AuSable River Dispersed Camping is a unique series of 102 individually designated single-family campsites on a 55-mile stretch of the lovely AuSable River. All campsites are within Alcona and Iosco Counties in Michigan.
These rustic sites are divided into sections near Alcona Pond, the AuSable Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Area, Loud Pond, Five Channels Pond, Cooke Pond, Foote Pond and Lower Ausable. Each are ideal for family camping, with opportunities for fly fishing, swimming, canoeing and bird watching.
Both river and lake fishing are available for perch, bass and pike walleye. One recommended spot is the Whirlpool Angler access point. All sites are also near the River Road National Scenic Byway, which offers wonderful views of the river valley.
The campground has boat-in camping, and canoe rentals are available in Glennie, Hale, Mio and Oscoda.
All sites are primitive with no drinking water, toilets or trash removal. Campers are expected to bring plenty of water, portable toilets and garbage bags. Parking aprons are dirt or gravel.
Campsites sit on bluffs that range from five to 300 feet above the waterline of the lower AuSable River. Depending on the site, access to the river may be difficult due to steep or eroding slopes.
The AuSable River meanders across 138 miles of Michigan and flows into the great lake, Lake Huron.
ADA Access: N
This is a beautiful place to camp. I’ve only been to the boat-in only sites and I love it. You are surrounded by forest and dunes and the sites themselves provide ample space for a group of 5 or more. The islands (site 41c specifically) are the best spots - there’s very little reason to worry about critters when you’re on an island. The one thing I don’t like are the powered boats. In the “lower AuSable” areas like Cooke Dam Pond, you will see and hear pontoon boats, speed boats and the occasional jet ski, which kind of takes away from the dispersed camping/backcountry feel. Still a wonderful place to get away from it all.
So much fun floating down the river! This camp spot had a rope swing attached, so look out for this spot by mio!
We visited this campsite for a long weekend in October, looking for that autumn experience. Our site was right on the lake, and had a great view of the river and the trees changing. Our site was very large, especially for tent camping, and that seemed to be the trend. Others were camping with campers and tents, but there was pretty of room to spread out in the late fall.
This place was set up unlike any other I have been to yet. Our campsite was right along the AuSable River and we kayaked in. There are just over 100 sites on a 50 mile stretch of the river so things are secluded and peaceful. The sites are divided up across several "ponds." Our site was situated with a fairly steep slope to the river which was challenging but not impossible. We went kayaking for a full day and loved it! There is no potable water so bring a filter, no toilets so bring a shovel, and it is pack-in pack-out. There was a campfire ring at the site. The fishing here was ok. More of an excuse to be on the water than anything. There are fly fishing opportunities here but I was not equipped for it.