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Michigan > Michigan State Parks and Forests > Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
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Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

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Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
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General Information

Moose feeding at woodland stream
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Moose feeding at woodland stream
Description - Porcupine Mountains 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, the towering pine and hemlock, seem to defy time. The solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting.

Before exploring the park, it is recommended that visitors acquaint themselves with the "Porkies" by stopping at the visitor center located near the junction of South Boundary Road and Highway M-107. An exciting multimedia show, exhibits, maps, brochures and park rangers help you prepare for a fun and safe journey into the backcountry.

Attractions - Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers over 90 miles of foot trails, 16 rustic trailside cabins and 188 campsites. Trails traverse most of the park and lead the hikers to the most spectacular overlooks and vistas. Remember that the "Porkies" are rugged. Steep grades and stream crossings are frequently encountered.

Rustic cabin access varies from one to four miles hiking distance. Most cabins have 4 bunks, but they do range from 2 to 8 bunks. Each cabin contains bunks with mattresses, wood heating stoves, cupboard, table and benches, cooking and eating utensils, saw and axe. Cabin users provide bedding, food, towels, lighting, and personal items. A small cooking stove is recommended, especially during summer months.

Three Adirondack shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be reserved in advance. The only facilities in Adirondack shelters are sleeping platforms, a table, and benches. A modern campground at Union Bay has hot showers, flush toilets, electricity, and a sanitation station. Near the mouth of the Presque Isle River is the Presque Isle Unit Campground, which is situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior. The rustic campground offers immediate access to spectacular waterfalls, cascades and rapids. Take County Road 519 north of Wakefield 16 miles.

Backpackers must register before entering the interior of the park. Trailside camping is permitted, but not within + mile of any cabin or Adirondack shelter, scenic area or road. Some backpack campsites with dry tent pads, a campfire ring and rustic toilets are available.

Boats are furnished at Mirror Lake, Lily Pond, and Lake of the Clouds cabins. Reservations should be made in advance with the park.

The park is also 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.

The park's visitor center not only acquaints you with the park's facilities it offers interpretive programs and guided hikes daily throughout the summer and fall. Backpackers will want to inquire about the park's USGA compliant trail and campsite map.

With the park entertaining over 90 miles of trail, preparedness is the key to enjoying Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The wise visitor explores the park with several necessities in hand: park map(s), compass, water, bug repellent (warmer months), proper attire and sufficient supplies. Maps (no charge) may be picked up at visitor center or mailed to you upon request. Separate maps feature hiking, cross-country skiing, and backpacking areas. Snowmobiling is restricted to the park's two roads, M-170 and South Boundary Road.

Recreation - The "Porkies" provide abundant recreation for outdoor lovers. Folks of all ages and abilities are invited to visit the park which boasts a visitor center, picnicking, boating, fishing, winter sports, hiking, wildlife and wildflower viewing, nature study, camping, cabin lodging, backpacking, and much more.

Climate - The Upper Peninsula normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures near 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Rain and snowmelt in the region can reach up to 200 inches annually. Travelers should be aware that significant amounts of snow could fall within a relatively short period of time resulting in hazardous road conditions.

Location - Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is 15 miles west of Ontonagon in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Sarah (Spring Lake, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I just returned from a 6 day early August backpacking adventure. It was an awesome experience and I'm eager to return to the gorgeous Porkies. The Big Carp River and Escarpment trails are especially beautiful. Shining Cloud falls stands out as the most amazing waterfall, though Trap, Trappers and Explorers are great too. Biting flies swarmed some on Lake Superior, but the bugs were bearable elsewhere. Some areas required repellent. All of the trails are rugged and beautiful. Pack light and be in good physical condition. Elevation climbs can test your endurance. Water sources are available at rivers and lakes. There is no water available at the Lake of the Clouds visitor center. You must climb down the steep hill if you need water. (It's a nice view there too!) The adirondack shelters have been remodeled into cabins. There are footings for an old shelter at the top of Government Peak. The visitor center employee did not know what the structure was. I have done some Internet searching to try to find out what was there and why it was named Government Peak but have found no answers. Even though Gov. Peak is 1850 feet, there is no vista due to the abundance of trees. The best views are on the NE of Big Carp and especially the Escarpment. Happy hiking!

Filed By: B. Burkley (Mt. Pleasant, Mi.)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is a great all around state park. great camping, sightseeing etc. We were there in early July. This park is GREAT for kids. Everyone was very friendly. You must be prepared for 2 things: Be in shape. There is lots of walking and climbing(520 stairs to the top of Summit Peak)to see the sights, and Biting Flys. They were swarming when we were there until a northwest wind blew them out. Then every part of the trip was wonderful.

Filed By: Seth Earl (Reading, , MI)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I just returned from another fantastic trip to the Porcupine Mountains. There was about 3 1/2 feet of snow in the Mirror Lake Valley, it made for awesome snow shoeing. The beauty and solitude of the trip was unmatched, I must really extend a thanks to the staff at the Porkies for letting my group in a couple of weeks earlier, before the park actually opened. It was another great trip I recommend to anyone. In terms of some viewing spots you may like within the park i highly recommend the Escarpment Trail, it offers some incredible views. Any questions please feel free to email me. Seth

Filed By: Seth Earl (Reading, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I just returned from a spring snowshoeing trip in the prokies, it was an awesome trip, during the trip in we hiked the Escarpment the veiw was utterly amazing, the cabins were as nice as ever as we stayed in Mirror Lake 8 bunk, Lily Pond, and Lake of the Clouds. Lots of wildlife was seen, even though there as about 2- 4 feet of snow in most of the places. Day hiked up to Summit Peak, good veiw, my personal favorite spot is Lily Pond, but anywhere in the beautiful park will do.

Filed By: peter (bloomington, IL)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: the porkies are FABULOUS!...coming from IL, its easy to be impressed, but i have hiked all over the midwest and the porkies offers the best hiking?backpacking in the upper midwest...miles of well maintained, well marked trails, great scenery, waterfalls, rivers,and streams, delightfully cool summer weather, and the greatest display of fall colors anywhere! u have to drive 15 miles through a national forest just to get to the porkies! fall is usually in late september and there are astonishingly few visitors there...i cannot reccommend this park enough...as an added bonus, the locals are an absolute delight as well...go! go! go!...anyone who wants any further info, just e-mail me...drkblueyes101@aol.com

More Information

Contact Information:
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, 412 South Boundary Road , Ontonagon, MI, 49953, Phone: 906-885-5275, TTY: 517-335-4623

Additional Information:
Michigan Lakes and Rivers - Michigan is one of the most unique states in the nation boasting not only thousands of acres of interior natural lakes along with miles of waterways but also expansive shorelines that touch four of the five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie.
Michigan State Parks and Forests - Everything that makes Michigan special is embodied in the 96 State Parks. Boasting sterling recreation, Michigan State Parks and Forests invite you to enjoy one of their 14,000 campsites, 170 winter-sport areas and infinite rivers, streams, and lakes.
Upper Peninsula - This region encompasses nearly the entire Upper Peninsula landmass embracing windswept mountain tops, tumbling waterfalls, pristine woodlands, scenic lakeshores, and welcoming communities.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


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