Hannahville Learn and Serve

Porcupine Mts State Park



Search this site powered by FreeFind

Viewing of some maps requires Adobe Acrobat. Download a free copy of it here.
If you can contribute to the knowledge of these trails please contact Rod at rlovell@hicys.org

Hannahville Learn and Serve Home Page
Michigan Trails
Hannahville Learn and Serve Project History
Trail maps of Michigan
Trail conditions of Michigan
See the work on Hannahville Learn and Serve volunteers!
About the Hannahville Learn and Serve Program
Contact the Hannahville Learn and Serve Program
Recreation Links Navigation
Farmers Markets
Golf Courses CNCS Corporation for National & Community Service
Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mts State Park

Hiking Porcupine Mts State Park Cross country skiing Porcupine Mts State Park Canoe or Kayak at the Porcupine Mts State Park


From Silver City, drive west on M-107 about 3.5 miles to the Visitor Center.

Porcupine Mountains

Park Description:

  • Restrooms - Accessible toilets available seasonally at Lake of the Clouds, Summit Peak, and Presque Isle Scenic Areas.
  • Trails - Approximately 90 miles of hiking trails, 2 interpretive trails, 42 km of groomed cross-country ski trails.
  • Picnic - Picnic areas in Union Bay along Lake Superior, at the Presque
  • Camping - Modern camping at the Union Bay Campground on the east end of the park, with 99 camp sites. Rustic camping available at the Presque Isle Unit, with 55 sites. For reservations call 1-800-44-PARKS. Backpack camping also available in the park, registration and a camping permit is required.
  • Visitor Center - Wilderness Visitor Center located at the east end of the park, 1/4 mile south of the junction of M-107 and South Boundary Road. Visitor Center is open mid-May through mid-October, 10 AM to 6 PM Eastern time, daily.
  • Cross-country Skiing - Available at the park's winter sports area, 42km, tracked and groomed trails, portions for both skating and classic skiing. Two warming huts located along trails. A trail pass is required and can be purchased at the downhill ski area.
  • Boat Ramp - At the Union Bay Campground.
  • Restaurant - Available in nearby Silver City, White Pine, and Ontonagon.
  • Lodging - Available in nearby Silver City, White Pine, and Ontonagon.
  • Drinking Water - Available year-round at the park headquarters, 1/4 mile south of the junction of M-107 and South Boundary Road. Available seasonally at the Presque Isle Campground and Union Bay Campground.
  • Fishing - Warm water fishing in Lake of the Clouds (special regulations apply, see Michigan Fishing Guide); cold water fishing in Mirror Lake, Little Carp River, Big Carp River, Union River, and Presque Isle River (special regulations may apply, see Michigan Fishing Guide).
  • Hunting - Most of the park is open to hunting during the regular fall hunting seasons. Check with park office for areas closed to hunting. See Michigan Hunting Guide for seasons and regulations.
  • Entry Fee - Michigan State Park Motor Vehicle Permit required for entry.
Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located at the western edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the south shore of Lake Superior. It encompasses nearly 94 square miles of Ontonagon and Gogebic counties' most rugged terrain. At the core of the park is a 48,808-acre dedicated Wilderness Area. One of the park's most striking geologic features is an extended basalt escarpment overlooking Lake of the Clouds and the Big Carp River valley. Topographic relief in the Porcupine Mountains varies from 601 feet at the surface of Lake Superior to almost 1958 feet at Summit Peak, the highest point in the range. This area has short, cool summers, no dry season, and long winters. Precipitation averages 32 to 36 inches annually and is quite evenly distributed throughout the year. The area is noted for its snowfall, averaging over 15 feet annually. Lake effect snow is common and accounts for a significant portion of this accumulation.

The mountains were named by native Ojibwa people for their distinctive "porcupine" profile when viewed from the east. The Ojibwa occupied seasonal villages within the mountains. Burial sites are recorded for locations within park boundaries. Limited copper mining and logging occurred within the mountains beginning in 1845 and continued for about a century until the area was purchased by the State of Michigan. Numerous historical sites associated with these activities are found within the park.

The state park was established in 1945 to protect the last extensive tract of uncut hardwood forest remaining in the Midwest. In the words of the Michigan Conservation Commission, "The primary objective of the proposal [to set aside the Porcupine Mountains] was not only to make available for public use the highest range of hills between the Alleghenies and the Black Hills, but to preserve forever, as a forest museum, the last large stand of mixed hardwoods and of hemlock still existing in Michigan."

"The Porkies" is Michigan's largest state park, and it is one of the Midwest's largest wilderness areas. Noted for its hiking trails, scenic vistas, wildlife, and striking geological formations, the outstanding feature of the park remains the majestic old-growth forests it was dedicated to preserve. Almost 35,000 acres of ancient forest sits more or less in the center of the park. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory considers this forested tract to be the "biggest and best tract of virgin northern hardwoods in North America."

The principal forest type throughout the park is a closed-canopy northern forest dominated by sugar maple and eastern hemlock, with lesser amounts of yellow birch, red maple, basswood, green ash, and northern red oak. Bearberry, blueberry, juniper, and dwarfed pine occur along cliffs and rock outcrops in several areas of the park. Forests of white cedar, tamarack, and black ash occupy the flood plains of the Big and Little Carp rivers.

Porcupine Mountains

Wildlife Viewing:

The park offers a wide diversity of habitats in which to view wildlife, including mature hemlock and hardwood forests, open cliff tops, Lake Superior shoreline, successional forests of aspen and birch, and a variety of wetland types. Park naturalists believe that the excellent birding and wildlife viewing in the Porkies is a bit under-rated.

Some of the better viewing opportunitues occur for the following species: Birds (in season) - bald eagle, merlin, barred owl, common raven, pileated woodpecker, black-throated green warbler, northern parula, blackburnian warbler, black-throated blue warbler, Swainson's thrush, veery, hermit thrush, broad-winged hawk, whip-poor-will, common nighthawk, northern saw-whet owl, common merganser, wood duck, great blue heron, and American bittern.

Mammals - black bear, fisher, red squirrel, varying hare, red fox, gray wolf, coyote, bobcat, porcupine, striped skunk, and on occasion, moose. In the early 1990s, black bears were a significant problem for park staff and visitors. In recent years, good progress has been made in keeping the black bear population wild. A combination of educational efforts, bear-proof trash receptacles at trailheads, placement of "bear-poles" at backcountry campsites, and other techniques have been successful. Bears are still active and seen regularly in the park. Visitors will need to continue to follow regulations and guidelines regarding handling of food and trash. But there are now fewer nuisance bear problems and more truly wild bears. The advice of DO NOT FEED THE BEARS still applies, of course!

Other wildlife - The size, quality, and diversity of the park's forests makes them excellent places to see a wide variety of the smaller forms of wildlife, including yellow spotted salamanders, wood frogs, wood turtles, northern ring-necked snakes, red-bellied snakes, and a diversity of unusual insects like horn-tails, giant ichnueman wasps, dragonflies, stoneflies, and beetles.

Flora - the park is an excellent spot to see and study upper Michigan's native flora. The spring ephemeral wildflower display in May is breathtaking. As summer progresses, a wide variety of woodland wildflowers can be seen, including coral-root orchids, rattlesnake plantain orchids, and a host of other flowering plants. Many species of ferns, clubmosses, lichens, and mosses (including some rare species) are also abundant.

The park is so vast and the opportunities so diverse that your first stop should be the Visitors Center to pick up maps, brochures, and other information that will let you get the most out of your visit here.

Portions of this area open to public hunting. Check with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and regulations.

View/Download map for the Porcupine Mountains State Park

Information courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources

Return to Ontonagon County, Michigan Trails




Web Design by The Internet Presence, LLC
Hannahville, MI Web Design