• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Backcountry Camping

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers some of the best backpacking in Michigan. Choose from these 4 options for a unique backcountry experience. Review the Backcountry Camping Regulations before you come.

White Pine Backcountry Camp - Permits for White Pine may be obtained at the Platte River Campground Ranger Station during the summer or from the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center the rest of the year. This camp has 6 sites and is located about 2 miles from the Trail's End Road trailhead on the Platte Plains hiking trail south of Empire just off of M-22. The camp is located about 1/2 mile from the Lake Michigan shore where you can obtain fresh water. There is no well water at White Pine, so if you use water from Lake Michigan, it must be treated before drinking it. Click here to see a map and picture of a typical camp site.

Valley View Backcountry Camp - Permits for Valley View may be obtained at the D.H. Day Campground Ranger Station during the summer or at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center during the rest of the year. This camp has 5 sites and is located northeast of Glen Arbor. Take M-22 about 2 miles north of Glen Arbor to Westman Road. Turn right and drive 1/4 mile on Westman to Hyland Rd. Turn left and drive about 1/4 mile to the trailhead. Click here to see a map and picture of a typical camp site.

The camp has 5 sites and is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The trail is mostly uphill and there is no water available at the camp, so be sure to take all the water you will need. There is a pit toilet near the camp.

South Manitou Island - Camping is permitted at only three locations - the Bay (25 Individual Sites and 3 Group Sites), Weather Station (20 Individual Sites and 3 Group Sites) and Popple Campgrounds (7 Individual Sites). Obtain a map of the island and hiking trails when you get your permit. Low impact camping is the rule. This minimizes human impact on the fragile natural resources. Learn more...

North Manitou Island - Wilderness camping regulations are in effect on North Manitou Island. A backcountry permit and fee payment must be completed before camping. Obtain a map of the island and hiking trails when you obtain your permit. All trash must be packed off the island. Camping is allowed almost anywhere on the island except within 300 feet of the Lake Michigan high water mark, lakes, streams, ponds, springs, buildings or other camps. Camping is prohibited on any trail.

The only designated campground is the Village Campground contains 8 designated campsites, 2 fire rings and one outhouse. There is a limit of 2 tents and 4 people per site. Learn more...

Don't take firewood to the islands! The State of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine strictly prohibits transporting firewood to North and South Manitou Islands. Island campers may collect dead and down wood found on the island for personal use during their visit; however, unused wood must remain on the island.

 

Backcountry Camping Regulations

  1. Camping Permits and Park Passes are required.
  2. Pets are prohibited in the campgrounds.
  3. Camp only in designated sites (does not apply to North Manitou Island).
  4. Fires are permitted only in the communal metal fire rings.
  5. Use down and dead wood only.
  6. Do not leave a fire burning unattended. Put out all fires before leaving the campground.
  7. Carry out all trash.
  8. Snowmobiles, bicycles, or any wheeled vehicle is prohibited from being on the trail or in the campground.

Did You Know?

Lake Michigan Overlook, Sleeping Bear Dunes

The sand and gravel bluffs on the Lake Michigan shore in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are 450 feet above the lake level providing outstanding views and sunsets. On a clear day, you can see South Manitou Island. More...