Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
267.00 ft (81.38 m)
Trail type
6.50 mi (10.46 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Chapel Basin Trailhead offers a loop back via Mosquito Falls and is roughly a 6.5 mile route through a quiet forest with the distant call of the falls leading to Chapel Rock and Beach.  This day hike is a family friendly one with wide paths and well groomed trails.  There are occasional climbs, but mostly down hill, skirting some cliffs and ridges leading to the lakeshore.  

The first point of interest will be the falls, about 1.3 miles from the trailhead, where several promontories, to view up close and from a distance, are well maintained and marked.  The trail works behind the falls, over the creek and around to the other side with another promontory to view from a distance. Drawing closer to Lake Superior, the crashing waves beckon hikers of all skill levels to continue on and view the reward of Chapel Rock with a dip in the lake afterward; the beach rests about 2 miles from the falls. The hike down to Chapel Rock begins to descend gradually with a number of large steps down over roots. There exists a fork in the trail with a short trail to view Chapel Rock up close while the main trail follows part of the North Country Trail to the beach access. Access to the beach is achieved through two log rung ladders threaded in the side of the dune to descend roughly 30 feet, but still take care as some rungs are buried in sand. Once down to the beach, ample space exists to relax and enjoy nature's majesty with Chapel Rock to the east and a wall of Pictured Rocks and caverns to the west.

The return trip is accessed via the Mosquito Falls Trail; this trail is an offshoot of the North Woods Trail that can be followed past the fork toward Miner's Castle and Miner's Beach west along Lake Superior. Following this trail, and prior to turning left to head back to the trailhead, you will observe individual and group camp sites nestled in the trees above the beach that require a permit. Follow the planked trail to leave the water's edge to amble down a gradual climb back to the trailhead. After 1.5 to 2 miles on this leg of the trail, there is a small promontory that overlooks Chapel Lake below with the chance to see aviary wildlife in the basin.  Arrival back to the trailhead is approximately 3 miles from the beach. Just before arriving to the trailhead you will cross over Chapel Creek.

Note: Please stay on the trail. Chapel Rock is a geological formation that was made over thousands of years, but one wrong step by a human could ruin it in mere seconds. In summer 2018, a hiker fell from the cliffs and died, so do not take the cliff for granted. As always, please respect wildlife and clean up after yourself.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenc vistas. Relatively flat and maintained trail.


Limited parking. Congested in summer.

Trailhead Elevation

745.00 ft (227.08 m)

Highest point

823.00 ft (250.85 m)


Backcountry camping
Near lake or river
Family friendly
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Vault toilet

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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