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Wilderness State Park

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General Information

Contact Station at Wilderness State Park.
Copyright: - Michigan State Parks & Forests
Contact Station at Wilderness State Park.
Description - Wilderness State Park offers visitors a variety of year-round recreational activities within its over 10,000 acres. Wilderness areas and 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline provide great places to observe nature from the nurmerous trails throughout the park. The park's 250 modern campsites are divided into two units, the Lakeshore and the Pines. Six rustic cabins and three rustic bunkhouses are additional options for accommodations withint the park.

The terrain is a mixture of dense coniferous forest to mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open, wet, meadows mixed in. There are an abundance of small ponds mixed in with coniferous wetlands. It is easy to get lost and everyone going into the forest is advised to carry a map and compass.

Attractions - Attractions at Wilderness State Park range from 250 developed campsites to a dense conifer forest with sprawling meadows and lowlands to restful lakeside picnicking.

Approximately 16 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of cross-country skiing trails carry the trailblazers through remote forest land providing a wilderness experience. Open pockets of wetlands along with a sprinkling of small ponds are perfect habitat for black bear, bobcat, coyote, mink, muskrat, otter, snowshoe hare, white-tailed deer, beaver, ruffed grouse, duck, goose, and squirrel.

Wilderness State Park is open to hunting for all species following regular State Regulations between September 15 and March 31, with the following exceptions: There is no summer hunting in parks or recreation areas; hunters are welcome for early goose season after Labor Day; and turkey hunting is allowed with a permit during the appropriate season. The park is approximately 8,000 acres in size. With the exception of "Safety Zones," this area is all open to hunting. Hunters should be aware of the posted safety zone around the developed area of the park, as well as the implied safety zones around rustic cabins.

Both hunters and hikers are advised to carry a map and compass and wear blaze orange clothing.

The park offers two campgrounds for a total of 250 campsites. Campground features include modern bathhouses, electric and sanitation stations. The campgrounds are open April 1 to December 1. The modern bathhouses are closed the first and last months of the camping season.

Winter camping is available. Camping in the wilderness is also permissible. There are six rustic cabins and three rustic bunkhouses available for rent. Each rustic cabin has 4 to 8 bunks and each rustic bunkhouse has 24 bunks.

Boating and fishing are popular recreations in Lake Michigan. The park has a boat launch on Big Stone Bay providing access to the lake.

Picnic areas offer beautiful shoreline vistas and access to hiking trails. Picnic tables and grills are available.

Recreation - Wilderness State Park has approximately 8,000 acres available for outdoor recreation. Year-round camping, cabin lodging, hiking, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, picnicking, and hunting are pursued.

Wilderness- Modern - (800) 447-2757, 250 site(s), $27/$16
Wilderness- Rustic Cabin - (231) 436-5381, 9 site(s), $60/$80
Wilderness- Group Use Area - (231) 436-5381, site(s), Contact the park

Wilderness-Big Stone - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-East Boundary - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-East Ridge - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Hemlock - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Nebo - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-North Country - 5.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Point Road - 3.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Pondside - 0.25 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Red Pine - 1.25 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-South Boundary - 1.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Sturgeon Bay - 2.25 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Swamp Line - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Climate - The Straits normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 18 degrees F (-10 to -8 degrees C). Yearly rain and snowmelt in the region averages 28 - 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect," thus depositing significant amounts of snow within a short period of time causing hazardous road conditions.

Location - Wilderness State Park is located in the Straits Travel Region 11 miles west of Mackinaw City.

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: S (Grand Rapids, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Stayed there in middle of July 2005 in one of their bunkhouses. I had stayed there for one night previously during a Girl Scout expedition. However, we were so busy that we didn't get a chance to fully enjoy the park at that time. That's why we went for a week in July of 2005 with my extended family. The bunkhouses have 12 bunkbeds for a total of 24 beds. It literally is just a cabin on a cement slab with bunkbeds and some tables. However, it worked out great for us. It comes with a grill big enough to cook food for 24 people. The fire pit is also nice and big so that a bunch of people can huddle around the fire. The bunkhouses are not on the beach side of the camp but it was not too far a walk. They are also far enough away from the other campsites that you feel secluded and get animals close by. There are outhouses on site but we personally chose to use the public restrooms that were only a minute away by foot. We also had some bats in the cabin. They didn't bother me until our last night there but the kids on the top bunks weren't enjoying it. The ranger did offer to move us to another bunkhouse but we chose not to. The floors are cement so be careful of kids (including big kids) falling from the top bunk. We pushed a bunch of the beds together so we had little chance of falling. The beach was shallow which was great because we didn't have to worry too much about the kids. We all enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to going back!

Filed By: Dennis
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Camping in the park is crowded during the peak season, go for a campsite reservation. Depending on where you hike or travel in the park you may see a few people or none. I have stayed in both the campgrounds and the cabins. In the cabins (depending on the one you chose) you may not see anyone for 3 days at a time, campgrounds are usually "active". If you are looking for things to do you can find plenty of hiking and walking along the shore. This is also a good jumping off point for day trips in the Northern Lower and a good part of the Upper Penninsula. Wilderness Park Grocery is just past the park about a mile and has the best donuts you will find, get there around 8 a.m. when they are making them. If you venture off the path make sure that you are prepared, compass and bug dope. Tons of history throughout the Straits area, enjoy the trip.

More Information

Contact Information:
Wilderness State Park, 898 Wilderness Park Drive , Carp Lake, MI, 49718, Phone: 231-436-5381, TTY: 517-335-4623

Additional Information:
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.
Straits - The Straits Travel Region serves as the gateway to the sequestered Upper Peninsula and to Canada while boasting its own natural wonders.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.

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