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Camping at Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest
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Overview of Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest is a beautiful outdoor recreation area located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It encompasses about 894,836 acres and provides a variety of activities and amenities for visitors. The forest features a mix of landscapes, including hardwood forests, wetlands, lakes, and miles of Great Lakes shoreline, making it a wonderful destination for campers and nature lovers.

Camping Options

Developed Campgrounds: Hiawatha National Forest offers several developed campgrounds with amenities like toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, and, in some cases, potable water and electrical hookups.

Dispersed Camping: For a more rustic experience, the forest also allows dispersed camping, which is camping outside of developed campgrounds. There are specific regulations and locations where dispersed camping is permitted, so always check with the local ranger district for guidance.

Backcountry Camping: Backpacking and backcountry camping are available in certain areas of the forest, offering a chance to enjoy the serene wilderness. Permits may be required, and campers should practice Leave No Trace principles to protect the environment.

Camping Reservations and Fees

  • Reservations for certain campgrounds can be made through Recreation.gov or by calling the reservation system.
  • Fees for campsites vary by location and amenities provided.
  • Some campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Regulations and Safety

Fire Safety:

  • Observe fire restrictions and guidelines.
  • Use established fire rings or pits.
  • Never leave fires unattended.


  • Store food securely to not attract wildlife.
  • Keep a safe distance from animals.

Leave No Trace:

  • Pack out all trash and belongings.
  • Respect nature and other visitors by minimizing your impact on the environment.

Weather and Preparation:

  • The weather in the Upper Peninsula can be unpredictable, so come prepared with appropriate clothing and gear for changing conditions.

Recreational Activities

Hiawatha National Forest offers a range of activities, including:

  • Hiking: Numerous trails, including portions of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
  • Boating and Fishing: Many lakes and rivers suitable for water activities.
  • Biking: Trails and roads open for mountain biking.
  • Winter Sports: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling during the winter months.

Points of Interest

Lighthouses: Several historic lighthouses are within the forest's boundaries, some of which are open to the public for tours.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: The nearby Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers stunning views of Lake Superior's shoreline, which is easily accessible to visitors of Hiawatha.

Access and Contact Information

To reach Hiawatha National Forest, you can access it via several major roadways that traverse the Upper Peninsula. For visitor information, maps, and specific camping guidelines, contacting the forest's headquarters or a local ranger district office is recommended.

Headquarters: Hiawatha National Forest 820 Rains Drive Gladstone, MI 49837

Website: The official USDA Forest Service website provides detailed information and maps for Hiawatha National Forest.

By staying informed and following the rules and regulations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience in Hiawatha National Forest.

Map of Campgrounds in Hiawatha National Forest
Campgrounds in Hiawatha National Forest
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