So you’re planning a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
What’s a perfect way to camp in the UP?!
Camping at a quiet campground with both a river and one of the Great Lakes nearby! The Presque Isle River is a river that leads to Lake Superior. This is one of the Porcupine Mountains campgrounds.
First, some quick things to know about the Presque Isle campground that’s located in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at Presque Isle Campground in Porcupine Mountains State Park
1. The Presque Isle Campground is located in a quieter part of Porcupine Mountains State Park.
The campground is located in the Presque Isle Scenic Area of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and this is the less visited area of the park.
2. The Presque Isle campground is named for the Presque Isle River that is located right nearby.
This is a river to admire by looking at, not by swimming or wading in. This river can be powerful!
3. You can go for a hike to see 3 waterfalls on a hiking trail that starts near the campground.
The 3 waterfalls:
You can hike the Presque Isle river trail for a walk along the river that will take you to the waterfalls. There’s the West River Trail and the East River Trail, and you can make it a waterfalls loop trail too which will be a hike on both sides of the river. There’s also a spot on the trail where you can see the Presque Isle River meet Lake Superior.
You can pick up a Presque Isle map from the campground office.
4. There are spots from the campground where you can get views of Lake Superior.
So maybe it’s a bit of an obstructed view, but you can see Lake Superior from the campground nonetheless!
5. It’s possible to get a campsite where you can see Lake Superior right from your campsite!
Well, once again it’s a bit obstructed but it’s there!
6. The campground is for tent camping and RV camping.
7. There are “walk-in” campsites Presque Isle Campground.
Most campsites at Presque Isle campground are those in which you can drive straight up to. But there are also campsites that require walking a few minutes to get to. These campsites are more secluded and can give you a little more of a feeling like you’re out in the wild compared to the regular drive-in sites. You’ll be a bit more separated from your camp neighbors. Note that this means you need to hike a few minutes with your camping gear.
There’s a parking area at the trailhead that leads to the walk-in campsites.
8. From the campground, you can take a set of stairs that will lead you down to Lake Superior.
Because this is a quieter campground, there’s a chance you might have the “beach” all to yourself! It is a rocky beach. Pack water shoes or hiking sandals for your Michigan camping trip if you want to wade in the water!
Lake Superior is generally considered cold by most people even in the summer, but there are people who will still get in the water.
9. You can see erosion along the shoreline.
All across the the Great Lakes, there are areas of shoreline where you can see quite dramatically the effect of erosion.
And you can see some of this along the shores of Lake Superior that you can access from the campground.
10. Presque Isle Campground is the only “rustic” campground in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
There are multiple campgrounds in Porcupine Mountains State Park.
There are 2 standard campgrounds. There is one “rustic” campground (Presque Isle), and there is also one “modern” campground (Union Bay) on the other side of the park.
There are also a number of backcountry campgrounds and backcountry cabins, meaning you hike in to your campsite or cabin. The Porcupine Mountains are known as a backpacking destination.
11. The North Country Trail passes right by the Presque Isle campground.
12. There is no electricity at the campground.
13. There are specific areas where generators are allowed, along with generator-free areas.
So if this is important to you you’ll want to look for this on the campground map when you make your camping reservation.
14. There are no showers at the campground.
15. There are simple no-flush toilets at the campground.
16. There are faucets for drinking water.
17. There’s a garbage dumpster for campers.
18. There are bears in the Porcupine Mountains
According to Michigan State Parks:
Black bear are frequently encountered in the park.
Never feed wild animals as this damages their health, alters natural behaviors, exposes them to predators and causes them to lose their natural fear of humans.
This also makes it even more important that everyone does their part to pick up after themselves!
There are also “bear-proof” trash cans in the Porcupine Mountains.
19. It’s a 45 minute drive to Lake of the Clouds.
The Presque Isle campground is on the opposite side of the park of Lake of the Clouds, possibly the most popular spot in Porcupine Mountains State Park. From here is also where you can access the Escarpment Trail, possibly the best hike in the Porcupine Mountains.
For more activities, see the best of the Porcupine Mountains.
20. Summer days are long!
Ontonagon MI is the city where the Porcupine Mountains State Park is located. In June and July, there are days when sunrise is just past 6am and sunset isn’t until nearly 10pm in Ontonagon!
That means time for lots of outdoor activities!
Read the reviews of the Presque Isle 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 Presque Isle campground
This is the official website for making Michigan State Parks camping reservation.
You can choose Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and then go from there to choose Presque Isle campground.
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.
Presque Isle campground map
Off the the left side of the map is where the walk-in sites are located.
Cost of camping at Presque Isle campground
In 2020, the cost of camping in Porcupine Mountains State Park at the Presque Isle campground was around $17 per night. There is an additional reservation fee. See here for updated camping fees.
Also, as a Michigan State Park, a Michigan recreation passport is required for entry.
If you’re a Michigan resident, hopefully you already have the annual recreation passport, in which case there’s no additional fee.
If you don’t have the recreation passport, or you’re from out of state, for Michigan residents the annual pass is around $17 when purchased at a state park and for out-of-state residents it’s around $34. See current fees here.
Checking in to your campsite
Then, once you arrive at Presque Isle Scenic Area, you’ll stop by the campground office to check in and get your camping permit!
Then off you go to find your campsite!
And that’s a bit about Porcupine Mountains rustic camping at Presque Isle campground!
Learn more about the modern Union Bay campground in the Porcupine Mountains, with Lake Superior lakefront campsites available.
And then there are more camping spots in the Porcupine Mountains.
See more about how to spend your time in Porcupine Mountains State Park:
- Hiking the river trail to see the waterfalls of the Porcupine Mountains
- Lake of the Clouds overlook
- Hiking the Escarpment Trail
More in the western UP:
- Presque Isle to Bond Falls is around a 1 hour 15 minute drive
- Presque Isle to Copper Harbor in the Keweenaw Peninsula is around a 3 hour drive
The rest of the UP:
- Presque Isle to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is around a 3.5 hour drive
- Presque Isle to Tahquamenon Falls is around a 5 hour drive
For more campgrounds directly on Lake Superior:
And see more Great Lakes camping spots on the list of best Michigan state park campgrounds in the UP.
HAPPY CAMPING AT THE RUSTIC PRESQUE ISLE CAMPGROUND!