State’s largest park boasts lakes, trails, waterfalls, amazing views

The Big Carp River is seen from atop a summit at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. (Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR)

LOOKOUT POINT • By Deborah Frontiera
With 60,000 acres, 35,000 of that in old growth forest, the Porcupine Mountains State Wilderness area in Ontonagon County is Michigan’s largest state park! Estab-lished in 1945, it contains lakes, rivers, waterfalls, numerous streams, 90 miles of hiking trails and includes Lake Superior shoreline. If one dates the park from the 1944 efforts to purchase land, then 2019 marks the 75-year anniversary of the Porkies. Its elevation ranges from 600 feet above sea level along the Lake Superior shore, to 1350 feet at Lake of the Clouds, to 1950 feet at Summit Peak! But statistics are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Whether for a day trip or an entire vacation, the park’s many attractions are filled with breathtaking beauty, impressive vistas with flora and fauna in abundance. It’s family friendly, pet friendly, handicap accessible, year-round, and has spaces for motorhome parking as well as tent camping, wilderness cabins or more luxurious accommodations for rent, and Wi-Fi. So those visitors who simply have to be plugged into the world, not just nature, can use their phone and other devices in some areas of the park.
Most visitors begin their tour at the Visitors Center located three miles west of Silver City on M-107. Here there is information on all the hiking trails, camping sites, etc.
Visitors can view wonderful interpretive programs and exhibits. A 20-minute video in the Visitors Center informs guests about the long geological and human history of the area, and the development of the park, a story beginning as early as the 1920s with efforts to preserve the virgin timber from the wasteful practices at the height of the lumber boom and the fires of the early 20th century. The park supports the largest stands of maple and hemlock west of the Adirondacks. The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from mid-May to mid-October…

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