Chapel Basin Area
Continuing northeast on H-58 from Miners Castle, the next auto-accessible route into the heart of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is at Melstrand, where the gravel/dirt Chapel Road bumps six miles toward the shore and another park highlight, the Chapel Basin area. Park your car here and you’ll find plenty to entertain you during a long day hike or a weekend: three waterfalls, a deep inland lake, Superior beaches, and a good hiking loop.
Chapel Falls is the key attraction, as evidenced by the wide paved pathway that leads 1.5 miles to the falls. Amid a pale birch forest, frothing water drops like a horsetail some 90 feet into a deep gorge and Chapel Lake below. Continue past the falls to reach Chapel Beach in another 1.75 miles, where you’ll find a backcountry campground. From here, you can turn right to Chapel Rock and follow the Lakeshore Trail 1.5 miles to Spray Falls, one of the least visited and loveliest waterfalls in the park, where Spray Creek drops over the sandstone cliffs right into Lake Superior.
If you turn left instead of right at Chapel Beach, you can make a 10-mile loop around Chapel Basin. Along the way, you’ll pass Grand Portal Point—another significant Pictured Rocks landmark—before returning to the parking area. Don’t leave Chapel Basin without a visit to Mosquito Falls, a little farther inland off Chapel Road. The Mosquito River spills over a series of ledges, creating an accessible and calm enough waterfall for wading and soaking fatigued hiking feet. A trail leads to various sections of the falls and links up with the Lakeshore Trail.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel