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5 Beautiful Camping Spots in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan

The Porcupine Mountains, or the “Porkies” as we locals affectionately call them, are in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You can find them along the shores of Lake Superior. The region is a haven for those seeking an escape into the tranquility of nature. Today, we’re sharing our favorite camping spots for the ultimate Porcupine Mountains experience.

Let’s dive in!

Hiking in the Porcupine Mountains on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Escarpment Trail + Presque Isle)

Can You Camp Anywhere in the Porcupine Mountains?

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park spans over 60,000 acres. You’ll find old-growth forests, serene lakes, waterfalls, and panoramic vistas. While our Michigan “mountains” aren’t anything like the Appalachians or Rockies, it’s definitely worth it. But while the Porcupine Mountains offer a vast wilderness, there are still some minor limitations on where you can camp.

Porcupine Mountains Camping Rules:

  • Campers can stay in several areas, each with its unique charm and amenities.
  • Management only permits campfires in designated fire rings at these sites.
  • Additionally, they allow off-trail camping, but the maximum group size is up to six people.
  • You can not set up sites within a quarter mile of any cabin, road, or scenic area.

Our 5 Favorite Porcupine Mountains Camping Spots 

If you want to stay in a designated area in the Porcupine Mountains, these are our favorite spots for peaceful camping. Each provides access to beautiful wilderness areas and hiking trails. 

1. Presque Isle Rustic Campground

This campground in the Porcupine Mountains has 50 campsites and sits along the scenic Presque Isle River. There are an additional six walk-in sites along the bank of Lake Superior. Presque Isle Rustic Campground splits into two loops with one loop allowing generator use and the other being generator-free. Hand pumps for water and vault toilets are at this site.

2. Union Bay Modern Campground

If you’re looking for a campground with electrical services, modern restroom facilities, and a sanitation station, Union Bay Modern Campground is the spot for you. The campground has 100 sites along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Campsites range from accommodating tents and small campers to fitting large RVs.

The fall is a beautiful time to visit and camp in the Porcupine Mountains. (View of Lake Superior from lookout)

3. Union River Rustic Outpost Camp

Union River Rustic Outpost Camp is one of the smallest campsites for Porcupine Mountains camping with only three rustic campsites. The three sites are ideal for tent camping, small trailers, and vans. You can access water at the visitors center, but there is no water onsite. One vault toilet is available at this campsite.

4. Lost Creek Rustic Outpost Camp

This campsite rests along Lost Creek near the Lost Lake trailhead. It is an excellent spot for quiet, peaceful camping. There are only three rustic campsites with no running water or electricity. There is a vault toilet available, but no bathhouse. 

5. Porcupine Mountains Backcountry Camping

There are 65 backcountry campsites throughout the Porcupine Mountains park. While these are rustic campsites, you must still reserve them in advance. Each campsite has a fire ring for roasting s’mores. However, remember to pack your bear bag to store your marshmallows, as they are requirements at these campsites.

Suggested Reading: Check out more of Michigan’s Upper and Keweenaw Peninsulas.

What to Do in the Porcupine Mountains

The Porkies are the perfect spot for epic outdoor adventures. It can be hard to narrow down all of the trails to traverse and sites to see while camping in the Porcupine Mountains, but we recommend adding the following spots to your itinerary. 

Watch the Northern Lights

You don’t have to head as far north as Alaska or Canada to see the Northern Lights. You can view this natural wonder in many spots throughout Michigan, like the Porcupine Mountains. Peak months for viewing the Northern Lights in Michigan are October through February.

Ride to the Top of Copper Peak Ski Jump

Copper Peak Ski Jump near Ironwood, Michigan, is the largest artificial ski jump at over 469 feet tall. It has a unique observation deck with panoramic views accessible by an 18-story elevator. Even if you aren’t a skier, this spot will take your breath away.

There are numerous waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountains that we recommend checking out.

Go Chasing Waterfalls

With numerous waterfalls dotting the landscape, waterfall enthusiasts will find a paradise while camping in the Porcupine Mountains. Some of our favorite waterfalls to visit while camping in the Porkies are Bond Falls, Manabezho Falls, and Nawadaha Falls. However, with 90 waterfalls in the Porkies, these are only a few of the best.

Hit the Trails

The Porcupine Mountains boast an extensive network of hiking trails, catering to various skill levels. Whether you’re a casual walker or a seasoned hiker, the trails offer an opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna while enjoying breathtaking vistas. Check out these 10 best trails in the Porcupine Mountains according to AllTrails.

porcupine mountains camping lake of clouds
The iconic Lake of the Clouds’ overlooks are must-sees when in the Porcupine Mountains.

Visit the Lake of the Clouds

A trip to the Porcupine Mountains wouldn’t be complete without visiting the iconic Lake of the Clouds. Perching atop a bluff, this pristine lake offers a dramatic panorama of the surrounding mountains. The best way to get to the Lake of the Clouds is on the Big Carp River Trail or the Escarpment Trail.

Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains
Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains

Pro Tip: Learn where to find other camping options, like state park campgrounds in Upper Michigan. Or visit Michigan’s lighthouses.

Is Visiting the Porcupine Mountains Worth It?

As Michiganians, we may be biased about all the natural beauty in the Great Lakes State. However, the Porcupine Mountains are worth the visit for adventure-seekers and nature enthusiasts looking for a retreat into the unspoiled wilderness. The region’s beauty, diverse camping options, and a plethora of outdoor activities make it a destination worth exploring. Camping in the Porcupine Mountains promises an unforgettable experience.

Where will you stay on your next Porcupine Mountains camping trip? Share in the comments below.

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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