Day 172: Teddy Lake Yurt

Photo courtesy of Jesse Land

The Teddy Lake Yurt is buried deep within Craig Lake State Park, the park billed as “Michigan’s most remote state park.” If you seek solitude, a quiet spot for a family retreat, or a romantic weekend away, the Teddy Lake Yurt would be a good bet.

Photo courtesy of Jesse Land
Now, lets talk about the road into Craig Lake State Park.  I’ll give you the standard warning here, I grew up driving on country roads, many of which were dirt and gravel, so my definition of a “good road” may very well differ from yours.  All the guidebooks I’ve read warn to navigate this road only with “high ground clearance vehicles.” There’s even a sign at the beginning of the road that issues the same caution.  Well, I’m here to tell you I think the road is just fine. If you don’t have a high ground clearance vehicle there are a handful of rocks you’ll want to steer around and a few bumpy stretches where you’ll need to slow down. But overall, it appears that the road has been much improved! It is a little bumpy in spots, so just drive slowly and carefully. And if you don’t have four wheel drive, I’d stick to the summer season only.  And as far as markings go, the actual turnoff Nelligan Road from US41 could be a little more blatantly marked, but after that you’ve got a road sign at every major split in the road directing you toward your destination.Now, about that yurt.

The Teddy Lake Yurt is about 7 miles in from US41. After reserving the Yurt through the DNR website, you’ll stop at Van Riper State Park to get the key to the yurt. And after that, you’re about a half hour drive from total solitude.  You can drive almost all the way to the Teddy Lake Yurt. A gate stops you about 200 yards away and you’ll need to haul your gear in from there. It’s a short and pleasant walk from the parking area to the yurt. Some people bring wheeled carts to haul in their gear, but we just carried it in and brought all of the same stuff we typically bring when “car camping.” Had we stayed at the small cabin or large cabin on Craig Lake, we would have packed lighter.

The Yurt is the only structure on Teddy Lake. And though camping is allowed anywhere in Craig Lake State Park, there are no campsites on Teddy Lake that I could spot. Which means it’s highly likely that you’ll have the entire lake to yourself.  As far as furnishings go, the Yurt has two sets of bunk beds, a woodstove, and a dining table. It also has a well stocked “chuckwagon” on the deck that contains a Coleman two burner propane stove (bring your own propane), cookware, a coffee maker, and other odds and ends previous visitors have left behind.

The widows of the yurt are screens sheathed by clear plastic from the outside. The weather was pretty cool when we were there, but in the summer you could roll up all the plastic window coverings and pop open the dome on top for excellent ventilation. In the winter, you could button everything up and stay toasty warm by lighting a fire in the woodstove. (If you go in winter you’ll have to hike or snowmobile in.)

Photo courtesy of Jesse Land - Dad and Jesse
My Dad and I didn’t spend much time on Teddy Lake because the weather ended up getting kind of cold and crappy, but we did get out in the nice rowboat (provided) for a short ride before the wind kicked up. Teddy Lake isn’t as scenic as Craig Lake or Lake Keewaydin in my opinion, but it’s very nice nonetheless. You’ll find mostly pan fish in this lake according to the Michigan DNR, and according to the log book in the yurt the fishing isn’t always terrific. But hey, you’ve got a whole lake to yourself!“What are you doing this weekend?” your friends will ask.
“Staying in a cool yurt on a private lake,” you’ll say as they turn envious.

To view more photos of the Teddy Lake Yurt (many more), click here to visit my Facebook page and browse to the “Teddy Lake Yurt” album. (You’ll need to the “like” the page if you haven’t already)

Bottom Line: The Teddy Lake Yurt in Craig Lake State Park is a terrific place for a quiet getaway.

Other things to note: Make your reservations very, very early for choice summer weekends. There is no electricity at the yurt, so bring a lantern and flashlights.
How to get there: About 6.5 miles west of Van Riper State Park, make a right onto Negallin Road and follow the signs from there.
~Jesse Land, Resident Yooper

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