Wilderness State Park is considered the biggest state park in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. With 26 miles of shoreline and hugging five miles of Sturgeon Bay, the park offers 10,512 acres of the Lower Peninsula’s most undeveloped land. Wilderness State Park is the most sought-after state park to visit. With the immense amount of natural areas within, it's the perfect adventure for those who want to photograph wild flowers, hike the network of trails, mountain bike through coniferous and hardwood forests, go birdwatching, and tromp through wetlands!
Things To Do:
Put your hiking boots on and gear up for a full day of hiking! Wilderness State Park offers 38 miles of trails. Staff and park rangers suggest that anyone who ventures off into the forest should carry a map and compass because it is easy to get lost in the maze of trails. It’s a perfect way to spend a day seeing wildlife, wild flowers, and enjoying nature at its finest! Whether you stroll along the shoreline or through the forest and wetlands, it will be a fun, full day of hiking! For tips on packing for hiking, click here!
Get your binoculars out and be prepared to identify some birds! Over 100 species of birds migrate to the state park. Since part of the shoreline is cobbled beaches, it creates the perfect habitat for the endangered Piping Plover. There used to be hundreds of breeding pairs, but the numbers have significantly declined to around seventeen pairs and fluctuates between 12-50 pairs. In 2002, the park recorded around 16-52 active nests and since then the shoreline closes in spring through early summer for breeding purposes.
Ready to test your detective skills? Set out for a day of geocaching! For beginners, there are four geocaching sites in the park. For those more daring, there are 16 sites out on trails to hunt down! Remember, take a map and compass if you dare to go out on the trails to hunt down your fun prize! Here are your clues!
There are a few creeks that run through the park for fishing and a couple smaller lakes and ponds as well. There is also the opportunity for big lake fishing if you have the proper equipment and license. The park offers a boat launch for such purposes.
Take a splash in the big lake on a hot day! Sandy beaches provide a full day of swimming, recreation, relaxing, and building awesome sandcastles! Adventure down the 26 miles of shoreline or kick back and sun bathe!
Gear up and be prepared to work those legs! There are more than 16 miles of trails for biking. Trails include, East Boundary, South Boundary, Nebo, Sturgeon Bay, and the Swamp Line trails. Be cautious because trails are shared with hikers. Mountain bikers are not allowed on the following trails: Big Stone, Pondside, and Red Pine trails.
Calling all hunters! Wilderness State Park brags about their excellent white-tailed deer and snowshoe hare! Other hunting opportunities include: duck, goose, grouse, and squirrel. Bear hunting is also allowed and the park does have a few bobcats. A proper hunting license is required for all hunting. If hunting isn’t your style, trapping is allowed as well. There are many beavers and an overabundance of coyotes, but for hunting and trapping they are frequently overlooked.
Michigan State Park Explorer Program
Spend a day with the kids learning about resources and nature with park rangers! More information for explorer programs can be found within the park.
Don’t come just when it’s warm out! Wilderness State Park offers lots of winter fun when the snow starts flying! Head out on the snow-covered trails for snowshoeing or enjoy six miles of powdered, groomed trails for cross-country skiing! Trails are also available to snowmobiling! Click here for a map of the skiing and snowmobiling trails!
Come one, come all! There are plenty of camping spots year-round for your next adventure! Wilderness State Park has two campgrounds. The park offers over 250 campsites, located on the lakeshore or in the pines. There are also six rustic log cabins and three rustic bunkhouses available for rent. Feeling spontaneous? If you’re backpacking around the park, there are walk-in campsites just for you!
Need a day away from the park? There is plenty to do nearby! A visit to Mackinaw City is also a day well spent! Colonial Michilimackinac Park is a great place to visit while in Mackinaw City! It has the old Fort Michilimackinac that overlooks Lake Michigan and the Mackinaw Bridge. It’s full of exhibits, history reenactments, and a fur-trading village. It’s history made fun and engages guests too!
Just on the other side of the five mile-long Mackinaw Bridge that connects the Lower and Upper Peninsulas is Mackinac Island! In order to get there though, you get to experience a fun ferry ride across the Straits of Mackinac. Once on the island, there are shops by the handful to browse around in and one too many free fudge samples to indulge in! Since Mackinac Island is known for the best fudge, it is a must that you take some to go! There are bikes to rent and horses to ride around on the scenic 8-mile loop that goes around the island. There are many other trails throughout the island as well. Don’t miss out on going to Arch Rock located on the lower east side of the island. It’s a sight to see! Didn’t see everything in one day? There are hotels and accommodations on the island so you can have a second day of fun and adventures!
Wilderness State Park is a place you don’t want to miss out on while planning your next trip! It’s natural beauty, endless trails, and camping opportunities are worth checking out! Don’t just read about it, get up and plan your trip today!