• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Backcountry Regulations

North Manitou Island Back Country Regulations

North Manitou is managed as wilderness with the exception of an 27-acre area around the village located along the east side of the island. Travel in the wilderness area is by foot only. We ask that visitors practice the 7-principles of Leave No Trace to ensure the wilderness is preserved for future generations to enjoy.


  • Camping permit and fee payment must be completed before camping.
  • Camping is strictly prohibited within 300 feet of the Lake Michigan high water mark, lakes, streams, ponds, springs, other campsites, and buildings, including historic farm structures.
  • Must camp at least 200 feet from trails.
  • The Village Campground contains seven designated individual sites and one group campsite on a first come first serve basis. There is a limit of two tents and four people per individual sites, group camping is limited to 5-10 people within the designated group site.
  • Campsite "improvements" such as the construction of rock walls, log benches, tree bough beds, new fire rings, and trenches are prohibited.


  • Open fires are prohibited in the wilderness area.
  • Fires are prohibited on the beach
  • Fires are permitted in community fires rings in the Village campground when weather conditions permit
  • Waste food and trash should not be burned in the fire pits
  • Keep fires small and do not leave them unattended.
  • All fires must be properly extinguished with water prior to departure or when left unattended
  • Dead and down wood may be collected for fires in the village campground. Gas stoves are permitted in the wilderness area.


  • Potable water is available only in the village. All other water should be treated.
  • Washing is not permitted at/in any water source
  • Outhouses are located only in the village and Village Campground.
  • All human waste and toilet paper must be buried at least 6 inches deep or packed out.
  • Solid human waste holes (cat holes) must be used out of sight and at least 100 feet from trails, campsites, buildings and must be 300 feet from water.
  • Info on water and sanitation.


  • Because of animals, campers should not store any food in tents or backpacks. Food should be stored in durable bags and suspended from a tree about 6 feet above the ground.
  • All trash must be packed out. Trash cans are located in the Village. Please place empty fuel cans next to the cans.


  • State of Michigan fishing license is required
  • Only artificial lures are allowed on or in Lake Manitou, and Tamarack Lake
  • Bass must be at least 18 inches in size and there is a daily limit of one
  • Boats without motors are permitted on the inland lakes, (wheels may not be used in transporting boats to the lakes)
  • Any watercraft brought to the island to be used in the inland lakes must be decontaminated free of charge by rangers to prevent the spread of non-natives.


  • Pets are prohibited on the island due to disturbance to visitors and wildlife
  • Bicycles, wheeled vehicles, motorized equipment are prohibited.
  • Explosives including fireworks are prohibited
  • Because of nesting piping plover, an endangered species, Dimmicks's Point area is closed to hikers from May 1st through August 15th.
  • Boaters may use the dock for unloading and loading only. Maximum tie-up time is 30 minutes and must not interfere with ferry service operations.
  • North Manitou Island DOES NOT have protected anchorage. Boaters who anchor their craft offshore do so at their own risk.

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