$15 / night

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Activities
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Water

Established Camping

Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camping

4 Reviews

About

USDA Forest Service

Ottawa National Forest

Overview

Planning a trip to the Sylvania Wilderness? Watch for Alerts at the top of the page for any Alerts regarding this facility. __ The Sylvania Wilderness encompasses 18,327 acres of primitive lands and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Visitors can camp in 50 designated campsites within the Sylvania Wilderness. Visitors enjoy endless canoeing, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Recreation

Sylvania's abundant lakes provide plentiful non-motorized boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities. Other popular activities include hiking and viewing wildlife.

Facilities

Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camp is not a physical campground located at one location. The 50 individual sites are located along eight lakes within the Sylvania Wilderness. Camping is allowed only at designated sites. Campsites are primitive, but each is equipped with a campfire ring and a wilderness latrine.

Natural Features

The old-growth forests and pristine lakes in the region provide habitat for a wide range of animal and plant life, including rare orchids, bald eagles, loons and osprey. The wilderness contains 34 named lakes, some with sandy beaches and others surrounded by record-size red and white pines. The Ottawa National Forest is comprised of nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western reaches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The forest's rolling, tree covered hills extend from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls are found throughout this beautiful landscape.

Charges & Cancellations

Cancellations If you cancel reservation at least 14 days prior to check in date, all recreation fees, minus a $10 cancellation fee and the reservation fee ($8 if made online or $9 if made through the call center) will be refunded. If you cancel reservation less than 14 days prior to check in date, all recreation fees, minus $10 cancellation fee, reservation fee ($8 if made online or $9 if made through the call center), and first night___s use fee will be refunded. The reservation fee ($8 if made online or $9 if made through the call center) is non-refundable. No Show Staff will hold a campsite until check-out time on the day following the arrival date.__ For more information about rules and reservation policies, visit the Recreaiton.gov Rules and Reservations Policy page.____

Fee Info

<p><strong>Recreation Fees</strong></p> <p>Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Permits are $15 per night. No pass discounts apply to backcountry camping permits, they are classified as a 'Special Recreation Permit.' Passports and Interagency Pass fee discounts do not apply to Special Recreation Permit sites per FSH 2309.13.__</p> <p>Registered Sylvania Backcountry Campers are not required to pay the day use fee solely for parking a vehicle at Clark Lake or Crooked Lake Boat Landing areas to access backcountry campsites. Use of the Clark Lake day use area is not included in the backcountry permit fee and does require a daily $5.00 per vehicle fee, or a season pass for $30 per vehicle. The season pass covers Lake Ottawa Recreation Area, Sylvania Recreation Area, and Black River Harbor Recreation Area.__</p> <p><strong>Pass Discounts</strong></p> <p><strong>No pass discounts apply to backcountry camping permits, they are classified as a 'Special Recreation Permit.' Passports and Interagency Pass fee discounts do not apply to Special Recreation Permit sites per FSH 2309.13.</strong>__</p> <p><strong>Reservation Fee</strong></p> <ul> <li>$8.00 per reservation if made on-line</li> <li>$9.00 per reservation if made through the call center</li> </ul> <p>The reservation fee is non-refundable.</p>
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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.
  • Hike-In
    Backcountry sites.
  • Boat-In
    Sites accessible by watercraft.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Unknown
  • Verizon
    Unknown
  • AT&T
    Unknown
  • T-Mobile
    Unknown

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • Group

Features

For Campers

  • Phone Service
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol

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Reviews

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4.0

out of 5

4 Reviews

Hilary S.
Reviewed Sep. 5, 2023

Probably better for paddling than backpacking

Visited in May 2022.

Loon was a lovely campsite - separated from the others, nice view of the lake, and a short, straightforward walk from the trailhead. 

Fox 2 was a different story - despite the site description saying that it had easy access to trails, we were not able to find a trail leading to the site on the way in, or on the way out of camp. We ended up walking up towards where the trail goes between Crooked and Mountain Lakes and bushwhacked along the shore until we saw the posts for the sites on the water. Even exploring around camp and searching for a trail on the way out, we were unable to find a path to the campsite. 

The park itself was nice and quiet, though that could have been partially due to rain. I probably would not backpack this park again, but would consider a canoe or kayak trip.

SiteLoon, Fox 2
Month of VisitJune
Jess R.
Reviewed Sep. 8, 2020

A long way to be so close

Let me start by saying that I was really looking forward to this trip. Kayaking 2 hours to get to a secluded campsite? Yes please! Problem was we ended up being 20 yards away from the next site... which was clearly visible through the clear old growth forest. Most sites in Sylvania are 2 sites very near to each other. To add insult to injury, they ended up getting very loud and drunk at night. What do you do to get someone to stop ruining your wilderness camping vacation when there is no cell service and rangers aren't on duty? You suffer through it. Ruined the first vacation I've had in 4 years. My advice to is to book both sites for the nights you're staying. At $15 a night per site, it still ends up being a cheap investment for peace and quiet.

Ann M.
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2018

Easy canoe camping for the beginner

Loved my first experience at canoe camping. We did it the easy way, loaded our canoe, crossed the lake to our campsite and set up camp. No portaging with our gear.

We rented our canoe and and a bear barrel from the Sylvania Outfitters, and they dropped the canoe off lakeside for us.

It was very peaceful and we didn't see any other people except when we were on the lake canoeing.

Month of VisitAugust

Location

Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camping is located in Michigan

Detail location of campground

Directions

Wilderness campsites can be accessed from Sylvania Recreation Area or from entry points on the perimeter of the wilderness (see map). To reach Sylvania Entrance Station and Recreation Area: From Watersmeet, travel approximately 3.5 miles west on US 2 to County Road 535, then drive south on CR 535 approximately 4 miles to the Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area entrance.

Address

SYLVANIA WILDERNESS E23979 US 2 EAST
Watersmeet, MI 49969

Coordinates

46.2447222 N
89.3105556 W

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