Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Amazingly, we only lost a day and a half of sightseeing in Michigan during the surprise adventure with the dually.

If we had left the Upper Peninsula without experiencing our 4th sightseeing adventure, we wouldn’t have known what a Superior place we would have missed in Michigan.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
A Few Facts before Photos

  • located on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • 60,000 acres of: ancient forest, rivers and streams, cascading waterfalls,
    deserted beaches, mountain views, and soaring vistas
  • created in 1945 for the purpose of: providing a wilderness experience and protecting the largest remaining old-growth hardwood and hemlock forest remaining in the Midwest
  • is Michigan’s largest state park and among the Midwest’ largest wilderness area

We only had 1 day to explore this state park in Michigan and to experience this wilderness in the UP, so we headed to the Wilderness Visitor Center first where we:

  • viewed a park film;
  • looked at the exhibits;
  • glanced at the schedule for the interpretive programs and decided we’d rather explore on our own;
  • picked up several maps, got directions to the scenic sites, and studied the topographical relief map of the park; and
  • checked wildlife sightings and trail conditions.

From our stop at the Wilderness Visitor Center, we learned that if you only had a day
to explore the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, you shouldn’t miss:

  • Presque Isle River and Waterfalls
  • Summit Peak
  • Lake of the Clouds

With a list of sites to see and a map, we had a plan to experience the Upper Peninsula wilderness.

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 a glimpse of Lake Superior on the way to the Wilderness Visitor Center

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our rental car

Presque Isle River and Trails

  • the largest river in the Porcupine Mountains and one of Michigan’s wildest rivers
  • boardwalk trails and observation platforms that parallel the wild and scenic Presque Isle River
  • a chance to see a wild river tumble over waterfalls and through rapids as it races to Lake Superior
  • the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of a wilderness
  • a chance to learn about this state park at wayside exhibits 

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a chance for father and daughter to engage in a conversation about . . .
(I have forgotten but I know it was a question rooted in physics.)

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a chance to learn about round potholes in riverbeds
which are formed where an eddy current continually swirls pebbles and sand
in a circular path, creating a round pothole in the riverbed – Incredible!

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Manabezho Falls
Manido Falls

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we followed the trail and blazed our on trails

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following the Presque Isle River as it races to . . .


Lake Superior

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one last look of Lake Superior
and Presque Isle River


before returning to the trail and our car so we could head to the next stop

Summit Peak

To reach Summit Peak, we:

  • followed the trail uphill through the ancient forest under a dense canopy
    of hardwood trees;
  • stopped along the way and rested and spotted a deer;
  • climbed the 40 foot observation tower to enjoy the panoramic views
    from the highest point in the Porcupine Mountains
    and one of the highest points in Michigan.

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Lake of the Clouds

We saved for last not only the hallmark view of the Porcupine Mountains but also the most photographed area in the park.  Some even say that Lake of the Clouds is one
of the most scenic spots in Michigan.

We checked out the bulletin board to learn something new and be aware of any alerts.


(these pictures are a prime example of why you don’t see me more in pictures –
my Knight often catches me acting silly and looking goofy)

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lake of the clouds

Standing in the heart of the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
atop a 300 foot precipice that overlooks the Carp River Valley and Lake of the Clouds

I am so very thankful that our family had the opportunity
to experience the Superior wilderness in Michigan
on a Road Trip Adventure across the USA.

(Since our virtual travels are still lagging behind our actual travel schedule,
come back after lunch to see where we went after exploring this state park.)

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