Location: Upper Peninsula Map
Porcupine State Park is a wilderness area in the Porcupine mountains, named so by the Ojibwa tribe due to silhouette of the range. On the northern side Porcupine State Park is bordered by lake Superior. Besides it has two small lakes. The first one is Lake of the Clouds and it is clearly visible from the observation point. Another lake is Mirror lake that is accessible by foot. It is less crowded and camping on its shore is pleasant and secluded. Aside natural factors like heavy rains and cold weather hikers and campers should watch out for wild animals. Wolves were reintroduced in the area of Porcupine State Park several years ago, but their numbers are too low to cause worries. Wolves rarely attack humans unless they are hungry, which usually happens in overpopulated regions and in winter. More common are black bears. The easiest way avoid these animals is simply making noise. Groups of people that hike through the woods scare bears with the sound of their voices. In case you want to wander in the forest by yourself you should wear a bell or anything that rattles so that bears could hear you from far away and leave. If you stay overnight keep your food closed to prevent any smells. Empty cans should be burned in a fire to eradicate smells that might attract unwanted visitors. This includes chocolate and sweets that as it turned out in my own experience are acceptable treats.
A state park motor vehicle permit is required for entry. Fees are $6.00 (daily) or $24.00 (yearly) for residents, and $8.00 and $29.00 respectively for non-residents. These can be purchased at the Visitor Center or online at the Michigan DNR site. The Visitor Center is near the junction of South Boundary Road and Highway M-107. The center is open daily 10AM-6PM from mid-May to mid-October. A stop in there is a must before setting off to explore the park. You will find a ranger to answer questions, maps, multi-media exhibits, the daily calendar for park activities, including interpretive programs and other presentations. This is especially important for those intending to hike or backpack, as the rangers can give you information on trail conditions (in spring and early summer a few sections could get almost impassably wet or muddy) or areas that have been having nuisance bears. During the off season, the Park Headquarters remains open M-F 8AM-5PM. It is located near the Visitor's Center.
Abandoned Mine is situated in Porcupine State Park along a main road that leads to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook. In the 19th century when it was dug it was used to mine copper that was commonly found here. Unfortunately for local prospectors and fortunately for us it quickly dried out. Humans didn't have the time to destroy pristine forests in the area. The cave is well marked and easily accessible since it situated right on the road. However, as you can tell from the pictures it is sealed off to protect tourists and thrill seekers from endangering themselves. This is not the only sign of presence of copper mining here, but it is much easier to access and find than other sites.
Mirror Lake is a small glacier lake situated in the south area of the state park. It is a nice location for camping out over night. It is rarely visited by the tourists and so it is especially quiet. Few canoes and boats on the shores are loosely tied so I guess it wouldn't be such crime to take them for a ride. Make sure you return it to the same location where you have found it. Have some respect for their owners. Additionally Porcupine State Forest offers 16 rustic cabins in the forest from April till November. Most cabins are made for 4 people, but two cabins are made for 6 and 8 people. It doesn't offer many amenities other than roof, walls and a stove, but if you want to live the way people lived here in the 18th and 19th century this would be perfect location. Some cabins are located in the deep woods, while others stand right on the shores of Lake Superior. You can check the map of the rustic cabins below.
To Reserve a Cabin in Porcupine State Park
Contact Park Headquarters weekdays between 8 AM and 4:30 PM Eastern at (906) 885-5275. Do this early, some cabins are reserved up to a year ahead.
PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS STATE PARK
33303 HEADQUARTERS ROAD
ONTONAGON MI 49953
PHONE: (906) 885-5275
FAX: (906) 885-5798
TDD: (906) 885-5278
A variety of lodging options are available within
the park. These include a lodge (Kaug Wudjoo), 3 yurts ($60 per
night), backcountry tent sites, 16 rustic cabins ($60 per night),
100 modern campsites at the Union Bay Campground (fee is $16/$25
depending on site), and 4 rustic campsites ($14 per night)
All reservations for campsites are made by callilng a central reservations center (+1-800-447-2757) or by going to the Michigan DNR reservations site (http://www.midnrreservations.com/campgrounds/presults.cfm?park_id=57). There you can check availability of cabins or sites and make reservations and pay online. Potential visitors should call the Park first if they have any queries. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable not only about the park, but about the surrounding area, which includes Silver City, White Pine, and Ontonagon. They are happy to answer visitor questions and concerns. The Park number is +1-906 885-5275.
If you are not a camper, there are many other lodging options within 15 miles of the park. There are beach cottages, cabins, hotels, and motels to meet every taste and budget. A good source of information about the area surrounding The Porkies is the Ontonagon County Chamber of Commerce Website. This contains information about many of the places to stay in Silver City, which is just a few miles east of the Park, and the city of Ontonagon which is only 15 miles east.