3 Ways to Spend a Day at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Camping in the Porcupine Mountains

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With 60,000 acres of stunning forests, secluded lakes and scenic rivers, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. The size and variety of the park allow you to choose your level of immersion in nature, and your level of difficulty on the 90-plus miles of hiking trails. Learn the various ways to experience the park at your convenience.
 

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 Porcupine Mountains Fall Foliage | Photo Courtesy of Instagram Fan pavan_mr

With 60,000 acres of stunning forests, secluded lakes and scenic rivers, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. The size and variety of the park allow you to choose your level of immersion in nature, and your level of difficulty on the 90-plus miles of hiking trails. Learn the various ways to experience the park at your convenience.

1. If you have part of a day…

The Porcupine Mts-Union Mine Trail is an easy one-mile loop north of the Porcupine Mts-Union Spring Trail, where interpretive signs point to evidence of copper miners who once worked there. On the hunt for waterfalls? Take the east or west river trails, which skirt the Presque Isle River to form a two-mile loop.

2. If you have half a day…

Hiking the Porcupine Mountains
Hiking the Porcupine Mountains | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

For breathtaking views and a little more difficulty, tackle the Porcupine Mts-Escarpment Trail, which rises and falls along a ridgeline for more than four miles before accessing Lake of the Clouds overlook. Only go half as far as you want to hike because you’ll have to turn back the way you came—unless you’re prepared for a much longer hike into the heart of the park.

3. If you have a full day…

Leave from the Summit Peak scenic area on the park’s south boundary and follow a 10-mile loop on the south Mirror Lake, Little Carp River and Porcupine Mts-Lily Pond trail. The route hits many of the park’s highlights, including a wilderness lake, bird-filled marshes, dense forest and the Summit Peak Observation Tower, which soars three stories above the treetops. A day or annual permit is required for this hike.

Just as the sunrise exhilarates you for an adventurous day, the sunset (and the day’s hikes) will leave you satisfied and ready for a good night’s sleep. Visitors can choose from 10 campgrounds in the park, including rustic or backcountry camping and cabins as well as more modern areas with electrical service and restrooms.
 

Camping in the Porcupine Mountains
Camping in the Porcupine Mountains | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

If you’re a lover of fall, make sure to plan your trip in late September or October for a view of fall foliage in the Upper Peninsula