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Porcupine Mountains State Park Camping

Beautiful Park And Campground

Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park / Union Bay Campground

There are several different campgrounds nestled in throughout the park, but they also have one right near by called the “Union Bay” Campground which has electricity. But for those who are looking for a more traditional camping experience they have several outpost camps.There are several points of interest throughout the park including Summit Peak and Cloud lake, which are both great for pictures, but fair warning, Cloud Lake is a bit of a hike, around 3 miles from the closet lot to park in.Anyways, we stayed at the Union Bay Campground which from what I understand is one of the most popular, and fair warning, if you’re coming from the West, there are no clear directions to the campground until you get right up on it practically, and you’re just driving through long wilderness roads. But all in all it’s a beautiful place!Lots of stops and sights to see.

Porcupine Mountains Backcountry Camping

Image from The Dyrt camper Hilary S.

For the adventurous campers out there who want to try Porcupine Mountains camping at its most rustic, there are 65 backcountry camping spots within the park.

Each campsite has a metal fire ring, and campers must follow strict guidelines to protect themselves and the environment. For campers who want to experience the wilderness fully and appreciate everything the Porcupine Mountains have to offer, these campsites are ideal.

In all, this has been one of my favorite backpacking sites, and I recommend it to everyone.Anna A.

Inside Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Many visitors choose to sit and relax on Lake Superior’s shores or walk the beach looking for the agates that periodically wash up. Others choose to explore the interior of the park by wandering through its dense old-growth forests. Lakes suddenly appear along trails, including the celebrated Lake of the Clouds. There are 87 miles of trails in the park, and waterfalls, roaring streams, and quiet heights with fantastic views greet hikers and bikers along every path. Anglers will find opportunities to fish in Lake Superior, the interior lakes, and the streams that run through the park.

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A Brief Introduction To Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

The Porcupine Mountains, or Porkies, are a group of small mountains spanning the northwestern Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, near the shore of Lake Superior. The Porcupine Mountains were named by the native Ojibwa people, supposedly because their silhouette had the shape of a crouching porcupine. They are home to the most extensive stand of old growth northern hardwood forest in North America west of the Adirondack Mountains, spanning at least 31,000 acres . The area is popular among tourists, especially Lake of the Clouds in the heart of the mountains, and is part of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.The Porcupine Mountains were the site of copper mining in the 19th century. One of these mines is the Nonesuch Mine, which operated sporadically from 1867 to 1912. Because of its copper mining history, the state park is a cooperating unit of Keweenaw National Historical Park.

Dont Move Firewood Help Protect Our Michigan State Parks And Campgrounds

Best Camping Trails in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park ...

Invasive insects and diseases have destroyed MILLIONS OF TREES in Michigan, often after hitching a ride on firewood. Purchase only certified heat-treated firewood at the park or nearby vendors. If you dont use it all, dont transport it or take it home with you. Campfires are permitted only in designated fire rings. Never leave a campfire unattended.

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Backpacking The Porcupine Mountains: Backcountry Camping

Backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains is a thing. This means that you hike to your camping spot. There are designated backcountry campgrounds or backcountry campsites in the Porcupine Mountains.

Below are a few examples of backcountry campsites to get you started. Individually, you can make each of these into an overnight backpacking trip, since the nearest parking lot is just a few miles away. So if youre practicing for a bigger backpacking trip, these can also make for a good trial run! Or, you can hike further to easily make your Porcupine Mountains trip into a multi-day backpacking trip.

Backcountry camping along the Escarpment Trail

The Escarpment Trail is among the best day hikes in the Porcupine Mountains. And its possible to camp along the escarpment ridge.

For backcountry camping along the Escarpment Trail, look for campsites marked ES-1 and ES-2 on the backcountry campsite map .

Backcountry camping along Lake Superior Trail

Backcountry campsite LS-18.

You can also hike the Lake Superior Trail as an overnight or multi-day backpacking trip.

There are many backcountry campsites along the trail that are practically lakefront campsites with Lake Superior just a few steps away!

Shores off of backcountry campsite LS-18.

Backcountry campsite LS-15.

Backcountry camping near Mirror Lake

You can also make it an overnight backpacking trip to the inland lake of Mirror Lake in the Porcupine Mountains.

Located At The Entrance To The Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

15 miles west of Ontonagon and 2 miles west of Silver City on 107th Engineers Memorial Hwy. Watch for the big carved bear on the left hand side of the road.

We are pet friendly . Please see our pet policy under Amenities & Activities/Campground Policies. If you have more than 2 pets, please call the campground for approval.

TENT OR CAMPER PER SITE

Only family per site. Maximum of people per site.

Campsites are for camping only! No group events, parties, reunions, etc. We do NOT have a public pavilion and NO extra parking.

Visitors to your site are limited to and will now be charged $10 per person per day, plus $10 per vehicle per day.

ATVs/UTVs/ORVs are not allowed in the State Park, and not allowed in the campground.

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

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We administer grants that enable our local partners to promote the lifestyles we all enjoy by providing recreational opportunities, enhancing wildlife habitat and ensuring public safety. Visit the grants home page by clicking on the button above, or view a specific area of interest below:

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The visitor center is located along South Boundary Road, near the 107 junction.

Hours:

May 15 – Oct. 14: Open daily 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST

Recreation Passport required for entry

The Porcupine Mountains Visitor Center, located in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, introduces visitors to the rich wilderness heritage of this 60,000-acre park. Set alongside the largest old-growth hardwood-hemlock forest in the Great Lakes region, the center features exhibits and programs that tell the story of Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula.

Presque Isle Falls Loop

Michigan State Parks 100: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Follow along the east and west sides of the Presque Isle River to pass a series of cascading waterfalls: Manabezo Falls, Manido Falls, and Nawadaha Falls.

The leaves were just starting to change on our visit and it was raining, yet it is another favorite. Theres something about the sound of rushing water thats so soothing. Plus, its not that difficult of a trail so it was very relaxing.

Length: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 45 minutes 1 1/2 hours

TIP: If you are trying to avoid people, head straight over to East River Trail and make it an out and back instead.

MORE INFO: On the East trail, you can take a short detour and hike out to Lake Superior.

The Presque Isle River trail is dog-friendly, but you must keep them on a leash.

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Hiking And Camping In The Porcupine Mountains

Anchored along the Lake Superior shore in the northwest corner of Michigans Upper Peninsula, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park covers 59,020 acres, the largest in Michigans excellent state park system. The Porcupine Mountains were considered for a national park in the 1940s and were quickly preserved as a state park in 1945 when loggers threatened their virgin timber before the federal government could take action.

Some years ago, the pitted and rugged landscape of low mountains and tall pines reminded locals of the silhouette of a porcupine. The name stuck, and today the area is endearingly dubbed the Porkies. Its a destination for casual hikers and hard-core backpackers, with 90-plus miles of well-marked, well-maintained trails.

In this case, bigger also means better. The park preserves the largest tract of virgin hardwoods between the Rockies and Adirondacks and vast stands of virgin hemlock and pine, along with secluded lakes, wild rivers, and some of the Midwests highest peaks . The Porkies truly provide a sense of wilderness and serenity, an escape from the civilized world.

Dnr To Limit Number Of Backcountry Campsites At Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Changes to protect park resources, improve backcountry camping experience

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will limit the number of designated backcountry campsites at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, to better protect park resources and help ensure a quality backcountry camping experience.

At roughly 60,000 acres, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigans largest state park, home to towering old-growth hemlock-hardwood stands, roaring waterfalls and spectacular sweeping vistas.

Annual visitation to the park is estimated to have grown to over 300,000 people.

In past years, backcountry campsites were available on a first-come, first-served basis, park rangers did not need to limit camping and campers could camp off-trail in a dispersed fashion away from designated campsites.

Over the past few years, park resources have been used heavily and the solitude of a wilderness experience backcountry campers are seeking has been compromised by overcrowding.

In recent years, we have had several nights that exceeded our capacity. We are now requiring campers to stay at designated campsites and we are limiting the number of registered campsites to 63 per night to protect the backcountry experience for all, said Michael Knack, park supervisor. Campers can now make a reservation for campsites and all backcountry campers will be required to camp on the specific backcountry campsite or campsites they have registered for.

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Rustic Cabins In Backcountry

Within the backcountry of Porcupine Mountain, you can rent a rustic cabin for your stay as well. They have 18 cabins that will need to be reserved beforehand. They are furnished with the basics, but youll need to bring lighting and cooking supplies. This is especially popular with local folks who like to get away from it all. Booking times last from May 15 through October 15. Grab em while they last!

Should You Go Camping At Porcupine Mountain

Campsite

Among the best reasons to go to Porcupine Mountain is to have an experience that raw nature can deliver best. Its not just for camping either since the winter activities have become quite a big draw in recent years. There is skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Sadly there is no fishing allowed even though Lake of the Clouds is teaming with smallmouth bass You can still fish locally at the Union Bay campground by the beach.

Various attractions might be interesting if you stay for a week or longer. Among the more off-beat adventures you can enjoy are tours of local mines that are safe to explore. You can hike to Copper or Summit Peak if you like a thrilling climb. And there is even the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival. Is that still not enough? How about catching a glimpse of the legendary Paulding Mystery Light!

If you like winter fun, the Snowburst Winter Carnival might tantalize your winter senses. There is also the Old Victoria restoration and Ontonagon Lighthouse if you like local historic places. While youre there visit the Ontonagon County Historical Society Museum for a look into the past! You cant go wrong with a visit to Porcupine Mountain this year and were sure youll return years afterward also.

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Michigan State Parks Swimming Boating And Water Safety:

The Great Lakes are powerful bodies of water. DO NOT swim near or jump off break walls or navigational channel walls. Always pay attention to changing conditions and the beach flag warning system found in designated buoyed swim areas. Before heading out, visit Michigan.gov/BeachSafety.

Record-high water levels are causing increased river flows, submerged docks and piers, swimming and boating hazards, and other concerns. Learn more about the effects of high water and how to stay safe at Michigan.gov/HighWaterSafety.

Happy Camping At The Rustic Presque Isle Campground

Watch the videos to see Michigan in action!

Find more amazing things to do in the UP: Watch my Upper Peninsula videos on youtube

Turn your Michigan road trip into a national park road trip out west?! Take a look to get ideas for your road trip across America!

There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

Things to pack for your Michigan vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
How to be a little bit more eco-friendly during your road trip!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Get your travel bags more organized!

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Black River Harbor Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Jade G.

Adjacent to the Black River Harbor Recreation Area with its pavilion, harbor, and picnic area, the Black River Harbor Campground is the ideal spot to get involved in many fun outdoor activities and explore the breathtaking scenery.

Close to spectacular waterfalls, outstanding beaches, and an elevated Lake Superior vista, the campground offers a comfortable and convenient base for visitors.

Was looking for a remote, simple camp ground in the U.P. and was not disappointed. With a small walk to the beautiful beaches, a long day hike of the waterfalls, with access to the Porkies you can not find a better place.peppergur B.

Your Guide To The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Camping Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Discover Michigans largest state park on the shores of Lake Superior in the beautiful western Upper Peninsula. Heres what you need to know before visiting the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

What is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park?

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigans largest state park, spanning approximately 60,000 acres in Ontonagon County in the western Upper Peninsula. The park is home to 35,000 acres of old-growth forestone of the largest remaining areas in the Midwestand offers outstanding recreation options, incredible vistas, stunning waterfalls, and miles of Lake Superior shoreline.

How do I get to the state park?

The Porcupine Mountains State Park can be accessed via M-64 to the east or via County Road 519 to the west .

Note that seasonal roadsincluding M-107 past the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area and South Boundary Roadare closed from December 1 through late spring every year.

How much is admission to the state park?

Admission to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park requires a state of Michigan Recreation Passport, which is available to residents and nonresidents alike. For nonresidents, annual passes are $36 and daily passes are $10. Learn more about Michigans Recreation Passport here.

What can I do in the state park?

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers boundless opportunities for fun and recreation, including:

STAY IN THE LOOP

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Here Are Your Basic Options For Camping In Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Main Porcupine Mountains campground #1. Modern campground on the shores of Lake Superior
Main Porcupine Mountains campground #2. Rustic campground near Lake Superior and Presque Isle River in a quieter area of the state park
Rustic campgrounds with very few campsites located off a main road in the state park

4. Backcountry camping throughout the Porcupine Mountains

Backpacking the Porcupine Mountains: Hike to your campsite

5. Backcountry cabins throughout the Porcupine Mountains

Backpacking the Porcupine Mountains: Hike to your cabin
  • Get a waterproof phone case if you’ll be heading out on the water!
  • Get water shoes if you’ll be heading to any beaches with a rocky shoreline in search of colorful rocks!

Camping In Porcupine Mountains State Park: Campgrounds And Cabins In The Porcupine Mountains Michigan Travel Blog

Hi there!

If youre planning a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you have a few different options for how to do so in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park!

First, the quick list of the types of camping in the Porcupine Mountains.

And then, a bit more about each of these camping types.

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How To Make Camping Reservations At Presque Isle Campground

This is the official website for making Michigan State Parks camping reservation.

You can choose Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and then go from there to choose Presque Isle campground.

Youll be able to find an updated campground map too.

You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you the basics of the campsite.

Off the the left side of the map is where the walk-in sites are located.

Cost of camping at Presque Isle campground

In 2020, the cost of camping in Porcupine Mountains State Park at the Presque Isle campground was around $17 per night. There is an additional reservation fee. See here for updated camping fees.

Also, as a Michigan State Park, a Michigan recreation passport is required for entry.

If youre a Michigan resident, hopefully you already have the annual recreation passport, in which case theres no additional fee.

If you dont have the recreation passport, or youre from out of state, for Michigan residents the annual pass is around $17 when purchased at a state park and for out-of-state residents its around $34. See current fees here.

Checking in to your campsite

Then, once you arrive at Presque Isle Scenic Area, youll stop by the campground office to check in and get your camping permit!

Then off you go to find your campsite!

And thats a bit about Porcupine Mountains rustic camping at Presque Isle campground!

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