U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Huron National Forest


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Forest Information

The Huron National Forest, of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, is located in the northeastern part of Michigan, some of which is on Lake Huron. It is comprised of 450,336 acres. There are 14 developed campgrounds, 12 of which meet the selection criteria.

Huron National Forest is a Forest Service patchwork quilt of textures and colors. Trees planted in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) precision style adjoins a tangle of old forest on one side and a field of green grass with grazing cattle on the other side. The Au Sable River meanders across the Forest and crystal blue lakes dot the landscape. The patchwork of Huron National Forest provides a diversity of recreational opportunities for its many visitors and many outstanding camping location. Activities range from the quiet concentration of birdwatching to the excitement of OHV riding, while the camping areas vary from the dusty and busy Mack Lake campground to the quietly seclude and tranquil Rollways campground.

The Huron National Forest features some 240 miles of trails for non-motor users. These trails range from the extensive North Country Trail and Michigan Shore-to-Shore trails to the pleasant and informative Jewell Lake and Island Lake Interpretive trails. Each trail provides a unique view of the Forest at a close-up and personal level. The Forest also features semi-primitive areas such as Reid Lake and South Branch which were set aside specifically for foot traffic.

OHV enthusiasts will find the Huron National Forest a delightful place to visit. Miles upon miles of trails have been developed and designated for motorized use. A major trailhead is found at the Mack Lake campground. Another is convenient to the Wagner Lake campground.

The Huron National Forest has no formally designated Canoe Routes. However, in 1984 a 23-mile segment of the Au Sable (pronounced Ah Sob-bow) River was designated a Scenic River and has attracted canoeists since then. There are several "rest stops" along the river with vaults and small campsites for canoeists. A special sight to see along the Au Sable River are the Bald eagles gliding high above. A rare sight a few years ago, the Bald eagle's population is growing and chances of catching a glimpse are improving.

Running parallel to the Au Sable River is the River Road Scenic Byway. Along this Byway visitors enjoy panoramic vistas from the top of high sand bluffs and have the opportunity to view wildlife and plant communities in their natural environment. Stop at one of the scenic overlooks and take a moment to reflect on the influences the Au Sable River has had on the land. The Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center is a great place for just such a stop. Here Michigan's logging era is celebrated with a 14-foot bronze statue and a variety of exhibits and activities. After a tour of the Visitor Center it is easy to envision the Au Sable River crawling with "River Rats" and log jams. The adjoining Monument campground provides an excellent location for overnight camping but with all the activities and attractions found at the Visitor Center, one night may well stretch into a few days or maybe a week.

For those who want to camp along the River Road Scenic Byway but would prefer a quieter, more private location there is, just a few miles away, Rollways campground. A recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome camping-friendly, Rollways offer a semi-wilderness experience in a deep woods environment without the inconvenience of having to hike into some distant location.

Winding through the Huron National Forest is the 220-mile Michigan Shore-to-Shore trail. With a number of undeveloped campgrounds located along the trail, South Branch Trail Camp Camp is the only developed campground convenient to the River Road Scenic Byway. Here, hikers and equestrian riders can enjoy the relative luxury of casually designated campsites and good drinking water.

It should be mentioned, dispersed camping is allowed on most areas of the Forests. Because dispersed camp location are undeveloped by the Forest Service, it is not included in this campground directory. Contact the Manistee National Forest for more information.

The Huron National Forest is proud of the variety of birds found within the Forest. The return of the Bald eagles is only one example of their success at providing a healthy environment for a variety of robust bird populations. Other growing populations found here are ruffed grouse and Kirtland's warbler. Guided walks through their habitat provide an understanding of the contribution birds make to the health of the forest and vice versa. Check with the Forest Service for specific times and location of these walks.

In many ways, the Huron National Forest is a forest waiting to be discovered. The Huron lacks many luxuries, such as flush toilets and RV dump stations, found in the nearby Manistee National Forest, its sister forest. It doesn't have the spectacular scenery or vast expanses of, say, the Hiawatha National Forest. What the Huron National Forest does have is a patchwork of landscapes, a diversity of recreation, and a focus to serving the needs of all its visitors.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 1755 S. Mitchell St. Cadillac, Michigan 49601 800-821-6263 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Huron Shores 5761 North Skeel Ave. Oscoda, Michigan 48750 989-739-0728 Mio 107 McKinley St. Mio, Michigan 48647 989-826-3252

Fred and Suzi Dow