What to do in Wilderness State Park

Wilderness State Park offers visitors a variety of year-round recreational activities within its over 10,000 acres. Wilderness areas and 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline provide great places to observe nature from the nurmerous trails throughout the park. The park's 250 modern campsites are divided into two units, the Lakeshore and the Pines. Six rustic cabins and three rustic bunkhouses are additional options for accommodations withint the park.

The terrain is a mixture of dense coniferous forest to mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open, wet, meadows mixed in. There are an abundance of small ponds mixed in with coniferous wetlands. It is easy to get lost and everyone going into the forest is advised to carry a map and compass.

Attractions at Wilderness State Park range from 250 developed campsites to a dense conifer forest with sprawling meadows and lowlands to restful lakeside picnicking.

Approximately 16 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of cross-country skiing trails carry the trailblazers through remote forest land providing a wilderness experience. Open pockets of wetlands along with a sprinkling of small ponds are perfect habitat for black bear, bobcat, coyote, mink, muskrat, otter, snowshoe hare, white-tailed deer, beaver, ruffed grouse, duck, goose, and squirrel.

Wilderness State Park is open to hunting for all species following regular State Regulations between September 15 and March 31, with the following exceptions: There is no summer hunting in parks or recreation areas; hunters are welcome for early goose season after Labor Day; and turkey hunting is allowed with a permit during the appropriate season. The park is approximately 8,000 acres in size. With the exception of "Safety Zones," this area is all open to hunting. Hunters should be aware of the posted safety zone around the developed area of the park, as well as the implied safety zones around rustic cabins.

Both hunters and hikers are advised to carry a map and compass and wear blaze orange clothing.

The park offers two campgrounds for a total of 250 campsites. Campground features include modern bathhouses, electric and sanitation stations. The campgrounds are open April 1 to December 1. The modern bathhouses are closed the first and last months of the camping season.

Winter camping is available. Camping in the wilderness is also permissible. There are six rustic cabins and three rustic bunkhouses available for rent. Each rustic cabin has 4 to 8 bunks and each rustic bunkhouse has 24 bunks.

Boating and fishing are popular recreations in Lake Michigan. The park has a boat launch on Big Stone Bay providing access to the lake.

Picnic areas offer beautiful shoreline vistas and access to hiking trails. Picnic tables and grills are available.

Wilderness State Park has approximately 8,000 acres available for outdoor recreation. Year-round camping, cabin lodging, hiking, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, picnicking, and hunting are pursued.

Wilderness- Modern - (800) 447-2757, 250 site(s), $27/$16
Wilderness- Rustic Cabin - (231) 436-5381, 9 site(s), $60/$80
Wilderness- Group Use Area - (231) 436-5381, site(s), Contact the park

Wilderness-Big Stone - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-East Boundary - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-East Ridge - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Hemlock - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Nebo - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-North Country - 5.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Point Road - 3.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Pondside - 0.25 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Red Pine - 1.25 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-South Boundary - 1.5 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Sturgeon Bay - 2.25 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Wilderness-Swamp Line - 2 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski

Wilderness State Park is located in the Straits Travel Region 11 miles west of Mackinaw City.

The Straits normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 18 degrees F (-10 to -8 degrees C). Yearly rain and snowmelt in the region averages 28 - 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect," thus depositing significant amounts of snow within a short period of time causing hazardous road conditions.

898 Wilderness Park Drive
Carp Lake, MI 49718

Phone: 231-436-5381

  • Wilderness State Park Travel Q&A