Lake Ottawa Recreation Area


Area Status: Open
Sign to Lake Ottawa Recreation Area

Lake Ottawa Recreation area is in a beautiful forested northwoods setting located 5 miles southwest of Iron River, MI, on the Iron River Ranger District.  Located in the general area is Lake Ottawa, Brule Lake, Hagerman Lake, Brule River, Bass Lake, the Historic Mile Post Zero/Treaty Tree, The Ge-Che Trail, and miles of hiking trails.  Lake Ottawa Campground is 95% surrounded by National Forest System Land and offers a picnic shelter with two stone fireplaces and original log picnic tables, and two log toilet buildings, which were constructed by the CCC in the late 1930's. A pressurized water system and sewage dump station is located in the campground. Adjacent to the campground is a CCC era day use recreation building, with flush toilets, swimming beach, playing field, picnic areas and boat launch.

For guidelines regarding use of the Day Use Pavillion, check out the attached document:  Lake Ottawa Day Use Guidelines.

Fish Your National Forests: This site can be accessed by Passenger Car; Fish available include: Trout, Native Trout, Bass, Walleye, Panfish; Types of fishing available include: Shore, Motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Bait, Ice; and boat launch available

Map of recreation area (pdf).

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The Lake Ottawa pavilion will be closed for the 2022 season to allow for major rehabilitation work to the interior and exterior of the building.
Reservations: Reservations are accepted for 16 sites.  Fifteen (15) first-come, first-served sites are also available.
  • 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 to make a reservation.
Area Amenities: Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees:
  • Camping is $18/night.
  • Use of the day use area or boat landing is $5/day or $30 annual pass.
  • To purchase an annual pass, call 906-932-1330.
Open Season: July 1 - October 2
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: June-September
Busiest Season: July-August
Restrictions: Camping in a developed recreation site is allowed for a period not longer than 14 days, except as otherwise posted. After this time, you must move to another campground or dispersed site for at least 24 hours. Campers must occupy the site the first night. Eight people and 2 motorized vehicles are allowed per campsite with a maximum of one RV or camper trailer and two tents per camping site or three tents per camping site.
Closest Towns: Iron River, Michigan 5 miles to the east.
Water: Drinking water-Pressurized Faucets
Restroom: Flush
Passes: Golden Age/Interagency Senior and Access Passes Accepted
Operated By: Northwoods Property Management under a special use permit. Contact Chase Erickson at 906-396-5428.
Information Center: The day use area is managed by the Ottawa National Forest. For more information or questions please contact the Watersmeet – Iron River Ranger District at 906-358-4724.

General Information

Directions:

From Iron River, Mi., travel west on US 2, turn south on M 73, travel approximately 3/4 mile, turn west on Lake Ottawa Road and travel approximately 4 miles to the campground.

From Watersmeet, Mi., travel 28 miles east on US 2, turn south on M 73, travel approximately 3/4 mile, turn west on Lake Ottawa Road and travel approximately 4 miles to the campground.


Directions:

To access the headwaters area take US 2 West out of Iron River to ICR 436 and turn right. The road will turn to the right and the river runs under the road at that point.


Accessibility:

Access to Lake Ottawa is available by the boat ramp.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Lake Ottawa Recreation area is in a beautiful forested northwoods setting located 5 miles southwest of Iron River, MI., on the Iron River Ranger District.  Located in the general area is Lake Ottawa, Brule Lake, Hagerman Lake, Brule River, Bass Lake, the Historic Mile Post Zero/Treaty Tree, The Ge-Che Trail, and miles of hiking trails.  Lake Ottawa Campground is 95% surrounded by National Forest System Land and offers a picnic shelter with two stone fireplaces and original log picnic tables, and two log toilet buildings, which were constructed by the CCC in the late 1930's. A pressurized water system and sewage dump station is located in the campground. Adjacent to the campground is a CCC era day use recreation building with flush toilets, fireplace, swimming beach, playing field, picnic areas, and boat launch.

General Info:

Seasonal Information

 

The campground is scheduled to open with full services the Friday before Memorial Day.  This date is subject to change, please contact the Watersmeet – Iron River Ranger District at 906-358-4551 for additional information.


No. of Sites 32
Reservation Info No Reservations 
Fire Information Yes in Fire Rings
No. of Accessible sites 0
Sleeping Shelter No
Status: Open
Fees: $18 a night - Sites are available by reservation on Recreation.gov.
Reservation info: Reservations are accepted for 16 sites.  Fifteen (15) first-come, first-served sites are also available.
  • 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 to make a reservation.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Located adjacent to the Lake Ottawa Campground this deep cold water lake provides fishermen with a good variety of game fish. There is a boat ramp with ample parking for trailers.
 

General Info:

Accessibility

Access to Lake Ottawa is available by the boat ramp.


Fishing Mode Boat or Bank
Fish Species Northern Pike, Walleye, Bass, and Panfish
 
Special Designations Boat Ramp
Fishing Platform Yes
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Mixed Cold/warm
Accessible Platform Yes
Fishing Method Varries
Water/Flow Level 54 Feet
Status: Open
Open Season: May-September
Best Season: May
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Iron River headwaters start northwest of Iron River and travels through Iron River and turns south to where it flows into the Brule River. To access the headwaters area take US 2 west out of Iron River to ICR 436 and turn right. The road will turn to the right and the river runs under the road at that point.

General Info:

Directions

To access the headwaters area take US 2 West out of Iron River to ICR 436 and turn right. The road will turn to the right and the river runs under the road at that point.


Fish Species Brook Trout and Brown Trout
Fishing Mode Bank, Wade or Float
Fishing Platform None
Cleaning Station None
Accessible Platform None
Status: Open
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Ge-Che Trail-Several different options are available. Length is approximately 9 miles on a dirt Trail. This trail provides scenery of primarily hardwood forest. This trail is accessible from Lake Ottawa Campground boat landing and also from the campground. Travel west on US 2 from Iron River, turn south on M 73, travel approximately 3/4 mile, turn west on Lake Ottawa Road and travel 4 miles to the campground entrance.
 

Fire Information None
Current Conditions: For public safety, portions of the Ge Che Cross Country Ski Trail will be closed for the 2015 - 2016 winter season.  Closures are due to logging operations in the area and increased logging traffic.  This closure includes all sections of the trail that run through active timber sale areas.  View these segments of closed trail here.   For additional information contact the Ottawa Visitor Center at 906-358-4724.
Status: Open
Difficulty Level: Easy

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Lake Ottawa day use area provides indoor facilities for a group picnic and a large outdoor picnic area complete with picnic tables and grills.  The area is large enough to provide plenty of space for all.  Also located in the same area is an athletic field.

 

No. of Sites 15
Fire Information Fireplace in the Day Use Building.  There are several grills in the outdoor picnic area
No. of Accessible Sites 0
No. of Accessible sites 1
Status: Closed
Open Season: May-September
Fees: No Fee
Best Season: July
Hours of Operation: 6am - 10pm daily
Difficulty Level: Easy

Group Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Group Picnicking:

Lake Ottawa provides a public day use building that provides indoor seating for eating or parties.  The building has a fireplace, electricity, and flushing toilets.  In addition to the day use building there is a very large picnic area complete with picnic tables and grills.  The area also has an athletic field for family fun. 

No. of Sites 1
No. of Accessible Sites 0
Status: Closed
Open Season: May-September
Fees: The Clark Lake Pavilion is closed and will not be accepting reservations via Recreation.gov for the 2021 season. Use of the day use area or boat landing is $5/day use fee or $30 annual pass. To purchase an annual pass, call 906-932-1330.
Best Season: July-August
Hours of Operation: 6am - 10pm daily
Difficulty Level: Easy

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

Located adjacent the Lake Ottawa Campground this large deep cold water lake provides fishermen with a good variety of species of game fish. There is a boat ramp with ample parking for trailers. 

Trailer Parking Yes
Launch Ramps Yes, Concrete Base, no charge to launch boat
Class of rapids None
Motor Type N/A
Fuel availability No
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Brule River provides 25 miles of floatable/canoeable river. M 73 bridge to Hwy 189 bridge, 13 miles; Hwy 189 bridge to Pentoga bridge, 12 miles. Access at the Brule River Campground on the Wisconsin side just south of the M 73 bridge. Vehicles may be parked in the campground, but do not block the camp spurs. Low flow hazards consist of rapids and old logging dams.

Launch Ramps No
Trailer Parking No
Class of rapids Class I and II. Expect some bumping on the river bottom during low flow conditions.
Type of Craft Canoe/Kayak
Fuel availability No
Water/Flow Level High Flow period is before May 15 (Not For Beginners.)
Marina/Mooring No
Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult

Swimming

Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

Lake Ottawa has a sandy beach and swim area available located in the day use area.  The swimming area is marked with buoys and rope.  Please be advised there is no lifeguard on duty. 

Clothing Requirements Bathing Suit Required. No Lifeguard On Duty
Status: Open
Open Season: May-September
Best Season: June-August
Hours of Operation: 6am-10pm daily
Difficulty Level: Easy

Amenities

Camping trailer: 32 sites
Picnic tables: In each campsite, in the Picnic Shelter, and in the Day Use Area
Tent camping: 32 sites
Parking: Large Parking area near the Day Use Building, at the Boat Landing Parking Lot, and a 3 vehicle parking area is available in the campground
Toilets: Flush Double Units
Fee charged for some activities: Camping is $18 a night. Day fee is $5.00, Annual Pass is $30.00
Boat ramp: Located at end of FR 3118-B, just past day use area, requires a $5/day use fee or $30 annual pass.
Drinking water: Pressurized Faucets

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
46.075046

  Longitude : 
-88.765882