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Our Favorite Backpacking Campsites in the Upper Peninsula

With decades of camping experience in the Upper Peninsula we can honestly say we have some tough criteria for where we decide to camp. First and foremost, the site must be scenic. We are picky and if we are going to be spending a significant amount of time in an area, we want a room with a view! Hanging out with partners, enjoying a nice meal and relaxing after a long walk, it is important to soak in the views and recharge. Camping in a spectacular area will do just that! Being that we are located in the Great Lake State we almost always insist on having a body of water to look at and play in. There is nothing more refreshing after a long sweaty hike than to jump in the cold crystal clear waters of Mother Superior! Finally, we like solitude and dark skies. Grabbing a warm (or cold) drink and laying down on a deserted beach and gazing up at the stars is by far one of our favorite backcountry activities. Finding these gems and working to get out and away from it all is important. It allows one to reconnect with nature and don’t we all need that?

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.” ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Moskey Basin Isle Royale National Park

Our favorite campsite on our favorite island! The campground is located in Moskey Basin at the west end of Rock Harbor Channel a seven mile hike along the rocky shores of Lake Superior. The sites are spread out so you’ll have privacy, but what we enjoy most about this campsite is the large flat rock that offers the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy the lake, listen to the loons or keep an eye out for the sneaky foxes! After dinner, take an evening walk outside of camp into a marshy area that is frequented by moose.

Trail shelter in Moskey basin on Isle Royale National Park

Mosquito Beach Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Not the most appealing name for a campsite but rest assured you will want to stay here! This campsite sits on a small bluff above Lake Superior where one can be lulled asleep by the waves lapping at the shore. There is also a beautiful sand beach across the mouth of the river where you can jump in a Lake Superior to cool off after a long hike. Afterwards head on down to the sandstone ledge, cook dinner, and wait for an amazing sunset!

Rocky Lake Superior beach at Mosquito Beach campground

Trout Bay Grand Island National Recreation Area

Who doesn’t love beach camping! The calm clear waters of this perfect horseshoe bay with a sugar sand beach is the ideal backcountry campsite. Spend the day beachcombing and the evening roasting marshmallows and perhaps a midnight swim underneath the amazing starscape.

Sunset at Trout Bay

Escarpment Trail Backcountry Site Porcupine Mountains State Park

The Escarpment Trail is considered one of the most picturesque backpacking trails in Michigan. High rocky bluff hiking combined with incredible vitas overlooking the parks interior which includes the beautiful Lake of the Clouds. The backcountry site at Cloud Peak offers stunning views and if you plan your trip in the fall you will be treated to an array of colors as far as the eye can see. It is hard to decide what is more spectacular, the fall colors or watching the milky way out the front door of your tent!

An early winter day on the Escarpment Trail


Exploring the Upper Peninsula? We have guidebooks, gear and local knowledge for Isle Royale, Porcupine Mountains State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and anywhere else your adventurous imagination can take you!