Porcupine Mountains Backpacking
4 Days, 3 Nights
Picturesque trails and sparkling waterfalls await you in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on this introductory backpacking trip. If you’ve never been on an overnight backpacking trip or are looking for a chance to explore the unique wilderness of the Midwest, this long weekend in the “Porkies” is a great opportunity. Join us for three nights and four days of hiking, playing and relaxing amid the hills and brooks of these picturesque mountains.
Day 1: Arrive at the Porcupine Mountains State Park by 2 PM the latest. Your guide will have already arranged whether the group will meet at the visitor center or the Lake of the Clouds parking lot. The guide(s) then checks to make sure that everyone has brought appropriate gear, and is not bringing too little (extremely rare) or more than they need (more likely). Then it’s off to the trails at around 3 PM. Usually we hike 3-5 miles on a shoreline trail before pitching camp, digging in to a hot dinner and falling asleep next to the lulling waves and under the starlit sky.
Day 2: We break camp and enjoy a hot breakfast, usually coffee, hot chocolate, oatmeal and trail snacks. With fuel in our bellies, we hit the trail, usually around 9 or 10 AM, and hike at our own pace. Typically groups want to cover between 6 and 10 miles today, and it can all be along the shoreline trail. After covering the packed distance, we pitch camp and enjoy some free time until dinner. Hikers often like to take a dip in Lake Superior or the nearby Little Carp River, stretch out for a shoreline nap or grab a water bottle and take a day hike to one of the park’s spectacular waterfalls. We camp near the shore where there are less bugs, gentle wave sounds, a starry sky and a cool breeze.
Day 3: We break camp and have another hot breakfast today. We have the option to camp another night on the shoreline or hike inland along the Little Carp River Trail to a campsite on a scenic bluff. Usually we hike about 6-10 miles today.
Day 4: After a hot breakfast we start making our way back to civilization. Depending on where we camped the night before, we hike the 3-5 miles to the trailhead or parking lot, aiming to reach our vehicles by noon. After a quick gear sort we are on our way home, ready to share all the great photos we took on our north woods adventure.
"Just wanted to tell you that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip, thank you very much. Will and Taylor were amazing -- knowledgeable, hospitable, fun, thoughtful. We look forward to our next trip!" -Joan C., Chicago, Illinois
"Excellent. A healthy balance between participant choice (mileage, route) and leader guidance (schedule, pace, instruction). Ben and Lisa were great." -Jerry T., Chicago, Illinois
"[I enjoyed most] How it tested me in ways I never was. Learned a lot more about myself and how I adapt to the environment." -Tony G., Hickory Hills, Illinois
Near the shore of Lake Superior lies the Porcupine Mountains as referred to as the Porkies. According to the native Ojibwa people who name the mountains because their silhouette had the shape of a crouching porcupine.
History Trivia: The Mountains are home to the most extensive stand of old growth northern hardwood forest in North America.