The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

Welcome to The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park is also called the Porkies, and it is home to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan’s largest state park.

The Mountain park covers about 60,000 acres, with the largest tract of virgin hardwoods in North America.

It is located at the west end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Ontonagon County, the Porcupine Mountain’s name came from early explorers who thought the tree outlines along the crests looked like porcupine quills.

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park was established in 1945 by Michigan’s Legislature.

Since then, many changes have taken place in the way we live; however, the Porcupine Mountains are almost unchanged.

The remote interior with its towering pine and hemlock seems to defy time.

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The solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting. A hiker to the interior of the Porkies must actually turn back the clock and call on skills that were second nature to our ancestors.

One must appreciate the ways of a wilderness area to thoroughly enjoy backpacking the Porkies.

Remember: the difference between tired feet and the satisfaction of an outstanding view is mostly a condition of the mind.

Mid-May through mid-October is a perfect time to visit this special area.

Wilderness Visitor Center Park visitors should plan to begin at the Visitor Center near the junction of South Boundary Road and Highway M-107.

There you will find an exciting multi-media show, displays, maps and information, park products and a ranger to answer questions.

The center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET from mid-May to mid-October.

Things to do at The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

SWIMMING
A mile stretch of sandy beach on Union Bay. No bouys marking a designated beach.

BOATING
Two Lake Superior boat launches are available to visitors.
One launch is located at the Union Bay campground area, and the second is located at the Big Iron rivermouth in Silver City.

Boat rentals are available from May 25 to October 15 for canoes and kayaks.

CANOEING
The rivers and streams running through the Porkies are shallow rock bottom and are unsuitable for canoeing.
However the concessionaire provides shuttling to other areas locally more suitable for canoeing.

FISHING
Natural brook trout habitat is found throughout the Porkies watershed. Fishing at Union Spring is prohibited.
Fishing in the Lake of the Clouds is artificial lure only. Bass fishing on the Lake of the Clouds is catch and release only.
The entire park is open to hunting during established seasons with a few exceptions.

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DAY USE AREA
The Presque Isle day use area has a picnic shelter available for rent.

BICYCLING
Mountain biking is an excellent way to reach some of the most remote areas of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
As part of the downhill ski area, 42k of groomed cross country ski trails are maintained.
All other trails in the park are available for ungroomed cross country skiing.
Enjoy the quiet splendor of wooded trails and breathtaking vistas blanketed in winter white from any of the Porkies cross-country trails.

The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

TRAILS
Along with the park’s extensive trail system, the North Country Trail includes 23 miles within the state park.
The national scenic trail hiking route from North Dakota to New York uses the following park trails: West River, Lake Superior, Little Carp River and Lily Pond trails.

Trails in The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park:

Porcupine Mtns.–Lake Superior Trail – 17.1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

The Porcupine Mts — Pinkerton Trail – 2.6 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts — Escarpment Trail – 4.3 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

The Porcupine Mts — Government Peak Trail – 7.3 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts — Overlook Trail – 2.7 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Note Porcupine Mts — East and West River Trails – 2.3 mi, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts — Lost Lake Trail – 3.4 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts Union Spring Trail 4 mi, Hiking, Mntn. Biking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts — Union Mine Trail – 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts – Visitor Center Nature Trail 1.4 mi, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

At Porcupine Mts — Whitetail Path – 0.8 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Trails in The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park:

Porcupine Mts — Cross Trail/Correction Line Trail 7.3 mi, Hiking, XCountry Ski

Porcupine Mts — Lily Pond Trail – 2.5 mi, Fishing, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

For porcupine Mts — South Mirror Lake Trail 3 mi, Fishing, Hiking, XCountry Ski

Porcupine Mts — Summit Peak Tower Trail 0.5 mi, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Around Porcupine Mts — Beaver Creek Trail – 1.2 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

At Porcupine Mts — Big Carp River Trail 9.6 mi, Fishing, Hiking, XCountry Ski

Porcupine Mts — North Mirror Lake Trail 3.8 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

In Porcupine Mts-River Trail – 10.5 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts.-Double Trail – 3 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

The Porcupine Mts. – Triple Trail – 3 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts. – Nonesuch Trail – 3 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Area Porcupine Mts. – East and West Vista Trail 2.5 mi, Mountain Biking, XCountry Ski

Porcupine Mts. – Log Camp Trail – 5 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

For Porcupine Mts. – Deer Yard Trail – 5 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Porcupine Mts. – Superior Loop – 1.5 (Miles), Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Things to note and important activities

Downhill Skiing:

The Park is the home of the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area, a major Michigan winter sports area and an excellent place to introduce the family to the fun of winter.

Located in the Lake Superior “snowbelt,” the Porkies receive an average annual snowfall of 175+ inches. A 640′ vertical drop, long tree-lined runs (the longest being 5,800′), and a spectacular view of Lake Superior make the Porkies some of the finest skiing in the midwest.

The Ski Chalet offers a cafeteria, ski shop, ski rentals, certified repairs and first aid room. Large fireplaces provide a cozy setting to warm you while picture windows provide an excellent view of ski runs and skiers schussing down the slopes.

Metal Detecting Areas:

Metal detecting is recognized as a legitimate recreation activity when it is conducted in ways that do not damage the natural and cultural resources in Michigan State Parks nor violate applicable state statues.
Any items found must be reviewed by park staff and may be retained for further investigation.

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Seasons and times at The Porcupine Mountains

However, be aware many venues in the area are seasonal and aren’t open outside of these months.
Seasonal park roads close at the beginning of December and remain closed until late spring but are open via snowmobiles and cross-country skiing during the winter.

The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park

Vehicle access to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park requires a Michigan State Park Recreation Passport, which you can purchase as an annual or day pass either at the gate or online. If you’re bicycling or hiking, a Recreation Passport isn’t required for entrance.

While most of Michigan, including the Porcupine Mountains, is in the Eastern Time Zone, be aware some areas in the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, like Gogebic County and the nearby state of Wisconsin, are in the Central Time Zone.

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 (13,000 ha).

Brief history of Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mountains State Park was established in 1945 to protect the area’s large stand of old-growth forest, much of it of the “maple-hemlock” type.

In 1972, Michigan passed the Wilderness and Natural Areas Act. This act gave the park the new designation of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Facilities provided by the park include an extensive network of backcountry trails for hiking and wilderness backpacking, rustic trailside cabins, modern campgrounds, swimming and boating areas, and various interpretive programs led by park rangers.

The North Country Trail passes through the park, making up a portion of the 87 miles (140 km) of hiking trails. A ski area operates within the park in winter.

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.

You can encounter Black bear in the park. When camping, hang all food and valuable items on a rope between two trees at least 25-30′ above the ground and at least 100 feet away from your camp.

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DO NOT FEED THE BEARS ANYWHERE IN THE PARK.

A concession store is located at the Union Bay campground area on M-107. Visitors can purchase firewood, ice, gifts and refreshments. Mountain bike, canoe and kayak rentals are also available.

The concessionaire also provides shuttle service to all areas in the park.

Make sure to visit The Porcupine Mountains Camping and Park today.

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