Shari  G.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2020

Mountains in Michigan? And, on the shores of Lake Superior? Amazing!

Union Bay is the only “modern” campground in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness, offering around 100 fully-reservable, electric sites with access to a modern bathroom and shower house. The lakeside sites, as you can imagine, are the most popular and spacious, and most often booked 6 months in advance.  If you come after leaf season, you can have the place to yourself.  However, the winds off the lake can be powerful and the numerous campsites on the upper level offer a bit more protection, if somewhat more cramped. 

The boat launch is right next to the campground, if you plan to get out onto the big lake. The outdoor adventure opportunities in the park are endless, from hiking, biking, and paddling in the spring through the fall to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.   But, bring your muck boots if you come in the fall or spring, as the trails and campground is wet and full of mud.

As a designated wilderness, motorized recreation is not allowed within the park, so your walk in the woods remains undisturbed. Backpacking is very popular here and backcountry camping sites are numerous, and reservable (get your permit at the Visitor’s Center). The park offers cabins and yurts, some of which are only accessible by trail which and heated by a wood stove making a winter adventure more attractive. There is also a downhill skiing area located within 3 miles of the Visitors Center.

The bathrooms at Union Bay are modern and comfortable with individual unisex shower units accessible via an outside door. The laundry room has 1 washing machine and 2 dryers(be sure to run the dryer on high). Water is available at several spigots throughout the campground, and the sewer dump station is right on the way out of the campsite to take care of that business when you leave.

Be sure to drive or hike up to the Lake of the Clouds overlook and trail network. The glacially carved escarpment offers a priceless view of what the locals call “the Porkies” and makes the long drive to get here worth it.

The closest town of significance to Union Bay is Ontonagon, 18 miles away, so plan ahead with supplies. Just outside the campground is a small, privately run, campstore where you can get ice cream, ice and a few other food items, and lots of tourist trinkets – just look for the oversized black bear.

  • Lakeside campsites are beautiful, but the pounding shore can be very loud at times.
  • The gales of November came early.
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  • Lots of grass, but a ton of mud too.  Come prepared.
  • Lake of the Clouds view from above.
  • Yurts for rent in the campground.
  • Nice sized sites,
  • Large waterfront site.
  • Hiking above the Lake of the Clouds.
  • The weather in late October can be brutal!  We had every stitch of our winter gear on and we were still cold.
  • Clean bathhouse, but not heated in the winter.
  • Hadn't seen much sun in the past 2 weeks; it was a welcomed sight!

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