In recent years, the popularity of Michigan yurt camping has risen, as people have enjoyed renting yurts in Michigan to offer at least a short break from modern life.
Though their simple construction has long made them ideal for off-the-grid living, for many people, yurts are a fantastic way to get away from life, warm up with a wood-burning stove, and enjoy nature in its purest form.
About Yurts in Michigan
Yurts are strong, tent-like structures made of insulated canvas on the outside and interior wood latticework. Most Michigan yurt rentals include tables, chairs, a bunkbed, armoires, a woodstove (with a cooktop), and small propane grills (propane not included).
You are generally responsible for providing your own bedding, dishes, and cookware. And due to a lack of plumbing in the yurt, showers and restrooms are usually located nearby.
Several Michigan state parks offer rustic yurt camping opportunities, and private owners often offer a glamping experience in their Michigan yurt rentals.
Experiencing Teddy Lake Yurt in Craig Lake State Park
Jesse Land visited Teddy Lake in 2011. Please visit the state park’s website for the most up-to-date information about Craig Lake State Park yurt rentals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
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 in Craig Lake State Park is a terrific place for a quiet getaway.
About Craig Lake State Park
Craig Lake State Park is Michigan’s most remote state park. The park has backcountry campsites, yurts, and rustic cabins (all of which require reservations), as well as miles of trail, including the North Country Trail, six lakes, and a variety of wildlife.
How to Get to Craig Lake State Park
Now, let’s 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.
After reserving the Michigan 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.
Pro Tip: Make your reservations very, very early for choice summer weekends.
About 6.5 miles west of Van Riper State Park, make a right onto Negallin Road and follow the signs from there. 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. The Teddy Lake Yurt is about 7 miles in from US41.
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.
About the Teddy Lake Yurt
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. This 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 wood stove, 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.
Pro Tip: There is no electricity at the yurt, so bring a lantern and flashlights.
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.)
What to Do on Teddy Lake
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 panfish in this lake according to the Michigan DNR, and according to the logbook 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.
More Michigan Yurt Rentals
If you want to experience yurt camping in Michigan for yourself, these are some of the best yurt rentals Michigan offers.
Tucked into a secluded, wooded area in Lawton, this yurt in Michigan is an exceptional choice for a simple life. You can take a walk through Huzzy Lake’s numerous trails, spend an evening by the fire pit, enjoy a boat ride, and do some fishing during the day. There’s also a public beach and dock area nearby. If you visit during the spring, plan to forage for morels.
The yurt itself sleeps up to eight people and offers a spacious living room and kitchen area along with a wood stove and heated floors making even a cool night enjoyable. There is a moderate amount of outdoor space for a picnic table, but you’ll want to bring along all of the needed utensils for this yurt excursion.
With two full bedrooms and a large living room and kitchen area, this yurt in Baldwin is an excellent choice for up to six people. It has a heated bathhouse with a custom-built shower and all of the amenities you need.
The yurt has a full kitchen space, a stove and oven, a refrigerator, two coffee pots, and a dishwasher for the least rustic experience in a yurt you’ll likely find in Michigan.
Located about 30 minutes from Ludington, it’s easy enough to head off to the beach for a day or two. Nearby, you can canoe or kayak down the Pier Marquette River, which is also excellent for fishing. In the evening, warm up by the fire.
It’s a beautiful yurt that doesn’t feel like you’re off the grid and is well-maintained. Plan to do plenty of hiking along the area’s paths as it’s close to the Pier Marquette River. It’s also a great location for those who want to fish at the river.
The yurt at Craig Lake-Keewaydin Lake is one of the best for those who want a truly rustic experience. It sleeps up to six people in this 20-foot diameter yurt.
With some furnishings and a woodstove for a cooktop, it’s truly a rustic experience. Yet, the vaulted root and stunning rustic feel make this an exceptional place to spend the weekend.
It’s located just a mile west of Michigamme in a forested ravine area that overlooks the Carp River. Guests can take the canoe out onto the water when conditions are safe to do so.
Muskegon State Park is home to the Muskegon yurt, a small yurt that sleeps up to seven people. You will find it at the east end of the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, tucked into a wooded area.
It has stackable cots and two bunk beds made of logs for a rustic appeal. It has a solar lantern for light and a small woodstove for heat. There is firewood onsite to help you stay warm.
Also, during the summer months, or when weather permits, there are running showers and a modern toilet at the Lake Michigan Campground that’s located close by. Still, this yurt does not have electricity or water. It’s close to the Hoffmaster State Park’s Gillette San Dune Visitor Center and the Michigan Adventure park.
It’s easy to spot the Pickney-Glenbrook Yurt since it is in a less forested area than others. It is just a few minutes walk to the Potawatomi Trail, a beautiful walk through the wooded areas where you’ll easily see numerous animal habitats.
The yurt sleeps up to five people and includes a hand pump water well outdoors. There’s also an outhouse outside for you to use. Inside, you’ll find a propane cooking stove along with a small heater. Keep in mind that you will need to bring propane with you to use.
This yurt is a great option for those who plan to head out onto Portage River and Halfmoon Lake, both of which are located within a short walk. There are numerous hiking and biking trails nearby as well.
It is also only about a mile from Hell, Michigan, for those who want to stop in town for meals. Outdoors, you’ll find a picnic table, grill, and a fire circle to use, and boat rentals are a short drive away.
If you want to bring a larger group, consider the Porcupine Mountains Backcountry Wilderness yurts. There are four in total here, with three of them being pet-friendly lodging options (these will open in May of 2023).
You should make a reservation early on as these are some of the best options for those visiting Ontonagon County.
Each of the four yurts features bunk beds, mattresses, table and chairs, and a wood-heating stove. Outdoors, you’ll find an axe, bow saw, and a fire ring to use. There is no water or electricity here, and the only toilet is a raised toilet nearby.
Each one of the yurts has its own designated trailhead ranging from 2.5 miles to just 100 yards. It’s a fantastic place to snowshoe or cross-country ski during the winter months. Though this is available year-round, these yurts can become inaccessible during the winter months.
Note: the Porkies Music Festival takes place each summer nearby, and that can make them more difficult to reserve.
The Tawas Point Yurt is located in Tawas Point State Park, located just off US 23 and about 2.5 miles away from East Tawas. The yurt is located within a more modern campground. One of the nice benefits of choosing to stay here is that it overlooks a beautiful pond that’s noted for its wildlife, including birds, frogs, and turtles.
The yurt itself holds up to six people and is about a 16-foot diameter structure, making it a cozy fit. There are two sets of bunkbeds here, along with a table and chairs. This yurt does have some electricity, which is why you’ll find a small refrigerator, coffee pot, electric heater, and microwave to use.
Though a more modern yurt, there is a beautiful view outside. It also features a deck, fire pit, and picnic table. It’s just a short walk to the restroom and showers at the larger campground.
Many choose this yurt because of its proximity to Tawas Bay, perfect for sailing, fishing, and hiking. You’ll find a good stock of perch, walleye, pike, and smallmouth bass here.
The Waterloo Green Lake Yurt is in the Green Lake Rustic Campground. It’s a smaller yurt but offers enough room for up to five guests.
It features a twin-size loft bed along with two futon beds. The interior also offers a small table and chairs and a camp stove. You’ll need to bring your own propane for this stove (it is not wood-burning). Outdoors, you’ll find a picnic table, some additional seating, and a fire pit.
There is no electricity here, but the interior of the yurt is fitted with solar lighting. There’s also a hand pump for water access and a vault toilet nearby. The good news is this yurt is heated, which means you can rent it throughout the winter months, though access during the winter may be limited due to snowfall.
The recreation area is home to biking, horseback riding, and walking trails, along with a total of 11 inland lakes to explore. It’s a modern and rustic area with more natural habitats and geological formations than others in the area.
Michigan Yurt FAQs
Which Michigan state parks have yurts?
Six Michigan state parks have yurts available for rent: Craig Lake State Park, Muskegon State Park, Pinckney Recreation Area, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Tawas Point State Park, and Waterloo Recreation Area.
Do yurts have bathrooms?
No, yurts are not plumbed for water, and thus do not have bathrooms. Most yurts have a nearby bathroom facility available.
Are yurts warm in winter?
Most yurts are able to be rented year-round, allowing for winter warmth with a woodstove.
Can you leave a yurt up all year?
Yes, yurts are year-round options for camping in Michigan.
Enjoy Yurt Camping in Michigan
When it comes to exploring the natural beauty of Michigan, there are many ways to do so. The yurts in Michigan create an excellent way to get off the grid (in most cases) and explore the wooded regions. Though a popular option that you should book well in advance of your trip, options are available throughout the year for all types of camping experiences.