Au Sable River Primitive Camping

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Ausable River Primitive Camping is not a physical campground located at one location. A series of 102 individually designated single-family campsites are located on a 55-mile stretch of the Ausable River shoreline and bluffs within Alcona and Iosco Counties, from 4001 Bridge to Oscoda. 
 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Reservations needed from May 15 to September 30.
Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted. Forest quiet hours apply.
Rentals & Guides: Canoe Rentals -
  • Glennie:
    • Alcona Canoe Rental
  • Hale:
    • Rollways Resort
  • Mio:
    • Gotts Landing
    • Hinchman's Acres Resort
  • Oscoda:
    • Au Sable River Kayaking Company LLC; B & B LLC (Hunts)
    • Oscoda Canoe Rental
Fees Fees - One Time Fee -
  • Reservation: $9.00
Camping -
  • Per Night: $10.00
Permit Info: Camping -
  • No permit or reservation is required outside of the permitted season.
  • Camping Permit required at primitive campsites from May 15 to September 10.
Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
Open Season: May 15
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: May 15 to September 30
Busiest Season: April to October
Restrictions: Forest-wide Closures - Camping Camping in Developed Recreation Areas
  • Camping in a developed campground for a period longer than 14 consecutive days unless posted otherwise.
  • Entering or being in a developed recreation site or portion thereof when posted CLOSED.
  • Entering or remaining in a campground between 10 PM and 6 AM when posted - except for properly registered campers.
  • Using a developed campsite by more than eight (8) people on a single unit or by more than sixteen (16) people on a double site.
  • Parking or leaving a vehicle in violation of posted instructions, including the use of a handicap-parking site without a valid state permit properly displayed.
  • Parking a vehicle outside the parking space assigned to one's own camp unit or other designated parking area.
  • Occupying a developed campsite by parking more than one camper, trailer, or motor home (RV) on a single unit site. Parking more than two camping vehicles or camping trailers on a double unit site or exceeding limits to group sites unless otherwise posted.
  • Parking, possessing, or leaving more than two vehicles per single unit camp site or four vehicles per double unit sites, except bicycles, motorcycles, or ATV's on trailers, unless posted otherwise.
Being publicly nude Storing Watercraft
  • Storing, mooring, or leaving a boat or raft over 24 hours.
Parking
  • Parking in violation of posted instructions.
Water: None
Restroom: None
Operated By: Huron Shores Ranger Station - (989) 739-0728

General Information

Directions:

Alcona Pond - located approximately 6 miles west of Glennie and 10 miles southeast of McKinley. 

Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area - Between Alcona Dam and Loud Pond, access is at Alcona Dam, Thompson's Landing or Loud Dam.

Loud Pond - located 20 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 18 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas.  The access is located at Loud Dam. 

Five Channels - located approximately 19-miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 16-miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette Road and River Road.  The access is at Five Channels Dam.

Cooke Pond - located 15 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 14 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette Road and River Road. Access is at Pine Acres, Sawmill Point and Cooke Dam.

Sawmill Point - Located 15 miles west of Oscoda on River Rod.  Turn north on Cooke Dam Rd.

Foote Pond - located approximately 7 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 14 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette and River Roads. Access at Cooke Dam, Foote Site Park.

Lower Au Sable Primitive Camping - located on the east stretch of the Au Sable River, west of Oscoda/Au Sable. Access is at Foote Dam or Whirlpool Angler Access.

 


General Notes:

Location - Lower Au Sable River

Nearby Recreation Areas -

  • River Road National Scenic Byway
  • Whirlpool Angler Access

County - Oscoda

Seasonal and Other Information -

  • Camping is allowed outside of the permitted season at designated sites.  However:
    • Sites are not maintained in the winter.
    • Access and/or parking lots are not plowed.

Activities


Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

Alcona Pond - is a 953-acre impoundment about 5-miles long the mainstream of the AuSable River.  \

Loud Pond - The impoundment is 937-acres about 3-miles long.

Five Channels - a 237-acre impoundment approximately 4-miles long along the mainstream of the Au Sable River. 

Cooke Pond - is a 1,942-acre impoundment behind Cook Dam on the mainstream of the Au Sable River. 

Sawmill Point - access roads are narrow with tight turns and large recreational vehicles are not recommended. 

Foote Pond - a 1,824-acre impoundment behind Foote Dam on the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The impoundment is 0.5 miles long and consists of two separate aquatic environments.  The lower half is an urban lake, the upper half is bound by the National Forest and is a wide river environment.  Access roads are sandy, narrow and tight turns and large recreational vehicles are not recommended.  There is limited turning space at the motor vehicle accessible sites. 

Au Sable Semi Primitive Nonmotorized Area - 12-mile segment of the Au Sable River.

Sleeping ShelterNo
Reservation Info Reservation needed -
  • May 15 to September 30
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. All sites are first come, first served outside of the reservation season.
No. of Sites   Alcona Pond:
  • Drive-in: 1
  • Boat-in: 6
Loud Pond:
  • Boat-in/Walk-in: 7
Five Channels:
  • Boat-in: 4
Cooke Pond:
  • Drive-in: 42
Sawmill Point:
  • Drive-in: 16
Foote Pond:
  • Drive-in: 13
  • Boat-in/Walk-in: 11
Au Sable River Semi Primitive Nonmotorized:
  • Drive-in: 13
Fees: Reservation, Camping
Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y

RV Camping

Reservation InfoReservation needed -
  • May 15 to September 10
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.

Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.

All sites are first come, first served outside of the reservation season.

 

Hookup - WaterNo
Vehicle ClearenceHigh
No. of SitesAlcona Pond:
  • Drive-in: 1

Cooke Pond:

  • Drive-in: 42

Sawmill Point:

  • Drive-in: 16

Foote Pond:

  • Drive-in: 13

Au Sable River Semi Primitive Nonmotorized:

  • Drive-in: 13
Size Restrictions25 ft. or Less
Hookups - ElectricNo
Dump StationsNo
Pavement Type for ParkingDirt/Gravel
Hookup - SewerNo
Fees: Reservation, Camping
Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y
Difficulty Level: Easy

Fishing

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Water Activities

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