The Hiawatha National Forest contains six designated Wildernesses: Big Island Lake, Delirium, Horseshoe Bay, Mackinac, Rock River Canyon, and Round Island. Back-country-style camping is allowed in all these areas, although certain restrictions may apply.  Follow this link for more information about camping and canoeing in Big Island Lake Wilderness.  And use this link to learn about Eben Ices Caves (Rock River Canyon Wilderness), and  here find a vicinity map of Eben Ice Caves. For general information about our other wilderness, click here.

Is the Wilderness Experience for You?
Before you plan your trip into the Wilderness, ask yourself if you really want a Wilderness experience. Although many resort areas serve Upper Michigan, the Wilderness is preserved in a natural state - without roads, electricity, telephones, tap water, trashcans, restrooms, and other amenities offered in some campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the Forest.

The key to enjoying a visit to the wilderness is to plan a trip that matches your experience and expectations. For those interested in “roughing it” camping and off-trail hiking without as many restrictions, many options are available. More information about local opportunities may be obtained by calling the Hiawatha/Pictured Rocks Visitor Center at 906-387-3700 or by writing the Munising Ranger District, Box 400, Munising, MI 49862.

Other recreation opportunities include:

  • Developed campgrounds
  • Dispersed campsites
  • Semi-primitive non-motorized areas
  • Maintained hiking, snowmobile and ski trails.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open year round.
Fees No fees.
Permit Info: No camping permits required.
Busiest Season: Spring & Summer
Water: No drinking water provided.
Restroom: No restrooms, except there are unsheltered wilderness latrines in Big Island Lake Wilderness.

General Information

General Notes:

Wilderness Courtesy

Solitude and nondisruptive enjoyment of the natural setting are essential to the Wilderness Experience. You can help preserve the Hiawatha’s Wildernesses by practicing “Leave No Trace” camping. Here are some good practices to follow:

  • Plan ahead to avoid crowded dates and places.
  • Avoid trampling vegetation--Keep pets under control at all times – if you must bring them.
  • Never pick or collect wildflowers, plant specimens, rocks, pinecones, etc.
  • Allow sufficient space between camps.
  • Leave audio devices and boisterous conduct home.
  • Do not blaze trees or build rock piles to mark your route when traveling off trails. Use a compass.
  • Never bury trash. Animals will dig it up.
  • Always bury human waste and toilet paper at least 200 feet from campsites, trails and water sources. Use a backpacker’s trowel.
  • Choose equipment and clothing in earthtone colors.
  • Keep group size to 6 or fewer people.
  • Pack out what you pack in.



Water Activities

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Areas & Activities


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