Basically, you can go from the trailhead to Chapel Beach to Mosquito Beach back to the trailhead.
Or you can go in the other direction, from the trailhead to Mosquito Beach to Chapel Beach back to the trailhead.
The Pictured Rocks cliffs are between the 2 beaches.
I went to Chapel Beach first, so that will reflect the order of what’s seen below. This is in the counter clockwise direction, and it means following the Chapel Falls Trail first.
So doing it in this direction, you’ll take the same trail to Chapel Falls.
You’ll start the trail, pass by some waterfall overlooks, and then you’ll keep walking on the trail which will take you to Lake Superior! You’ll then pass by Chapel Rock (the rock with a tree growing on it) and Chapel Beach (a sandy beach where you can see small waterfalls flowing into Lake Superior). From the trailhead to Chapel Beach is a little over 3 miles, maybe closer to 3.5 miles walking to the other end of the beach.
You can walk along the beach some for a bit of a beach walk, and then you can continue on with the hiking trail.
So once you leave Chapel Beach, you’ll follow the hiking trail that will generally go along the Lake Superior shoreline. There will be a number of spots where you can veer off and take a short trail to overlooks to see the Pictured Rocks cliffs!
From Chapel Beach to Grand Portal Point might be around 1.3 miles, but you might want to make a few stops along the way! So it could take a bit longer than you might expect!
And then you’ll see a sign for Grand Portal Point! (The only landmark that I saw marked along the cliff trail.)
It’s somewhat of a wide area so there are a few different small little paths that you can take to get to the overlook.
Enjoy the views at Grand Portal Point!!
And then you can continue hiking to see more Pictured Rocks cliffs!
And that’s a bit of what you’ll see with a hike to Grand Portal Point!
See more of the best hiking in Pictured Rocks!
If you’re interested in Grand Portal Point, you may also be interested in these Pictured Rocks activities:
- Chapel Rock
- Chapel Falls
- Twelvemile Beach campground
- Miners Falls
- Munising Falls
- Little Beaver Lake campground
- Grand Sable Dunes overlook
- Sable Falls
See more of Pictured Rocks:
- Lake Superior beaches in Pictured Rocks
- Waterfalls in Pictured Rocks
- More things to do in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
See more of the UP:
- Lake of the Clouds overlook
- Stops to make on the drive from Munising to Marquette
- Stops to make on a circle the UP road trip
- Hiking in the Porcupine Mountains
- Hiking in Marquette
- The bubbling big spring
HAPPY HIKING TO GRAND PORTAL POINT!