Michigan’s Hidden Mountain Range

Michigan’s Hidden Mountain Range

The Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula are every back-country camper’s dream. 60,000 acres cover untouched Michigan forest, full of sugar maple, yellow birch, and eastern hemlock trees. Fantastic waterfalls and hidden natural springs flow into Lake Superior at the northern crest of the park. Many other lakes are within the forest and easiest to see from high viewpoints throughout the park. The Lake in the Clouds is the most popular among these hidden lakes.

Michigan’s Hidden Mountain Range - The Awesome Mitten
Lake of the Clouds. Photo by Becky Harris.

In 1945 the Porcupine Mountains were declared a state park to protect the large amount of elderly trees that call this park home. They have become a popular destination for camping, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and hiking for people in and outside of Michigan.

This area is known for being the largest State Park in Michigan. It is home to an abundance of wildlife and activities, making the Porcupines perfect for the curious adventurer.

Read on for 4 awesome activities to do while visiting Michigan’s hidden mountain range:

Backpack through the Mountains

Park facilities provide trails with 87 miles of hiking through the park. There are also designated camping spots with fire-pits. Trail-side cabins are also available for those who don’t want to camp in tents. For a full map of the park, visit the DNR’s website. This map displays camping areas, cabins, parking, and more. Be sure to camp at one of the designated camping areas, as making fires outside a pit can be dangerous to you and the park. Also, be sure to read up on proper procedures for hanging your food to avoid unwanted black bear encounters.

Bike the Trails

Along with hiking trails, there is a well-established set of mountain biking trails throughout the park. Before taking on the trails, be sure to review this map of designated mountain biking areas so you don’t get off track.

Go Fishing

You need a fishing license to fish in the Park, but you can purchase one at the Visitor Center. These lakes are teeming with perch, walleye, small mouth bass, and northern pike. The rivers and streams are also full of fun surprises. Charter fishing options are available on Lake Superior.

Lake Superior
Lake Superior at sunset. Photo by Becky Harris.

Ski Down the Mountains

The state park hosts 15 different downhill ski options for visitors to choose from. There are also dozens of options for cross country skiing adventures. If you do not want to haul your skis up to the park, rentals are available.

Bonus: What to do after your hike

The Porcupine Mountains State Park is 15 miles west of Ontonagon, Michigan. The location is fairly secluded, but there are a few small towns nearby. Travelers can find some delicious home-cooked pasties or enjoy more natural scenery unique to Michigan’s upper peninsula. If you drive 2.5 hours almost directly east you will be in Marquette, where you can go cliff jumping off of the Black Rocks into Lake Superior. If you drive 2.5 hours southeast, you’ll be in Iron Mountain, the only town in Michigan to offer an authentic white water rafting experience.

Michigan’s Hidden Mountain Range - The Awesome Mitten
White water rafting the Menominee River. Photo by Becky Harris

There’s so much to do in Michigan’s largest State Park. Which part do you like to explore? What is your favorite thing to do in the Porcupine Mountains?