Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — Lower Hurricane River Campground

Wondering where to stay at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore?

Just as important as determining which trails to hike, deciding where to stay will impact how you plan your trip at Pictured Rocks. Unlike a lot of other parks, Pictured Rocks is big and the park extends for 42 miles up the coast, and several miles inland (6 miles inland at it’s widest point.) This means that driving from one side to the other can take precious time out of your trip. Deciding how you want to spend your time can help you determine where you want your home base to be.

There are options for lodging (cabin and hotel rentals) for the outdoor curious, but for our trip, we decided to camp. Pictured Rocks has three campgrounds and a total of 65 campsites, all of which require reservations. Like trips in the past, I relied on the park’s website and photos to determine which site was right. If the park’s sites are full, don’t fret! You can find other camping options at nearby campgrounds run by private individuals.

We stayed at the northernmost campground, Hurricane River. This campground is broken into an upper and lower campground. Our site was site #10 of the lower campground.

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — Au Sable Light Station Trail, Shipwrecks, History, a Lighthouse, and views of Lake Superior

Some hikes I have a hard time finding enough photos to use in a post. This time I had the opposite problem. This short hike really packs a punch in terms of scenery.

The hike I’m talking about, the Au Sable Light Station hike, is found in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This hike is the section of the North Country Scenic Trail between the light station and Hurricane River campground.

We were lucky enough to be camping at the Hurricane River Campground so this hike was easily accessible. If you aren’t staying at the campground, there are parking lots just outside the camping area. You have to walk through the campground to access the trail.

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Log Slide Overlook, Grand Sable Dunes

I’ve experienced a lot of “wow” moments while hiking. Usually these come after a long, hard climb to the top of a hill, bluff, or mountain. Rarely are these moments gifted to you after a short walk from your car. In this case, it is. I am so excited to write this post, mostly so I can relive the experience. Welcome to one of my all-time favorite views, Log Slide of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Before this recent trip to the Pictured Rocks I had been to the area once before. While I hold a variety of memories from the initial trip, none of them stand out in my mind the way my visit to Log Slide does. When considering to make the trip a second time, remembering Log Slide was a big part of the reason for returning. I simply wanted to see it again. I wanted to see if I remembered it’s grandeur correctly. Boy, did I ever.

How to get there: The Log Slide Overlook is 43 miles from Munising. Everything is a drive when visiting the Pictured Rocks and coming from Munising, Log Slide is on the other side of the park. It’s worth the drive. The overlook area has a large parking lot and bathrooms.

After parking, walk the short trail to the overlook site. This trail brings you by old logging equipment and historical signs. The trail is dirt and sand, before changing over to all sand.

Let’s talk a little history before we get to the dune. Log Slide is aptly named for being the location of a log slide that lumberjacks would use to get lumber from the forests above down to the shore. While it’s gone today, there used to be a wooden chute down the length of log slide to help guide the logs. Legend has it that logs going down the dry chute would roll fast enough and cause enough friction that the chute would occasionally catch fire. Logs would end up in the lake where they were gathered and brought to the mill.

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Hiking Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Chapel Falls, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, A Unique Waterfall

This summer I took a trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This is an area rich with scenery, including numerous waterfalls. In another post, I covered Mosquito Falls, a waterfall accessible by foot in the Chapel Basin area. This is part two of that adventure. Chapel Falls, the other and larger waterfall in the area, starts from the same parking area.

To access both waterfalls, park in the Chapel Basin parking lot. The road to the parking lot is dirt and can be pretty rough in sections. I originally saw this information on the park’s website and I can now personally attest, this parking lot fills up fast so getting there early is recommended. Numerous hikes, including one of the more popular 10-mile hikes, begins from this parking lot. Remember that dogs are not allowed anywhere in the Chapel Basin.

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Wisconsin’s Merrick State Park — The Backwaters of the Mississippi and Surrounding Bluffs

Near the end of the camping season, I had the chance to explore a park that was brand new to me. Located on the backwaters of the Mississippi River just north of Wynona, Minnesota, this park always fell off my radar because of it’s proximity to one of my all time favorite Wisconsin parks, Perrot. Like Perrot, this park is full of natural bluffs and adventurers exploring the mighty river.

Links to Follow Along:
Park Main Page
Park Map

With only two miles of trail, it’s not a destination park for hiking but does offer numerous scenic points to view the bluffs. If you love the water, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, etc., then this park is for you. I’ll cover this later in my campground review post, but this park has numerous sites directly on the water. That makes it very unique.

More on that later. Let’s hike!

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Wisconsin’s Potawatomi State Park, Door County, Hiking Along the Shoreline

Door County is one of Wisconsin’s better known tourist destinations, famous for it’s coastal towns, cherries, apples, and fish boils. If you’re looking for an activity a little more in touch with nature while visiting Door County, you don’t need to look far. With 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan and Green Bay, a scenic park is never too far away. Among the numerous city and county parks, Door County is home to five state parks, making it the county with the most state parks in Wisconsin.

One of these parks is 1,200 acre Potawatomi State Park. Located on the southern end of Door County, this park sits on Sturgeon Bay (the water) and is near Sturgeon Bay (the city.) If you’re planning to camp at the park, check out my review of the campground and our campsite here.

In addition to camping, the park is popular for water sports and hiking. The park rents canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats, with a boat launch for easy access to the bay. The park does not have a swimming beach because of its rocky shoreline.

The park is also popular with hikers, both those planning to hike within the park and those planning to hike through the park. The park itself has nearly seven miles of trails but also contains the Ice Age Trail’s eastern trailhead with a 2.8 mile segment of the 1000 mile trail within the park boundaries. This segment is a good place to test out the trail and perhaps, someday, will be where you begin or end your 1000 mile journey.

Not feeling up to 1000 miles, we opted to try out some of the trails belonging to the park. While the Ice Age Trail has me thinking about my next great adventure, I’ll focus on Potawatomi’s trails for now.

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