Hiawatha National Forest Camping Overview

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Hiawatha National Forest Camping Travel Tips

  • The campground at Hay Meadow Creek, about ten miles northeast of Rapid River on County Road 509, is one of the forest's smaller and less-developed campgrounds. The 15 sites sit next to Hay Meadow Creek, a good trout stream with a mile-long loop trail leading to the small, serene Haymeadow Falls.
  • The 41 tent and camper sites at Pete's Lake campground, 12 miles south of Munising, are situated on the 190-acre eponymous lake and are nice enough. For woodsy seclusion, set up at one of the two walk-in sites situated a mile up the Bruno's Run Trail.
  • At 830 acres, AuTrain Lake is the largest in the forest, popular with recreational boaters, fisherman, and beach bums. Take advantage of all this at the developed campground on the south end of the lake (off AuTrain Forest Lake Road). Ask your campground host for one of the cool birding kits.
  • Head to the single, undeveloped campsite at Crooked Lake if you'd like to pass a few days on a quiet lake without running into anyone else. Follow Clear Lake Road off of Highway 94, about 25 miles north of Manistique. You won't find toilets or drinking water, though there is a boat launch.
  • To camp on the shore of Lake Superior, head 27 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie along Lake Shore Drive in the forest's less-visited eastern unit. Bay View campground looks onto Gitche Gumme from beneath a melting pot canopy of pine, oak, maple, and birch.
  • Find 44 sites at the developed Carp River campground on the wild and scenic Carp River in the forest's eastern unit. Head eight miles north of St. Ignace on the Mackinac Trail. Trout are known to troll the waters near the campground, and hikers can access the North Country National Scenic Trail six miles west off Forest Road 3104.
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Most of the campgrounds on the Hiawatha National Forest are located on a scenic lake in a northwoods setting. Developed campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with a fee required at most areas. Generous spacing of campsites and maintenance of natural vegetation ensure a rustic experience. Primitive, dispersed camping is available throughout the Hiawatha National Forest at undeveloped areas and requires a permit that is free of charge. Permits are available at District Ranger offices. Another way of thinking about the "pack out what you pack in" philosophy practiced here is "leave only your footprints and take only photographs."


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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