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I will be totally transparent and say I definitely prefer rustic or dispersed campsites.. however, I always give state parks an honest chance.
Baraga State Park… I have tried. Ohh, have I tried to like you over the years.
However, this is the WORST example of what a Michigan DNR campground can be. They squeezed in WAY too many sites in this place. You can hear the campers next to you fart in their sleep.
Not even a stones throw from US-41 makes for constant road noise… and sites that have been submerged in water a day following rainfall. You always see campers here moving their tents, RV’s, etc… to drier portions of their sites.
The only reason I give this TWO stars is because of the well-kept and nice bathhouse.
I stop here solely to shower during my travels. I will stay on the side of the road before I set up camp here again.
Part of the Noquemanon Trail Network for mountain biking.
First come, first serve and only rustic sites.
Some sites don’t have fire pits and are kind of a tight squeeze with precarious tree placement.
Not all sites are like this. Just get there early so you have better selection. There are only a few sites I don’t recommend.
Sites can be paid for in cash or at https://noquetrails.org/forestville/
Only an outhouse and no running water or showers. But, you should have close to full cell service.
I primarily stay on weekdays and don’t have an issue finding a site. However, weekends can get busy with all the out of town mountain bikers.
This campground is well placed for hiking as well. Sugarloaf Mountain and Hogsback are only a short drive away.
There are also numerous waterfalls within an hours drive of this place. Some easier to get to the others.
The Michigan State Forest Campgrounds continue to delight us. For $15 a night you can experience camping like I did as a child – simple, unelectrified, and in beautiful outdoor locations. Lots of space in between most sites gives you a good deal of privacy. In mid-October, we woke up to full on winter one morning, so be prepared for anything in the shoulder season. Also, the entrance to this campground is not for low clearance vehicles…it is full of HUGE flooded potholes (small ponds really). Not recommended for 2 wheel drive, low clearance vehicles.
Getting to Big Lake leads you through some marvelous pine meadows and wetlands with browsing deer and pheasants. The North Country Trail (long distance backpacking trail) winds through this part of the UP, and the Big Lake campground would make a perfect starting or ending place for a section hike. Within 10 miles back on the highway is a large gas station/convenience store and café where you could get a hot meal or stock up on a few essentials.
Opportunities for hiking, biking, paddling or fishing abound in this area, so plan to bring your gear with you. There is a small craft launch right in the campground to access the lake, which as it turns out isn’t very big when you compare it to nearby Lake Superior. I imagine that this might be a popular deer hunting campground during rifle season. Bathrooms are simple pit-toilets, and water is accessible year-round with the hand operated well pump.