wilderness state park

Wilderness State Park: Explore Michigan

Welcome to Wilderness State Park, a stunning natural destination in Michigan that offers a wealth of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery. Located just 11 miles west of Mackinaw City, this park is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, diverse trails, and unique camping opportunities, Wilderness State Park is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Michigan’s wilderness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wilderness State Park is located 11 miles west of Mackinaw City, Michigan.
  • The park offers 26 miles of breathtaking Lake Michigan shoreline.
  • There are over 20 miles of scenic trails for hiking and exploring.
  • Wilderness State Park is a designated dark sky preserve, perfect for stargazing.
  • Camping options include modern campsites, rustic cabins, and tent sites.

Essential Information

When planning a visit to Wilderness State Park, it’s important to have all the essential information to make the most of your trip. Located just 11 miles west of Mackinaw City in Michigan, this natural paradise offers a range of amenities and activities for visitors of all ages.

Park Location: Wilderness State Park is situated in Michigan, 11 miles west of Mackinaw City. Its convenient location makes it easily accessible for both local and out-of-state visitors.

When it comes to accommodations, Wilderness State Park has you covered. The park offers over 250 modern campsites, rustic bunkhouses, and tent sites for those who prefer a more immersive outdoor experience. In addition to camping, there are also hiking trails that wind through the park’s diverse terrain, a designated swimming beach for cooling off during the summer months, and opportunities for boating and fishing.

It’s worth noting that while there is no Wi-Fi available at the park, cell reception is good for Verizon users. This allows visitors to stay connected while still enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Essential Information
Park Location 11 miles west of Mackinaw City, Michigan
Amenities Modern campsites, rustic bunkhouses, tent sites, hiking trails, swimming beach, boating and fishing opportunities
Cell Reception Good for Verizon users

Park Highlights

Lake Michigan Shoreline

Wilderness State Park offers a plethora of breathtaking highlights that make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers. One of the park’s standout features is its impressive 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. With its pristine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, visitors can enjoy a wide range of beach activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and picnicking. The stunning views of the expansive lake and its surrounding natural beauty create a serene and tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and recreation.

Another remarkable highlight of Wilderness State Park is its designation as a dark sky preserve. The park’s remote location and limited light pollution provide excellent conditions for stargazing and observing the night sky. Visitors can marvel at the countless stars, constellations, and even catch a glimpse of shooting stars or the Milky Way. The park’s dark sky preserve status offers a unique opportunity to connect with the natural wonders of the universe and appreciate the beauty of the night sky.

Additionally, Wilderness State Park is home to the historic Waugoshance Lighthouse. This 170-year-old lighthouse stands as a testament to the region’s maritime heritage and adds a touch of history to the park’s landscape. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the lighthouse from certain areas within the park, providing a fascinating glimpse into the past and a picturesque backdrop for memorable photographs. Moreover, the park’s eastern side offers a panoramic view of the iconic Mackinac Bridge, adding to the park’s allure and providing an excellent vantage point for capturing stunning images.

Table: Park Highlights

Lake Michigan Shoreline Dark Sky Preserve Waugoshance Lighthouse Mackinac Bridge
26 miles of stunning shoreline Perfect for stargazing and observing the night sky A historic lighthouse that adds charm to the park Offers views of the iconic Mackinac Bridge
Opportunities for beach activities Connect with the wonders of the universe Offers a glimpse into the region’s maritime heritage Panoramic view and excellent photo opportunities


nature photography

When visiting Wilderness State Park, there are a variety of activities to enjoy, catering to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. From camping to hiking, wildlife observation to nature photography, the park offers something for everyone.


With over 250 modern campsites available, camping is a popular activity at Wilderness State Park. Whether you prefer a rustic camping experience or the convenience of modern amenities, there are options to suit every preference. The Lakeshore and Pines areas provide beautiful camping sites, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings.


Exploring the park’s more than 20 miles of scenic trails is an excellent way to experience the diverse terrain and abundant wildlife. The trails include sections of the famous North Country Trail, providing opportunities for both leisurely strolls and challenging hikes. As you navigate through the park, you may encounter beavers, rabbits, woodpeckers, and other fascinating creatures along the way.

Wildlife Observation and Nature Photography

Wilderness State Park is a haven for nature lovers and photographers, offering ample opportunities to observe wildlife and capture stunning images. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or wish to photograph the park’s picturesque landscapes, the park’s diverse ecosystem provides countless subjects to explore. From the bustling activity of beavers building their dams to the tranquil beauty of a sunset over Lake Michigan, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to experience and document.

Activity Description
Camping Enjoy a camping experience surrounded by nature in one of the park’s over 250 modern campsites. Choose between rustic or modern amenities based on your preferences.
Hiking Embark on a hike along the park’s more than 20 miles of scenic trails, including sections of the North Country Trail. Explore the diverse terrain and encounter a variety of wildlife along the way.
Wildlife Observation Observe the park’s abundant wildlife, including beavers, rabbits, woodpeckers, and more. Take in the beauty of nature and witness animals in their natural habitat.
Nature Photography Capture the stunning landscapes and unique wildlife found in Wilderness State Park. Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply enjoy taking pictures, the park provides endless opportunities for memorable shots.



When visiting Wilderness State Park, visitors have a variety of accommodation options to choose from. Whether you prefer camping in a tent, staying in a rustic cabin, or enjoying the amenities of a modern campsite, the park has something for everyone.

Camping Options:

  • Over 250 modern campsites divided into two areas: Lakeshore and Pines
  • Rustic cabins available for a unique camping experience
  • Tent sites with stunning views of Lake Michigan’s shoreline

For those who prefer a more traditional camping experience, the tent sites at Wilderness State Park offer a serene and picturesque setting. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline and take in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. The rustic cabins provide a cozy and secluded atmosphere, perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation.

If you prefer modern amenities, the park’s modern campsites are equipped with electricity, water, and access to clean bathroom facilities. They offer a comfortable and convenient camping experience while still allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Whatever accommodation option you choose, Wilderness State Park provides a tranquil and scenic backdrop for your outdoor adventure.

Exploring the Area

Exploring the Area

When visiting Wilderness State Park, take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and discover nearby attractions. One popular attraction is the Tunnel of Trees, a picturesque drive along a tree-lined road that offers stunning views, especially during the fall season. As you wind through the tunnel of colorful foliage, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of nature.

Another option for exploration is a visit to the historic towns of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. These charming towns are just a short drive away from Wilderness State Park and offer a variety of attractions, including unique shops, delicious dining options, and fascinating museums. You can also enjoy the scenic beauty of Sturgeon Bay, which is located within the park and provides a serene setting for relaxation and exploration.

With Wilderness State Park’s 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach and search for unique rocks and shells, or simply soak in the breathtaking views of the crystal-clear water and distant horizon. You may even spot some wildlife along the way, such as birds or deer.

Attraction Distance from Wilderness State Park
Tunnel of Trees 20 miles
Mackinaw City 11 miles
St. Ignace 18 miles
Sturgeon Bay Within the park

Exploring the area around Wilderness State Park will add an extra layer of adventure to your visit. Whether you choose to drive through the enchanting Tunnel of Trees, explore the historic towns nearby, or simply relax on the shores of Lake Michigan, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, don’t forget to set aside some time to venture beyond the park and discover the beauty and attractions that await you.

Services and Facilities

Wilderness State Park Facilities

When visiting Wilderness State Park, you can enjoy a range of convenient services and facilities that enhance your outdoor experience. Whether you need a place to freshen up, access to boating activities, or a spot for fishing, the park has you covered.

The park offers clean and well-maintained bathrooms and showers in various areas, ensuring that you can stay refreshed during your stay. These facilities are regularly cleaned and maintained to provide visitors with a comfortable and hygienic experience.

If you’re a boating enthusiast, Wilderness State Park provides boating access with a designated boat launch area. You can easily launch your boat and explore the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan. Don’t forget to check the park’s rules and regulations regarding boating activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

For those who enjoy fishing, the park also features a fishing pond where you can cast your line and try your luck. Spend a relaxing day surrounded by nature and indulge in your favorite pastime. Remember to follow any fishing guidelines and regulations set by the park to preserve the ecosystem and maintain the park’s natural beauty.

Amenities at a Glance

Facility Description
Bathrooms Well-maintained facilities located throughout the park
Showers Convenient areas to freshen up during your visit
Boating Access Designated boat launch area for easy access to Lake Michigan
Fishing Pond A serene fishing spot within the park’s boundaries

Park History

Wilderness State Park has a fascinating history that showcases the rich heritage of the surrounding area. One of the notable landmarks within the park is the historic Waugoshance Lighthouse, which has stood proudly on the shores of Lake Michigan for over 170 years. This iconic lighthouse serves as a reminder of the maritime history of the Great Lakes region and offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The Waugoshance Lighthouse stands as a testament to the resilience of early sailors and the enduring beauty of the park’s coastal landscape.

Another remarkable feature that can be seen from Wilderness State Park is the awe-inspiring Mackinac Bridge. Spanning the Straits of Mackinac, this engineering marvel connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. As visitors explore the park, they can catch glimpses of this iconic bridge, adding to the sense of wonder and appreciation for the ingenuity of human construction.

“The Waugoshance Lighthouse and the Mackinac Bridge are not only architectural marvels but also symbols of the history, beauty, and resilience of this region. Their presence within Wilderness State Park enhances the overall experience for visitors, allowing them to connect with the past and marvel at the achievements of human endeavor.”

Throughout the park, visitors can also find various interpretive displays and exhibits that provide further insights into the rich history of the area. These exhibits offer an educational and engaging experience, helping visitors understand the significance of Wilderness State Park’s cultural and natural heritage.

Table: Historical Highlights

Year Event
1848 Construction of the Waugoshance Lighthouse
1957 Opening of the Mackinac Bridge
1990 The establishment of Wilderness State Park

Wilderness State Park’s rich history, with its iconic Waugoshance Lighthouse and views of the majestic Mackinac Bridge, adds an extra layer of depth and fascination to the park’s natural beauty. Exploring the park offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stories and achievements of the past while appreciating the stunning landscapes that have captivated visitors for generations.

Planning Your Visit

When planning your visit to Wilderness State Park, it’s important to know the park hours and any seasonal closures. The park is open year-round, but certain areas may have restricted access during the nesting season of the Piping Plovers. Before heading out, check the park’s website or contact the park office for the most up-to-date information.

There is an entrance fee to enter Wilderness State Park, which can be paid at the park’s entrance. The fee helps support the park’s maintenance and preservation efforts. Remember to bring cash or a credit/debit card for payment.

If you’re planning to stay overnight, it’s highly recommended to make reservations for camping and accommodations in advance, especially during peak season. Wilderness State Park offers a variety of camping options, including modern campsites, rustic cabins, and tent sites. Reservations can be made online or by contacting the park office.

Lastly, before your visit, it’s a good idea to check for any updates or alerts regarding weather-related closures or improvement projects. This will ensure that you have the most enjoyable and hassle-free experience during your time at Wilderness State Park.


Where is Wilderness State Park located?

Wilderness State Park is located just 11 miles west of Mackinaw City in Michigan.

What amenities does Wilderness State Park offer?

Wilderness State Park offers modern campsites, rustic bunkhouses, and tent sites. There are also hiking trails, a designated swimming beach, and opportunities for boating and fishing.

Can I access Wi-Fi at Wilderness State Park?

No, there is no Wi-Fi available at the park, but cell reception is good for Verizon users.

What are the highlights of Wilderness State Park?

The highlights of Wilderness State Park include its stunning 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, its designation as a dark sky preserve for stargazing, and the 170-year-old Waugoshance Lighthouse.

What activities can I do at Wilderness State Park?

You can enjoy camping, hiking on the park’s trails, observe wildlife, and engage in nature photography.

What types of accommodations are available at Wilderness State Park?

Wilderness State Park offers modern campsites, rustic cabins, tent sites, and a bunkhouse that sleeps 12.

What nearby attractions can I explore while visiting Wilderness State Park?

Some nearby attractions include the Tunnel of Trees scenic drive and the historic towns of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

What services and facilities does Wilderness State Park provide?

Visitors can access bathrooms and showers throughout the park, enjoy boating access, and fish in designated areas.

What is the history of Wilderness State Park?

The park is home to the iconic 170-year-old Waugoshance Lighthouse and offers views of the famous Mackinac Bridge.

What should I know when planning my visit to Wilderness State Park?

Visitors should be aware of park hours, entrance fees, and the importance of making reservations in advance for camping and accommodations.

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