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Old 08-22-2010, 09:20 PM   #1
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Best Boondocking Sites in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

My wife and I will be leaving on a trip through Michigan's U.P. In five weeks, with the intent to boondock most if not all of the trip. We are hoping to hike and fly fish whenever possible.

We would love to gather as many thoughts and ideas on the best locations, especially on or near the water.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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If you go to the Lake Superior shore, there is a casino (Kewadin) just west of Munising that you can camp at free. They have electric there for the few avaiable parking areas. You can also camp at the casino just outside of Marquette further west. Of course, if you actually go IN the casino, you will probably pay dearly for your stay.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
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You can camp (no charge) on any National Forest lands. A very cool area is North of Newberry at the mouth of the Two Hearted River. A nice camp ground, great fishing and Lake Superior beach that goes for miles in each direction.....Tim
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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Most of the places I've boondocked in the UP are on private land that I can't get you access to, but here are a few ideas:

In Munising, there is a township park just west of town that has campsites right on Lake Superior - it's not a big time park, but the lake is literally ten or fifteen feet from the campsite. Very pretty.

Porcupine Mt. State Park is perhaps "typical" of Michigan state parks as to campgorounds, and the trailer sites are nothing to write home about for the most part, though one of the campgrounds has nice views out over the lake (I think it's the upper loop at the Union Bay campground ... but there are LOTS of long hiking trails, many short hikes to incredible views (especially in the fall), etc. If you're there and the colors are "on", don't miss the short walk to the view at Lake Of the Clouds.

If you go here: Michigan Park and Trail Map you will bring up the DNR's interactive trail and campground map. Just click on a county and you will get a full listing of all the trails, state parks, and more important for your purposes, all of the State Forest campgrounds, which are rustic and have at best a water soruce and pit toilet. All along the north shore of the UP, these campgrounds tend to be on fishable rivers. And there are a LOT of them.

Consider looking in the Michigan DeLorme Atlas for all of the waterfalls along the Lake Superior shore ... each is on a river that flows into Lake Superior, and each waterfall is a.) accessible via some sort of hiking trail, b.) a natural barrier to fish getting farther upstream, and c.) near some sort of campground. A little prospecting will get you to some nice fishing.

In any of the State Forests, you can engage in "dispersed camping" and camp anywhere that isn't posted to the contrary ... go here for information: DNR - Dispersed Camping There are two major "catches." First, you need a "dispersed camping" permit, which is a little two-part gizmo that the DNR puts out ... if you call them and ask for a dozen or so, they will mail them to you promptly - you can't get them online. Second catch is (if I recall correctly), you have to be 50 feet off of the nearest road, and that sometimes is a challenge, what with ditching, etc. But there are lots of places in the UP that you can do this.

Finally, as you may know, most of the out of the way places in the UP can be quite remote and very sandy, with the roads in various states of disrepair and damage from logging operations. If you don't have four wheel drive on your tow vehicle, I would be pretty cautious about getting too far off the beaten path: I've needed 4wd pretty regularly on some of those things that pass for "State Forest Roads" in the UP, and indeed have found some of them impassible even when not towing and even with 4wd. If you're going off the main roads, for certain take a good high lift jack, a come-along or winch, an axe or saw, and a shovel. There's nothing much worse than getting high centered an hour's walk from the nearest paved road. Don't ask how I know this. And if this were to happen while you were towing, you'd be there a long time.

But in a few weeks, the UP will be gorgeous and the trout still hungry! Sorry to be long-winded, but hope this helps. Enjoy!
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:48 AM   #5
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First, let me say thanks to all of you... I was beginning to think no one had ever been to 'da U.P. Since I hadn't gotten much response.

Kosm1o, thanks for the casino idea. We have done this at Cabela's before but it had never occurred to me that the casinos would offer this too!

Tim, I have looked up the campground at Newberry and it's now on our list. Looks like a fantastic spot!

Airsdream, you are my HERO! Thanks for not being short-winded! And yes, we do have 4WD on our truck, and even a winch for that matter. There is a photo of it in my profile, as we just replaced our 2003 F250 with a 2010 and outfitted it accordingly. My wife and I have a cabin north of Harbor Springs that is only accessible by 4WD and in the winter I have spent many long hours with a come-along and a shovel trying to un-bury the truck!

You and I must have had similar experiences in the past.

Thanks for all of the tips!
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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Hibby,

We just received our Michigan Camp Registration Card (PR4134) that AirsDream mentioned in previous post. We are starting our trip through the UP on the 9/16 and will start at the mouth of the Two Hearted (colors are coming early this year). We are planning to go West along 28 with stops in Grand Maris, Munising, Marquette (lunch w/relatives), Copper Country - Silver Bay Campground & RV N. of Ahmeek on Lake Superior is a great place to watch the sun set. Then into the "Porkies" for a couple of days. We plan to return along the Southern route on US 2 with stops in Sylvania Wilderness, Iron Mountain, Gladstone (relatives), Fayette Historic State Park, Brevort and then home. Much of the time we will be boondocking but we will have our trusty Honda for recharge. We will be spend the first half of Oct. in the Northern Lower Pen. enjoying the color and maybe a bit of Bowhunting. By the way, 1 Michigan Camp Reg. Card is good for 15 days.....Tim
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
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I don't have any suggestions for campsites. . .

but I am jealous of your trip! Sounds great - hope you have a great time.
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:56 AM   #8
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Tim, sounds like this won't be the first time you've made the trip! We are very much looking forward to it... If you have opportunity on the road to throw out a post or two, let us know the good and bad. Good Luck bowhunting!
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Airsdream,

Is the Munising area township park that you were referring to called the "Munising Tourist Park"?

Munising Tourist Park Campground - Munising & Christmas, Michigan Campground
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