Lake Ottawa Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is 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: There are multiple sites within this area. The campground opens 6/13 with full services, $18 per night, RV dump station available. The day-use picnic area and boat landing are open with toilets and water. A $5 day-use fee in effect on 6/13. Currently, there is no potable water available at this site, please plan accordingly. Sorry for any inconvenience.
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: 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 a night. Day fee is $5.00, Annual Pass is $30.00
Open Season: June 13 - Sept 30
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


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.


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.


Access to Lake Ottawa is available by the boat ramp.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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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 InformationNone
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


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Water Activities

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Picnic tables In each campsite, in the Picnic Shelter, and in the Day Use Area
Drinking water Pressurized Faucets
Toilets Flush Double Units
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
Boat ramp No Fee-Located south of the campground at the end of FR 3118B
Fee charged for some activities Camping is $18 a night. Day fee is $5.00, Annual Pass is $30.00
Tent camping 32 sites
Camping trailer 32 sites