So after seeing Pictured Rocks from the water, we thought a nice hike through the woods would be tough, but enjoyable. We started at the Chapel Loop Trailhead and headed in a counterclockwise direction toward Chapel Rock. A word of caution, get to the trailhead before 9:00 or you’ll be walking a long way to find a parking spot.
Chapel Rock is the first main stop of the loop and it is truly stunning with Lake Superior’s turquoise water as a backdrop. Notice the tree roots that connect the rock to the rest of the shoreline. There was a ground squirrel that ran across the roots out to the rock while we were there taking pictures.
Just a few yards past Chapel Rock is Chapel Beach. This is an absolutely beautiful beach, which was surprisingly very clean. Chapel Falls is right there too and is really cool watching the water empty into Lake Superior’s blue waters.
The picture above shows the view from Chapel Beach and part of Chapel Falls, while Chapel Rock is a short ways down the beach in the background. This whole area is such a tranquil area, with families enjoying the wonderful beach area.
The view from Chapel Beach is the first of the many highlights of loop. We stopped for a short snack and to enjoy the view while taking a load off our feet. There were many folks refilling their water bottles along the shoreline. The rest of the trail loop doesn’t have much access to spots where you get close to the water.
This group of boys were jumping from the top of the rock formation into the deeper Chapel Cove. My best estimate was just over a 50 foot plummet to the water surface. Int his area the water was about 15 feet deep. Most of the shoreline does not have that deep of water, so I think this is an area where locals know they can jump off the cliffs without worrying about hitting shallow water.
This was the same catamaran that we had taken a cruise on the previous night. The captain was maneuvering the boat into the Chapel Cove in order for the passengers to get up close to the cliffs. This part of the cruise was as close as the boat ever gets to the cliffs due to how shallow most of the water is near the shoreline.
In the picture above, you can see many teens getting out to the edge of the cliff for that selfie pic to post on social media. When we were in the same spot, there was a guy that stumbled while navigating the edge. I joked with him about not sure I would have been able to save him if he had fallen, but there is definitely a real danger near these cliffs that are up to 200 foot above the narrow shallows below. It was kinda interesting that there wasn’t one safety fence or even much signage to warn people of the huge drop-off. Definitely not DisneyWorld or a place for young children.
Some very sore and tired legs after the nearly 11 mile hike along the Chapel Loop. I might not have fully disclosed how long the hike was, but they were glad to be done and get into an air conditioned vehicle. My next trip, will hopefully be to an overnight hike-in camp site. There were a few of these close to the Pictured Rocks Lakeshore and close to the scenic views of Lake Superior. I would definitely go in the Chapel Rocks direction first rather than head to the Mosquito Falls direction. The Mosquito Falls area had less to see in my opinion, but then again we were ready for the hike to wind down.