Porcupine Mountains State Park Trails:
Porcupine Mountains State Park
Porcupine Mountains State Park Overview
The Porcupine Mountains are a series of undulating, irregular ranges covered by spiky trees. Seen from a distance and with a creative eye, the Porkies look like the hunched back of a porcupine, hence the name. Porcupine Mountain State Park is Michigan's largest area of undeveloped wilderness. It covers 92 square miles. Within its folds, you'll find one of the largest virgin hardwood-hemlock forests in the United States as well as racing rivers, waterfalls, and the rugged Lake Superior shoreline. Classic scenes include the exquisite Lake of the Clouds and Mirror Lake. From these lakes flow the Big and Little Carp rivers down deep-cut gorges.
The Wilderness Visitor Center is located along the South Boundary Road, one-quarter mile from the M-107 junction. Here, you can check on trail conditions, register for backpacking, get directions to scenic sites, check wildlife sightings, note the schedule of interpretive activities, and more. Make the Center your first stop.
Pick your Ski
Since it is so close to Lake Superior, snowfall at Porcupine tends to be heavier and air temperature is usually colder than outlying areas. Add to the mix uncrowded slopes and views of Lake Superior, and you've got a renowned destination for both downhill and cross-country skiers. For Alpine skiers, the park offers 16 runs and four lifts of over 11 miles of slope. For those interested in Nordic skiing, the Porkies serve up about 26 miles of groomed trails that wrap around the Alpine area, as well as miles and miles of pristine backcountry. The park rents out a couple of cabins to cross-country skiers. However, be forewarned: The waiting list is over a year. So, if you sign up now, you'll be glad you did in two years. Think of it as a kind of vacation savings account.
Hike the Lake Superior Trail
The Lake Superior Trail threads along the rugged shore of the most northern of the Great Lakes. At 17 miles, it happens to be the longest trail in the park. Rugged and remote, this trail is among the park's most challenging.
Stay in a Rustic Cabin
Want to spend time in the backcountry, but hate camping in tents? The park has 16 cabins that are off the beaten path. Most sleep four, but two six- and eight-person cabins are also available. Each comes equipped with a table and chairs, bunks, and basic cooking and eating utensils. Each cabin requires a one- to four-mile hike (one-way) from the parking area. Cabins located on Mirror Lake, Lily Pond, and Lake of the Clouds have their own boats, oars, and boat cushions.
- Winter Adventure in The Porkies
- Snowshoeing and Skiing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula