So you’re planning a camping trip in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore!
There are 3 regular campgrounds in Pictured Rocks, and the Little Beaver Lake campground near Little Beaver Lake is one of them.
This is also the regular campground that’s closest to the Pictured Rocks coves along Lake Superior. There’s a hiking trail directly from the campground that will lead to Lake Superior.
First, some quick things to know about the Little Beaver Lake campground that’s located in Pictured Rocks. (This is also called Little Beaver campground.)
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at Little Beaver Lake Campground in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
1. The Little Beaver Campground is located in a quieter area of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
2. There are less than 10 campsites.
Campsites are relatively close together, but with less than 10 campsites, it also can make for a quieter feel of a campground… in a quieter area of the park!
3. The campground is right next to Little Beaver Lake.
According to the National Park Service:
A narrow channel connects Beaver Lake and Little Beaver Lake which you can explore with a canoe or small boat.
In the lakes you can fish for trout, pike, and panfish.
4. There are hiking trails that you can take right from the Little Beaver Lake campground.
5. You can hike through the Beaver Basin Wilderness Area.
6. You can hike to the Lake Superior shoreline.
It would be a 3 mile round trip hike to Lake Superior from the Little Beaver Lake campground. Once you come to Lake Superior, you’ll intersect with the North Country Trail.
If you won’t be staying at Little Beaver campground, you can find a trailhead to Lake Superior on the road to the campground. There’s a parking area for non-campers.
7. Once you’ve hiked to Lake Superior, you’ll also end up at Twelvemile Beach!
This is practically a private beach! The only way to get here is by foot, and not as many people are hiking in this area.
This is the western end of Twelvemile Beach, a separate area (nearly 12 miles away! …or actually maybe more like 10 miles) from the main public access area of Twelvemile Beach. The main public access area is near the Twelvemile Beach campground.
Lake Superior does tend to be cold for most people, but people do go swimming at Lake Superior beaches. And although it is a lake, in many ways Lake Superior can act like an ocean, so take care! (There is a reason there are areas of the Lake Superior shoreline that have been called shipwreck coast of the graveyard of Lake Superior.)
8. You can then hike a little further to Big Star Cove.
Once you’re at Lake Superior, you can then continue hiking on the North Country Trail to the west (to the left as you’re facing the lake), and then in maybe less than 5 minutes you’ll reach the Big Star Cove. You can hike down a sandy trail and sit on the rock shoreline and take in the Lake Superior views.
Right by Big Star Cove is the Coves backcountry campground.
9. You can also see dramatic shoreline erosion along Lake Superior here.
10. You can hike even further to get a glimpse of Spray Falls.
You can keep hiking along the North Country Trail, maybe around 1.6 miles from the Big Star Cove, to see the Spray Falls waterfalls that flow into Lake Superior. This would be around a 6.5 mile round trip hike to the Spray Falls lookout spot from the Little Beaver Lake campground.
11. You can hike even further to Chapel Rock.
And then you can go even further along the North Country Trail to hike to Chapel Rock and Chapel Beach from the Little Beaver campground. From Little Beaver Lake campground to Chapel Rock would be around a 10 mile hike round trip. And then going further to Chapel Beach will add on around a half mile round trip.
Or you can drive around 30 minutes to the Chapel basin parking lot and hike the Chapel Falls Trail to get there. This is also the trail you’d start to do the Chapel Loop Trail to hike to Grand Portal Point and beyond to see the Pictured Rocks cliffs. Little Beaver Lake campground to Grand Portal Point is around a 13.5 miles round trip hike along the North Country Trail.
12. The Little Beaver Lake campground is for tent camping and smaller RV camping.
13. It’s for “small” RV camping because the road to the campground is not suitable for bigger RV campers.
14. The campsites come with a tent pad.
This will be flat gravel ground to set up your tent.
15. Little Beaver Lake campground is a “rustic” campground.
16. There is no electricity at the campground.
There is no electricity at Little Beaver Campground, or at any other campgrounds in the national lakeshore park.
17. There are no showers at the campground.
There are no showers at Little Beaver Campground, or at any other campgrounds in the national lakeshore park.
18. There are basic no-flush toilets at the campground.
19. There is a faucet at the campground for drinking water.
20. There are bears in Pictured Rocks.
It’s said that a fed bear is a dead bear. This means that once bears start to see humans as a source of food, they can become a threat to humans, and that means a potential threat to you! If a bear is believed to think of humans as a source of food, that bear may be killed.
Currently, bears in Pictured Rocks are generally not seen as a threat to people. But it takes everyone, including all campers, to keep it like that and to keep everyone safe, while you’re camping, and to keep the campers that come after you safe!
Among the things that are noted are to be sure to take care to pick up after yourself after you eat. You want to avoid leaving food in your tent, and be sure to store all food in your car. This also means it would be better if you didn’t eat inside your tent at all.
Another thing is to also try not to keep scented items inside your tent. Scented items can even include things like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and sunscreen.
Before you go camping, you can read up on bears in Pictured Rocks (pdf), you can also read more about hiking and camping with bears in national parks.
21. There’s a bear-proof food storage area you don’t have a car.
22. There’s “bear-proof” trash cans at the campground.
You will see bear-proof trash cans at Little Beaver Lake, and all over the park.
23. There’s a bear cam that’s basically facing the bathroom.
The trash cans are located right in front of the bathroom. The bear cam (bear camera) is facing these trash cans in front of the bathroom. So, maybe you won’t want to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? You don’t want to walk out of the bathroom to find a bear right in front of you smelling the trash can? 🤔😜
24. What to do as a day trip (or half day trip) from Little Beaver Lake Campground
How far is the Little Beaver Lake Campground from other Pictured Rocks activities?
- Miners Castle Point overlook – 35 minute drive
- Trail to Chapel Falls / Chapel Rock / Chapel Beach / Chapel Mosquito loop (aka the cliffs hike) – 30 minute drive
- Log Slide overlook – 1 hour drive
For more activities, see:
More around the UP:
- Little Beaver Lake to Munising: 40 minutes
- Little Beaver Lake to Grand Marais: 50 minutes
- Little Beaver Lake to Kitch-iti-kipi: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Little Beaver Lake to Tahquamenon Falls: 2 hours (see Lower Falls campground)
- Little Beaver Lake to Porcupine Mountains: 3.5 to 4 hours (see Union Bay campground)
- Little Beaver Lake to Keweenaw Peninsula: 4 hours
Read the reviews of the Little Beaver Lake campground.
Here's some info on Michigan vacation prep! Top Michigan vacation spots:
- Best of Michigan's national lakeshores
- Best of Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Best of Porcupine Mountains State Park
- Michigan waterfalls road trip
- Lake Superior lighthouse road trip
- Best of hiking in Pictured Rocks
- Get a waterproof phone case if you'll be heading out on the water!
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Michigan
How to make camping reservations at Little Beaver Lake Campground
The official website for making a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore camping reservation through the National Park Service is recreation.gov.
You can type in Little Beaver Campground for the search, and then go from there. (It’s listed as Little Beaver, not Little Beaver Lake.)
You’ll be able to find an updated campground map too.
You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you the basics of the campsite. If you have flexible dates, you can also search the availability by date. This can also help you determine if you should book soon or not, based on the availability of the campsites. If you’re looking to camp in the summer, then book sooner rather than later!
There are also Little Beaver Lake Campground reviews you can read on the camping reservation website.
Little Beaver Lake Campground map
Cost of camping at Little Beaver Lake campground
The cost of camping at Little Beaver Lake campground is around $15 per night. See here for updated camping fees.
Checking in to your campsite
There is no official check-in for camping at the Little Beaver Lake campground. You’ll need to have your camping “permit” printed off before you go. This means printing off your camping reservation confirmation that was e-mailed to you. You’ll get instructions once you book your campsite. And then you’ll stick that on the campsite post when you get to your campsite.
So once you are in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore park and approaching the campground, you’ll start to see signs for the Little Beaver Lake campground. Once you turn off the main road, you’ll drive on the gravel road for around 3 miles. And then you’ll arrive at the campground and off you go to find your individual campsite! It’s one small little loop that has all the campsites.
And that’s a bit about camping at Little Beaver Lake campground!
More in Pictured Rocks:
- Camping at Twelvemile Beach campground
- Camping at Hurricane River campground
- The best of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The other national lakeshore in Michigan:
See more Michigan campgrounds near Lake Superior!
HAPPY CAMPING AT LITTLE BEAVER LAKE CAMPGROUND!