Spring, Summer and Fall
Porcupine Mountains State Park was established in 1945 by Michigan's Legislature to protect the last extensive tract of old-growth forest remaining in the Midwest. Since then, many changes have taken place in the way we live. The Porcupine Mountains, however, are almost unchanged. (Map)
To the native Ojibwa people, the well-worn chain of mountains rising from the waters of Lake Superior reminded them of "kag", the woodland Porcupine. The mountain range they called, "Kag-wadjiw", the Porcupine Mountains. Today, visitors are drawn to the Mountains for their majestic forests, striking geologic formations, wildlife, waterfalls, and boundless backcountry opportunities.
The remote interior, the towering pine and hemlock, seem to defy time. The solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting. A hiker to the interior of the Porkies must actually turn back the clock and call on skills that were second nature to our ancestors. One must appreciate the ways of a Wilderness Area to thoroughly enjoy backpacking the Porkies.
The Department of Natural Resources maintains over 90 miles of foot trails and 16 rustic trailside cabins for the public. Trails traverse most of the park and lead the hikers to the most spectacular overlooks and vistas. The "Porkies" are rugged. Steep grades and stream crossings are frequently encountered.
The Wilderness Visitor Center is located along the South Boundary Road, one quarter-mile from the M-107 junction. Whether you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains for an hour or a week, the Center should be your first stop. Here, you can check on trail conditions, register for backpacking, get directions to scenic sites, check wildlife sightings, note the interpretive activities schedule, and more.
While at the Center, be sure to see the park's exciting multi-image program. This 15 minute presentation provides a brief history of the mountains and an overview of the park itself.
Just outside the Visitor Center is an easy and enjoyable, self-guided nature trail. This mile-long loop takes about 45 minutes and highlights the wildlife and other natural features of the northwoods.
The Visitor Center is open from mid-May through mid-October. Hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern, except during the summer season, when the Center is open Monday through Thursday until 9:00 PM Eastern for evening programs.
PEREGRINE FALCONS once again roam the skies over the Mountains. Every year since 1990, a pair of these aerial hunters have returned to the park to stake out a territory. Peregrines, which are recognized by their pointed wings, narrow tail and black "sideburns," are crow size falcons that feed on other birds ambushed away from protective cover. The Peregrine Falcon males and females share nesting duties and feed their young frequently to avoid dehydration. The Peregrines begin nesting in April, eggs are laid in mid-May, and the young are born approximately 33 days later.
DO NOT DISTURB THE PEREGRINES. They are protected by both the state and the federal government as an endangered species. Penalties are severe.
Keep your binoculars handy and report sightings to park staff, also report any information on their behavior.
Visitors will enjoy the new boardwalk to view the Lake of the Clouds. This wooden path has a gentle slope, hand rails, and benches along the way as it leads to an observation platform overlooking the beautiful lake and the forest surrounding it.
Canoe, Kayak, and Mountain Bike Rentals at the Concession Store in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park from May 15th through October 15th. Phone 906-885-5612. Located at the entrance to the Union Bay campground area on M-107 on the east side of the Park, and they also provide shuttle service to all areas in the park and canoe livery to rivers and streams suitable for canoeing. Firewood and ice for sale.
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Travel and vacation at the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park) near Ontonagon, MI and Silver City, MI in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing, biking, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sightseeing, exploring, waterfalls, and photography.