Discover Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Nestled in the rugged, forested terrain of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a hiker’s paradise and a testament to the untamed beauty of the Great Lakes region. Spanning over 60,000 acres, this vast wilderness is one of the largest state parks in Michigan and is often referred to as “the Porkies” by locals and visitors alike.

The Porcupine Mountains are renowned for their rich biodiversity and stunning vistas, providing ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in nature. The park boasts over 90 miles of hiking trails, each winding through unique ecosystems and offering varying degrees of difficulty, making it an ideal destination for novice and seasoned adventurers.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in nature or an exhilarating hiking adventure, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers something for everyone.

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Top 3 Facts about Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

01

Ancient Forests

The park is home to one of North America’s largest old-growth northern hardwood forests. These ancient forests, with trees over 500 years old, provide a glimpse into what the region looked like before European settlers arrived.

02

Lake of the Clouds

One of the park’s most iconic features is the Lake of the Clouds. This stunning lake is nestled in a valley surrounded by dense forests. The nearby escarpment offers breathtaking panoramic views, especially during the fall when the foliage is ablaze with color.

03

Waterfalls Galore

The park boasts numerous waterfalls, many of which can be accessed via scenic hiking trails. Notable waterfalls include Manabezho, Manido, and Nawadaha Falls on the Presque Isle River, each offering a unique and picturesque view.

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$198.00 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Aiming for a road trip to the verdant expanses of the Upper Peninsula? Most visitors find driving to the Porcupine Mountains the most straightforward way to arrive.

  • By Car: Plug “Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park” into your GPS and follow the turn-by-turn navigation. From the core of the Upper Peninsula, head west on M-64, and you’ll find the park’s main entrance welcoming you.
  • By Air (Nearest Airport): Gogebic County Airport in Ironwood, Michigan, is the nearest airport. From there, you can rent a car and drive approximately 1.5 hours to the park.
  • Public Transportation Options: This is a bit trickier, as direct public transportation to the park isn’t widely available. Your best chance might involve getting to a nearby town and renting a car for the final leg of your journey.

Places to Stay Near Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

When planning a visit to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, you’ll find a variety of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some excellent options for places to stay near the park:

Campgrounds

  • Union Bay Campground: Located within the park, this campground offers stunning views of Lake Superior. It’s equipped with modern amenities like electricity, restrooms, and showers, making it a popular choice for campers.
  • Presque Isle Campground: Another great option within the park, this campground is near the picturesque Presque Isle River and its waterfalls. It offers a more primitive camping experience with fewer amenities, ideal for those seeking a true wilderness adventure.

Rustic Shelters

  • Backcountry Camping: For the adventurous, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers backcountry campsites and rustic cabins that can be reserved. These sites provide a more immersive experience in the park’s natural beauty, perfect for seasoned hikers and campers.
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Best Time to Go to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Summer

Summer

Oh, summertime – when Lake Superior shines, and the wilderness is in full bloom! It’s warm, it’s lively, and those long days? They’re a hiker’s daylight savings!

  • Weather Conditions: Warm and can be humid
  • Advantages of Visiting in Summer:
    • Extensive trail accessibility
    • Warm weather for water activities on Lake Superior
  • Recommended Activities:
Winter

Winter

Brace yourself for a true winter wonderland! Sure, it’s chilly, but the snow-draped landscape is stunning, and the quiet? It’s as if the park is whispering for you to enjoy its solitude.

  • Weather Conditions: Snowy and cold
  • Winter Sports: The park comes alive with snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling
  • Accessibility: Limited road access; M-64 is your key to the Winter Sports Complex
  • Average Temperature: 5°F-25°F
Spring

Spring

Spring in the park can be unpredictable, but it’s a thrilling time to watch nature wake up. You might start with some snow on the ground, yet by late spring, the trails are begging for your footsteps.

  • Weather Conditions: Varies from late snows to mild, wet conditions
  • Recommended Activities:
    • Waterfall viewing at their peak run-off
    • Bird watching as migrations pass through
  • Average Temperature: 30°F-60°F
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Fall

Fall colors in the Porcupine Mountains are a sight to behold – as if the trees themselves have caught fire with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.

  • Weather Conditions: Cooler, crisp air
  • Recommended Activities:
    • Hiking for prime fall colors viewing
    • Photography of the breathtaking foliage
  • Seasonal Events: Check out local harvest festivals!
  • Average Temperature: 40°F-60°F

Must-See Attractions

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Lake of the Clouds

This stunning lake is one of the park’s most iconic sights. Nestled in a valley surrounded by dense forests, it offers breathtaking views, especially from the Lake of the Clouds Scenic Overlook.

Summit Peak

Summit Peak is the highest point in the park, standing at 1,958 feet. The Summit Peak Scenic Area includes an observation tower that offers unparalleled views of the surrounding wilderness.

Presque Isle River

This area features several beautiful waterfalls, including Manabezho, Manido, and Nawadaha Falls. The Presque Isle River Scenic Area is located in the park’s northwest corner.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Familiarize yourself with the park’s trails, attractions, and amenities. Decide which areas you want to explore based on your interests and fitness level.

Pack Appropriately

Dress Appropriately

Dress in layers to accommodate temperature changes. Bring rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, and extra socks.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Observe animals from a distance and do not feed them. Bears and other wildlife can be dangerous if approached.

Stay Informed

Stay on Marked Trails

Stick to marked trails to avoid getting lost and to protect the natural environment. Inform someone of your hiking plans and expected return time.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

The park is beautiful year-round, but the best times to visit are during the summer (June to August) for hiking and outdoor activities and in the fall (late September to early October) to see the stunning fall foliage. Winter is also popular for skiing and snowshoeing.

Popular hiking trails include the Escarpment Trail, Lake Superior Trail, Government Peak Trail, and the trail to Summit Peak. Each offers unique views and varying levels of difficulty.

Yes, the park offers various camping options, including modern campgrounds like Union Bay, rustic campgrounds, and backcountry camping. Backcountry campers must obtain a permit.

Visitors might see black bears, white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes, porcupines, and various bird species. Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife.

The park is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It can be accessed by car via M-107 and South Boundary Road. The nearest towns are Ontonagon and Silver City.

Yes, there is a fee to enter the park. A Michigan Recreation Passport, which can be purchased annually or as a daily pass, is required for vehicle entry.

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