How big are the Mirror Lake campgrounds in the Porkies?

ThaSaint

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Jul 26, 2022
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Hello everyone, thanks in advance for your help! We're planning a backpacking trip with 5 people through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and will be staying at the Mirror Lake ML-3 backcountry campsite in late August. Does anyone have an idea of how many tents we could fit in this campsite? Also, can anyone predict how bad the bugs will be this time of year?
 

Janice

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Hope you'll have a wonderful trip! We camped near ML-3 at ML-2 (6 of us in 4 tents) and it was very nice. I just found this short youtube video showing ML-3. Looks like you'll have a great site! We were there in late July 2020, and the bugs were medium - fine most of the time during the day but biting at dusk and when we paused for too long in the woods near Govt. Peak. Recent rainfall impacts the bug situation, and I know there was a big storm July 23. You'll probably want to bring bug spray and/or treat your clothes ahead of time.
 

ThaSaint

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Jul 26, 2022
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Hope you'll have a wonderful trip! We camped near ML-3 at ML-2 (6 of us in 4 tents) and it was very nice. I just found this short youtube video showing ML-3. Looks like you'll have a great site! We were there in late July 2020, and the bugs were medium - fine most of the time during the day but biting at dusk and when we paused for too long in the woods near Govt. Peak. Recent rainfall impacts the bug situation, and I know there was a big storm July 23. You'll probably want to bring bug spray and/or treat your clothes ahead of time.
Awesome, thank you so much Janice for the info, it is really helpful. I'm really looking forward to our trip!
 

ThaSaint

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I grew up in the Detroit area and live in Chicago now. There aren't a lot of great options for outdoor activities near Chicago, but Wisconsin and Michigan are doable if I take Friday off from work.

I've done backpacking at Pictured Rocks and Grand Island. Do you have any suggestions for other good backpacking areas in Michigan or Wisconsin?
 

Janice

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If you want a 1 or 2 night trip, the Manistee River Trail combined with North Country Trail is a nice loop. It might be crowded on the weekend, and the scenery is not spectacular the way Pictured Rocks is, but it's still worth considering. Here's my trip report from 2021.

Have you been to Isle Royale? That's not a weekend trip, and it takes some planning to get there (boat or seaplane), but it's fabulous!
 

whiskypig

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Sep 21, 2019
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The Trap Hills segment of the NCT is gorgeous--like the Porkies without any people. With two vehicles you can plan trips of varying lengths 1-3 days or you can hike in and set up a base camp on one of the bluffs. Great trip when the leaves are turning.

There are some Ice Age Trail segments in WI that make good 1-2 night trips. I hiked in a few miles on the Underdown segment this spring and it made a nice overnight. It is in a county forest and laced with side trails to make loop options. Lots of bugs in the summer though.

Lastly, either the North or the South Manitou island in Sleeping Bear Dunes--both make great weekend trips in summer.
 
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