Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camping

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Sylvania and Clark Lake Entrance Station

The Sylvania Wilderness encompasses 18,327 acres of primitive lands and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Visitors can camp in 50 designated campsites within the Sylvania Wilderness. Visitors enjoy endless canoeing, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities.

 

Natural Features: The old-growth forests and pristine lakes in the region provide habitat for a wide range of animal and plant life, including rare orchids, bald eagles, loons and osprey. The wilderness contains 34 named lakes, some with sandy beaches and others surrounded by record-size red and white pines. 

The Ottawa National Forest is comprised of nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western reaches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The forest's rolling, forest covered hills extend from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls are found throughout this beautiful landscape.

Recreation: Sylvania's abundant lakes provide plentiful non-motorized boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities. Other popular activities include hiking and viewing wildlife.

Facilities: Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camp is not a physical campground located at one location. The 50 individual sites are located along eight lakes within the Sylvania Wilderness. Camping is allowed only at designated sites. Campsites are primitive, but each is equipped with a campfire ring and a wilderness latrine.

Camping is permitted at designated sites by permit only. Permits MUST be reserved by visiting Recreation.gov (see details below). No first-come, first-serve walk in sites available in 2020.

Fish Your National Forests: Fish available include: Trout, Native Trout, Bass, Walleye, Panfish, Pike; Types of fishing available include: Wade, Shore, Non-motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Ice; 

Maps:

  • Sylvania Wilderness Map
  • Clarks Lake Campground Map

2020 SYLVANIA WILDERNESS AND RECREATION AREA UPDATES

At a Glance

Current Conditions:  The Sylvania Entrance Station is closed until further notice in 2020. All backcountry campsites must be reserved through recreation.gov between May 15 - September 30.  No walk-up permits wil be issued during this time, all campers must reserve a campsite on recreation.gov, same day reservations are allowed.  Day use fees and backcountry camping fees are charged May 15 - September 30. Sylvania Wilderness
  • Backcountry camping available by reservation only
  • All sites must be reserved through Recreation.Gov (detailed information available here)
  • Current reservation holders will be contacted by Recreation.Gov via email
  • Reservations available starting June 13
  • Sylvania Entrance Station will be closed for the season
Operational Hours: The ENTRANCE STATION is CLOSED FOR THE SEASON to protect the health and safety of our visitors and employees. With the Entrance Station closed, ALL RULES AND REGUALTIONS APPLY, and there is new guidance you must follow for your visit. 
  • All rules and regulations apply and all backcountry campers must camp at a designated site with proof of reservation.
Rules and Regulations for Sylvania can be found on all the bulletin boards at the entrance station, trailheads, and canoe launches.
Reservations: Reservation Required -
  • May 15 to September 30
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Same day reservations available.
  • Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. Camping is first come, first served from October 1 to May 14. 
Rentals & Guides: Sylvania Outfitters http://www.sylvaniaoutfitters.com/ - 906-358-4766
Area Amenities: Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees Required Day Use - May 15 through September 30 Day pass includes use of developed facilities in Sylvania Recreation Area, parking, use of hot showers at Clark Lake Day Use Area. 
  • Season Pass: $30/vehicle
  • Day Pass: $5/vehicle
Note that registered Sylvania Backcountry Campers are not required to pay the day use for parking a vehicle at Clark Lake or Crooked Lake Boat Landing areas to access backcountry campsites.   Camping - May 15 through September 30
  • Wilderness Campsite: $15/night
  • Clark Lake Campground: $18/night
Interagency Pass discounts do not apply to backcountry camping permits.    Camping - October 1 through May 14
  • First come, first served
Permit Info: The ENTRANCE STATION is CLOSED FOR THE SEASON to protect the health and safety of our visitors and employees.
  • $5/vehicle daily fee, please use the fee box at the Entrance Station kiosk or the fee tube located at the Clark Lake Picnic and Beach parking area. DO NOT PAY CAMPING FEES HERE.
  • To obtain a $30 Annual Pass, please call 906-932-1330.  
Open Season: June 13, 2020
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions:
  • Motorized, mechanized or gas-powered vehicles, including motors, snowmobiles, portage wheels and bicycles, are not allowed:
    • Electric Motors allowed on Crooked Lake; maximum thrust of 48lbs (4 HP equivalent).
  • Wheelchairs are allowed
  • Be prepared to portage your canoe
  • Metal or glass food or beverage containers, including deposit bottles, cans and foam containers may not be taken into the wilderness
  • Dogs-
    • Are allowed on a leash in both the Wilderness/Recreation area, can be off leash during hunting seasons.
    • May not be left unattended and are not allowed in the Clark Lake Beach and Swimming area.
  • Aircraft Landings are not allowed, over flights are requested to remain at least 2,000 feet above the ground.
  • Special fishing regulations
Closest Towns: Watersmeet, Mi is 7 miles to the east and Ironwood, Mi is 39 miles to the west.
Water: Handpump at Crooked and Clark Lake landing, pressurized water system at the RV Dump Station
Restroom: Vault toilet at the Entrance Station, Clark and Crooked Lake landing, and Clark Lake Day Use area
Passes:
 

General Information

Directions:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.24472, -89.31056
46°14'41"N, 89°18'38"W

Wilderness campsites can be accessed from Sylvania Recreation Area or from entry points on the perimeter of the wilderness (see map). 

To reach Sylvania Entrance Station and Recreation Area: From Watersmeet, travel approximately 4 miles west on U.S. 2 to County Road 535, then drive south on CR 535 approximately 4 miles south to the Sylvania Recreation Area


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

For those that don't wish to spend the night in the Wilderness we provide a drive in campground with 48 campsites.  There is a pressurized water system, flush toilets, a developed beach and picnic area, a day use building that has showers, and a road system that provides access to Wilderness entry points.

Fire InformationPlease keep camp fires in the fire ring.  Thank You.
No. of Sites48
Reservation InfoReservations are accepted for 24 sites. Twenty-four (24) first come, first served sites are also available. Reservation -
  • 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.
No. of Accessible sites0
Status: Open
Open Season: January-December
Fees: $18 a night
Reservation info: Reservations are accepted for 24 sites. Twenty-four (24) first come, first served sites are also available. Reservation -
  • 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.
Permit required?: Y
Permit: Daytime and overnight visitors to Sylvania are required to have a permit.
Best Season: June-August
Difficulty Level: Easy

Dispersed Camping

Recreation areas with activity Dispersed Camping:

Dispersed Camping in the Sylvania Wilderness is permitted in designated campsites only. Wilderness campsites can be reached by water or by trails. Permits for campsites are required from May 15 to September 30. Sites can be obtained by reserving or on a walk-in basis, depending upon availability. To reserve a Wilderness campsite you can call 1-877-444-6777 or go to www.recreation.gov. A reservation fee is charged. A maximum of six people per campsite is allowed. A fire ring and a wilderness latrine are provided at each site. Click here for a Sylvania Wilderness Map

General Info:

Permits & Regulations

Overnight campers in the Wilderness are required to have a permit which can be obtained from the Entrance Station. Additional special rules apply and can also be obtained from the Entrance Station.


Safety Information

During your visit to the wilderness please be aware of recommended items that every prepared hiker, camper, or outdoor enthusiast should have on any trip into the wilderness:

  • Good Topographic Map and compass
  • Water and high-energy drinks, dried fruit, nuts, etc
  • First Aid Kit, whistle, pocketknife, flashlight
  • Sturdy boots, warm jacket and extra clothing
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent
  • Waterproof matches, lighter and candle for emergency fire starter
  • Trowel, toilet paper, and garbage bags for sanitation

Permits & Regulations

Overnight campers in the Wilderness are required to have a permit which can be obtained from the Entrance Station. Additional special rules apply and can also be obtained from the Entrance Station.


Safety Information

During your visit to the wilderness please be aware of recommended items that every prepared hiker, camper, or outdoor enthusiast should have on any trip into the wilderness:

  • Good Topographic Map and compass
  • Water and high-energy drinks, dried fruit, nuts, etc
  • First Aid Kit, whistle, pocketknife, flashlight
  • Sturdy boots, warm jacket and extra clothing
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent
  • Waterproof matches, lighter and candle for emergency fire starter
  • Trowel, toilet paper, and garbage bags for sanitation

Status: Open
Open Season: January-December
Reservation info: Call 1-877-444-6777 or visit their website www.recreation.gov to make reservations.  A small number of Wilderness campsites are kept for walk up campers.  They must be reserved at the Entrance Station.
Best Season: June-August
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Fishing

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Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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Picnicking

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Water Activities

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Winter Sports

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Amenities

Picnic tables In day use areas and Clark Lake Campground
Drinking water Handpump at Crooked and Clark Lake landing, pressurized water system at the RV Dump Station and Clark Lake Campground
Toilets Vault toilet at the Entrance Station, Clark and Crooked Lake landing, and Clark Lake Day Use area. Flush toilets in the Clark Lake Campground and Clark Lake Day Use Building
Parking At designated trailheads, landings, and day use area
Boat ramp Clark Lake & Crooked Lake - Carry Down Only
Fee charged for some activities Facility Permit and Camping
Tent camping 50 Wilderness campsites and 48 campsites in the Clark Lake Campground
Accessible Toilet in Loop 1 of Campground
Camping trailer 48 campsites in the Clark Lake Campground


https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ottawa/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=12331&actid=29