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.

This campground has pit toilets and drinking water. Because it’s COVID times, we didn’t have to check in for our reservation and drove right to the site.

I couldn’t find any information ahead of time about purchasing firewood and only found information about what firewood was okay to gather and use. Because of this, we stopped at one of the roadside vendors within the park. This turned out to be the right choice as downed wood was limited for gathering and no wood was for purchase in the campground.

The site itself was covered with sandy gravel and was spacious enough. It had a raised tent pad, which was a nice flat area for setting up the tent.

The site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and lamp pole. Dog pictured not included.

Speaking of animals, bears are common in this area. Bear proof trash cans are located on the campground road. This is true whenever you camp, but especially here, make sure to lock your food in your car when you aren’t using it.

The fire ring had a nice grate for cooking. Even though you can see the neighbor’s camper in this picture, the site still felt private enough. There was a good amount of foliage between sites.

While the campsite itself was pretty standard, this is the part that made the campground pretty neat. Just across the road on the other side of the trees is a nice sandy beach and Lake Superior.

This path across the road from our campsite went right to the beach.


With the sun setting in the background, it was the perfect time to pose for a photo. (Or like 100 photos in my case.)

We sat on the beach enjoying a beer while waiting for the sun to set.

Not understanding why we were just sitting there, someone started digging holes to entertain herself.

Amazing. It’s hard to beat a sunset over a lake that’s pretty much a sea, only 20 steps from your campsite.

The campground itself was just fine, pretty standard. Having the option to watch this sunset every night made it much more special. If I return to the park in the future to camp, this campground will definitely be one of the top contenders for where to stay.

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