Boondocking in Michigan
Huron–Manistee National Forest
975,130 acres (3,946.2 km2)
Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary is located around a small spring-fed lake in the forest. The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness has sand dunes up to 140 ft (43 m) high along Lake Michigan.
Hiawatha National Forest
898,475 acres (3,636.0 km2)
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Hiawatha National Forest borders Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. The forest is home to Grand Island National Recreation Area and five wilderness areas.
Ottawa National Forest
990,961 acres (4,010.3 km2)
Located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Ottawa National Forest stretches from Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. There are 500 named lakes, nearly 2,000 mi (3,200 km) of streams, and three wilderness areas in the forest.
There is paid camping on land from the Bureau of Land Management but there is dispersed camping (camping away from developed recreation facilities and paid camping) that is allowed on most of the remaining property. Dispersed camping is allowed as long as it follows the state’s guidelines, is not posted as “closed to camping”, and is not in conflict with authorized uses or affects wildlife and natural resources.
You can stay on dispersed camping sites not to exceed 2 weeks within a 28 consecutive-day period. Camping rules vary depending on the office of location and they cannot leave any personal property unattended for more than 10 days or 12 months in Alaska. Please check with your local office for details on camping limitations.
These rules may change so please consult the BLM website.
Selecting a Campsite
You can find dispersed campsites along most of the secondary roads which can be recognized by flat areas that show that it has been camped before. It is recommended to reuse past dispersed camping sites to lower the potential of disturbing the surrounding area.
Please follow the no-trace rule when dispersed camping so that we can use this privilege.
Please consult the regional information for the state you wish to camp in before picking a spot.
Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services; such as trash removal, and little or no facilities; such as tables and fire pits, are provided. Some popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets.USFS (US Forest Service)
Consult this list of USDA US Forest Service Offices to find out where you are allowed to disperse camp.
Please follow the no-trace guidelines.
Region 9: Eastern Region
626 East Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
The National Park Service calls boondocking “Backcountry Camping” and the only allowed boondocking is hike-in only so no RVs or vehicles are allowed.