The DNR has closed or modified public access to many locations, activities and services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, while most public land is currently open for local day use, state park and forest campgrounds are currently closed. As of Friday, May 29, dispersed camping on state forest land is open.
Please check our DNR COVID-19 Response webpage for the latest information, and our COVID-19 FAQ webpage for answers to many of your questions on fishing, hunting, trails, parks, burn permits, camping and more.
State park campgrounds are expected to open June 22 and forest campgrounds on June 10. Learn more about the timeline for opening Michigan's state campgrounds.
Are you looking for a rustic camping experience? Throw on your backpack and experience sandy shorelines, stunning vistas, the silence of an old-growth forest, the sound of rushing water and an evening under the stars.
Backpacking (dispersed camping) in state forests
Are you looking for a rustic camping experience? Throw on your backpack (or camp from your vehicle) and make your own campsite in a state forest. Backpacking or car camping (also known as dispersed camping) is permitted on state forest land as long as your site is located more than one mile from a state forest campground. It's free of charge.
The following rules apply:
- The campsite cannot be located in a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state game area and must be located more than one mile from a state forest campground. See a map of state forests and campgrounds.
- The campsite or adjacent area cannot be posted "No Camping."
- A camp registration card (PDF) must be prominently posted at the campsite for the duration of the stay. It's your responsibility to ensure that the registration card remains legible. Placing the card in a zip-top bag is recommended.
- State land rules must be followed at all times.
Rustic hike-in camping in state parks
Rustic hike-in camping options are located in designated campsites and have limited camping amenities. Campsites are typically located near drinking water and primitive toilet facilities (unlike backcountry options listed below).
- Bewabic State Park - Rustic Hike-in
- Ionia Recreation Area - Beechwood Rustic Hike-in
- Ludington State Park - Rustic Hike-in
- Negwegon State Park - Rustic Hike-in
- Pinckney Recreation Area - Blind Lake Rustic Hike-in
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Rustic Hike-in
- Waterloo Recreation Area - The Pines Rustic Hike-In
- Wilderness State Park - Rustic Hike-in
Backcountry camping in state parks
Backcountry camping options are located in designated campsites and aren’t located near a road or in a developed area. These campsites aren't outfitted with amenities (ie. fire rings, picnic tables) and typically can only be reached by foot or boat.