What to do in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

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.

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.

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

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.

Address
412 South Boundary Road
Ontonagon, MI 49953

Phone: 906-885-5275

  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Travel Q&A

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