Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Covering roughly 60,000 acres, this park in Ontonagon, Michigan, is not only the largest state park in Michigan, but also one of the largest in the Midwest. 

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon, Michigan (photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

All you need is a walking stick and a free afternoon to explore as spring gives way to summer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At roughly 60,000 acres, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon is not only the largest state park in Michigan, but also one of the largest in the Midwest. It’s also one of Michigan’s most treasured parks, and with over 90 miles of walking trails, there is no shortage of beautiful sights.

Travelers can follow the water-carved rocks of the Presque Isle River until it turns to Manido Falls and gander over the misty edge. As the home of one of the oldest and largest old-growth northern hardwood forests in America, this park is a must-see destination for those who love the outdoors. You can even make the half-mile trek up Summit Peak, the highest point in the park, to take in an incredible panoramic view.

Of course, the most impressive sights don’t hit the Upper Peninsula until summer gives way to fall and the change of leaves in October, when the acres of lush green forests turn into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows.

Whether folks come to snap a couple of once-in-a-lifetime photographs, spot the migratory birds fattening themselves up for winter or just enjoy the crisp Michigan breeze, it is certainly not tough to understand why autumn competes with summer as a popular time of the year to visit the locally nicknamed “Porkies.”

Picnicking, salmon fishing and kayaking down the gorgeous Lake of Clouds are just a few other activities that draw travelers. Return again in the winter, when the slopes open for cold-weather sports. With 15 groomed and four glade trails, visitors of all skill levels can try their hand at skiing and snowboarding. 

33303 Headquarters Rd., Ontonagon, Michigan, michigan.gov/dnr