Michigan's Upper Peninsula

A Natural and Historical Playground
  |  Gorp.com

One of the last pristine areas in the Midwest, Michigan's UpperPeninsula (UP) is lined with sandy white beaches, dotted throughout with 199 gushing waterfalls, and is full of history from the tip of Copper Country to the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie.

Recently our family decided to investigate. Here's a sample of some of the scenic wonders we found.

Porcupine Mountains

Wedged between Lake Superior to the north and Ottawa National Forest to the south, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers over 100 miles of the most scenic hiking trails in the UP. This is particularly so in early October, when the leaves turn their spectacular fall shades of red, yellow and orange. Towering stands of sugar maple, yellow birch and hemlock lend an almost primeval feel to the virgin forest. This carefully preserved region has never been logged; with luck, it never will be.

Trails skirt the shore of Lake Superior and Inland lakes, which are also ideal for fishing. Kids will enjoy the park's nature programs, too, which include an evening star-gazing class with a park ranger.

There are several campgrounds within the park, and trailside camping is permitted, also. Families with small children may find it fun (and easier) to book one of the park's 16 rustic cabins, which come furnished with tables, chairs, bunks and cookware. Most of the cabins sleep four, but higher-occupancy cabins are also available. Be sure to book well in advance, as they fill up quickly.

Winter visitors, be sure to check out GORP Family's Winter Adventure in the Porkies for information on skiing and snowshoeing in the Porcupine Mountains.

Porcupine Mountains State Park Visitor Center is located near the junction ofSouth Boundary Road and Highway M-107. You can contact them at: Porcupine Mountains State Park, 412 S. Boundary Road, Ontonagon, MI49953, or give them a call: 906-885-5275. Maps of the area are available at park headquarters.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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