This Massive State Park On Lake Superior's Shores May Be Michigan's Most Underrated

If you plan to take a scenic road trip to see one of the Midwest's most stunning lakes, you won't want to miss Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Located in the Porcupine Mountains, sometimes called the Porkies, this Michigan destination includes some unbeatable Lake Superior shoreline. For the best way to take in the world's largest freshwater lake along with a selection of waterfalls, head to the long and tricky Lake Superior Trail.


Those who prefer a less challenging trek have no shortage of options. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers close to 100 miles of hiking trails, so you should have no trouble finding the ideal route for you and your hiking buddies. Those who prefer to explore the wilderness alone also have plenty of secluded places to connect with nature to choose from. This park spans a staggering 60,000 acres; more than half of that consists of beautiful old-growth forest.

How to explore Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Michigan has more exciting landscapes than most travelers know. While you won't find the crystal-clear waters of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you will encounter waterfalls and stunning forest views. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park alone features a wealth of places to explore beyond the famous Lake Superior Trail, such as the gorgeous Lake of the Clouds. Prepare for an incredible view of the valley below from the overlook, especially in autumn, when the trees turn burning red and orange and glowing yellow. The path to get there might be a little steep in places, but it should be doable for most visitors as it is an ADA-compliant boardwalk.


Visitors looking for even more incredible scenery should try the journey to Summit Peak, a 50-foot tall tower that lets you see the bulk of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. If you'd prefer to explore the area from behind the wheel of your car, check out the Black River National Forest Scenic Byway, which will take you through the forest, close to incredible cascades, and finally to Lake Superior.

Spending the night in the Porkies

Underrated state parks, like Saugatuck Dunes State Park, fill Michigan, but none can compete with Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park when it comes to size. You can't explore all of it in a single day, making camping a great way to take your time and see all it has to offer. No matter where you sleep in the park, make sure to keep your food and anything else scented that you might have with you in a bear canister since black bears roam the area.


You can camp at the Porcupine Mountains Presque Isle Campground or register for backcountry camping to get even further off the beaten path. If want a less rustic option, try yurt camping. These little buildings have their own bunk beds, wood-burning stoves, and a gorgeous view of Lake Superior. If you intend to visit the park in the chilly Michigan autumn or snowshoe through the camp in the winter, these little round buildings might be your best choice.