DNR: Winter camping opportunity available
Yurts are sturdy, round, tent-like structures – the use of which can be traced back through history for an estimated 3,000 years. The yearround yurts found in Michigan’s State Parks have become popular alternative lodging options for winter hikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers wishing to explore some of the most remote locations and stunning scenery the state has to offer.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County currently offers four year-round yurts, while Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County has one yurt on Teddy Lake.
“The Porkies’ yurts are not accessible by snowmobile,” said park manager William Doan. “The yurts offer visitors an alternative experience to a traditional cabin, but they are only accessible by cross-country skis, snowshoes or by hiking in during winter months.”
Yurts at the Porkies are located various distances from parking areas, with some as close as a few hundred yards, to one that requires a nine-mile ski or hike into the forest.
“The nine-mile trek is not for the faint of heart, but is a worthy endeavor for those looking for a unique challenge and an opportunity to truly get in touch with nature,” Doan said.
Craig Lake State Park’s Teddy Lake yurt is located three-anda half miles from the park’s established snowmobile trails, and is an easy snowshoe or crosscountry ski in from the plowed parking area. Park supervisor Douglas Barry says the yurt’s remote location is part of why people seek it out.
February and March of last year with guests coming from as far away as Wisconsin and Grand Rapids.
The yurts found in Michigan’s State Parks are 16 feet in diameter, accommodate four people, and come equipped with bunk beds and mattresses, a table, chairs, and woodstove that can serve as a heater and cooktop. Running water and electricity are not provided, but primitive restrooms and stocked woodsheds are situated nearby. Campers should bring along their own linens, lighting and water.
Along with the yurts located in the Upper Peninsula, the Glenbrook yurt at Pinckney Recreation Area and Green Lake yurt at Waterloo Recreation Area in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula each are available for rental yearround and are supplied with a heating source.