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Friday, January 23, 2009

Good News for Tahquamenon Hikers

Tahquamenon Falls new campsite locations
locations of two new backcountry campsites
by Joan H. Young

Rumors were rumbling about new backcountry campsites being prepared at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. A quick call to Craig M. Krepps, Park Manager, confirms that good news.

Two new sites will be ready for the 2009 hiking season. One of these is on the North Country Trail, and the other is near Clark Lake, which will make Tahquamenon a nice destination for a loop hike. Reasonable hiking distances for a loop, allowing time to see the upper falls, might include a night in the Lake Superior State Forest. See information below.

Camping opportunities until now have been at the Rivermouth Campground (off the map to the right), and at the Lower Falls Campground, both of which are established sites with RV hookups. Although these work fine, they are less appealing to backpackers than more primitive locations. Our wishes are coming true!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park plans on requiring pre-registration with contact/payment options for the transient hikers, and sites being first come/first serve. Each location will have two tent sites, a fire ring, one bear pole, one privy, and natural seating. If these sites receive moderate to heavy use they will consider creating more sites in the future.

Old Stove Road Campsite This site is located at an abandoned canoe/boat access location near the Tahquamenon River. The actual campsite is 200 ft. from the river and 700 ft. from the NCT. The forest in the campsite area is a mixture of Hemlock/Spruce and Birch. This location is very secluded and will also be an excellent location for NCT hikers, canoeists wanting to layover for the night, and hike in campers. It is approx. 3 miles to the lower falls from this site. The GPS coordinance is N46--34.110, W085--10.658. This campground is about 10 trail miles west of the Rivermouth Campground, a reasonable day's hike for most any backpacker. Previously one would have to hike about 14 miles to make the Lower Falls Campground, which can be a stretch for some people.

Clark Lake Campsite: This site is located in a natural bowl in the hardwood hills 300 ft. south of Clark Lake, and 200 ft from the Parks Hiking Trail (Clark lake Loop). The forest in this area is a mixture of Oak and Pine. This site is very secluded with easy access to the picturesque Clark Lake. Park hiking trail users will be able to park at the upper falls, hike 8 miles on the northern trails to this location, and return using the southern trails, 6 miles to the upper falls, at the end of their stay. The Clark Lake Road provides vehicle access within 1/2 mile of this location. GPS coordinance is N46--36.979 W085--14.442. While this site is not on the NCT, it will provide a very nice option for hikers who want to make a loop hike.

Long distance hikers continuing on to the west can easily make Lake Superior State Forest on the following night. Dispersed camping is allowed in Michigan State Forests, but the camper is supposed to display a free permit which must be obtained in advance.

Buy NCTA Maps, Tahquamenon Falls is on MI-09.
See Tahquamenon Falls State Park
See Dispersed Camping on Michigan State Forest Property
Email Craig Krepps

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great addition to folks backpacking the North Country Trail! Thanks to Craig for all he does to promote and improve the NCT in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. It is a super hiking experience!
Ramblin' Rose