Au Sable River Primitive Camping

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Au Sable RiverAusable 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.

Maps are available on that show where each campsite is located. 

Brochure with map:

  • River Road National Scenic Byway (pdf) - this brochure shows River Road, the Au Sable River and Lumberman's Monument
  • Highbanks River Trail Map (coming soon)
  • Eagle Run Trail Map (coming soon)

The brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller. The trail maps are set to printon 8.5x11 paper.

Flickr Photo Albums:

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Annual services at the site will resume for spring on April 15.
Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted. Forest quiet hours apply.
Reservations: Reservations needed from April 15 to November 31. Visit to make reservations.
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: $10.00
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).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Open Season: April 15 - November 30
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: April to October
Restrictions: As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors. These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders -
  • Au Sable River and Cooke Pond Semi-primitive Motorized Areas, shorelines of Alcona Pond and the Eable Run Trail System; R904-14-21
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas; R904-14-02
  • Occupancy and Use; R904-14-03
Highlights - Camping is prohibited, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
Water: None
Restroom: None
Operated By: Huron Shores Ranger Station - (989) 739-0728
Information Center:

General Information


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.

  • Some sites are boat-in/walk-in only.
  • Some sites a high clearance vehicle is recommended to access them.
  • Sites are hard-packed dirt.


Camping & Cabins

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Water Activities

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