What a lovely drive it is from the Pictured Rocks to the Porcupine Mountains! The first part of the trip parallels the Lake Superior shoreline, what a great view! The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the preservation of a mature forest, as much of a true wilderness as can be maintained in this modern age. Very few roads penetrate the interior of the park, making it accessible only by foot. Hiking trails, back country campsites, and hike-in rustic cabins are plentiful throughout the park. We stayed at the Union Bay Campground. This is the only modern campground with electrical hookups. The sites are nice and most are large enough for large RVs. Presque Isle Campground, a more rustic campground without hookups is located on the west end of the park.
The Visitors’ Center has displays that describe the history and the environment of the park. Pamphlets and maps of the hiking trails and backcountry campsites and cabins are available and rangers assist with advice on how to make the best of your wilderness experience.
Summit Point is the highest point in the park and we decided to start our visit at the top, so we hiked to the top of Summit Point and the five-mile Summit Loop hike. The view from the top was well worth the climb. We saw several hikers as we hiked the loop, and saw a number of backcountry campsites. Some of these were in prime spots on the shore of small inland lakes.
The Escarpment Trail is also a trail that offers some great views. We spotted the truck at the end of the trail and Bob rode his bike back to the eastern trailhead. The beginning was a tough climb and once we got to the top of the Escarpment we quickly decided the view was worth the climb. Along the Escarpment Trail you can look down on the Lake of the Clouds and look out over much of the Wilderness Park.
With all of this activity we decided to take a day off just to be lazy, although that included doing laundry and some other chores around the trailer. We spent a lot of time just reading and taking it easy. We had to make sure that we got at least one more Upper Peninsula pastie and went to a little restaurant called Syl’s Cafe and had a couple of the best pasties we had ever eaten. We even got two frozen ones to take with us to enjoy at a later date.
We had not been to the western end of the park and decided to drive to the Presque Isle campground and hike around the three falls on the Presque Isle River. There was a foot bridge to the other side of the river so we crossed, went up river on the East River Trail and then crossed on the road bridge to see the falls from the other side on the West River Trail. It was our easiest hike, but very picturesque.
If you want to see a true Michigan wilderness, then the Porcupine Mountains need to be on your list. You can hike and camp in the back country or enjoy a modern camping experience, but however you decide to enjoy it, I’m sure you will.