7 Reasons Why Baraga State Park Is A Perfect Base Camp for Upper Peninsula Adventure
Out of all the state parks we’ve camped at in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one of the handful we find ourselves returning to frequently is Baraga State Park. We love the campground layout, close proximity to local waterfalls, and excellent day trip options in every direction. Today we will look at why we think Baraga State Park is a perfect base camp for Upper Peninsula adventure as we take a deeper look at all the reasons we love this 56-acre park on the shore of the Keweenaw Bay.
Beautiful campground – No matter what equipment you bring along when camping, Baraga State Park has you covered. Tent campers will find level, grassy spots and RV campers will find all the needed hookups as well as select pull-thru sites. The park even has a teepee and a mini cabin for those who want the camping experience without bringing too much of their own gear. With more than 90 sites there’s plenty of room for the busier summer season. You’ll see some complaints about road noise on Google reviews, but we’ve never found that to be a bother when staying here even in the sites closest to U.S. 41. We’ve also always found all of the park facilities to be incredibly clean and the park staff incredibly helpful! (For reservations, head over to the Michigan DNR reservations site)
Close proximity to local attractions – Two of our favorite Upper Peninsula landmarks can be found close to Baraga State Park – the Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest (Bishop Frederic Baraga) is located atop the red rock cliffs in L’Anse, and Mt. Arvon (Michigan’s highest point) can be reached in under an hour’s drive from the campground. Other sites worth checking out in the area are the Sand Point Lighthouse, Alberta Village Museum, Baraga County Historical Museum, and the Assinins historical site.
Water recreation opportunities on Keweenaw Bay – A day use parking lot across from the campground provides access to the beautiful waters of the Keweenaw Bay. Popular activities here include swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking. This area is known for being a great place to catch large lake trout.
Plentiful waterfalls nearby – If you like visiting Michigan waterfalls, there are more than 20 within a half hour drive from Baraga State Park. In L’Anse you’ll find the easy to visit falls on the Falls River (Powerhouse Falls, Power Dam Falls, Lower Falls, Middle Falls). Out in Skanee you can visit Slate River Falls, Silver Falls, Quartzite Falls, Black Slate Falls, and the falls on the Huron River. Even more falls out here await the more adventurous hiker (grab Phil Stagg’s book for directions). The always stunning Canyon Falls is in a roadside park just south of L’Anse.
Nature trail and wildlife viewing opportunities – A 3/4 mile nature trail heads across the railroad tracks and into the woods from its starting point near the shower building. This relatively easy loop trail does not see heavy traffic and may offer the chance to see some birds and small mammals. Out near Keweenaw Bay there are frequent sightings of bald eagles, and sightings of moose and black bears in the area happen a few times each year.
Keweenaw Peninsula or Porcupine Mountains day trips – On some of our trips, we’ve stayed at Baraga State Park while adventuring to the west in the Porcupine Mountains (1 hour away) or north in the the Keweenaw Peninsula (Houghton is 30 miles away, Copper Harbor is 76 miles away). Marquette is only 70 miles to the east and offers plenty of other opportunities for adventure. We love the flexibility that Baraga gives us to head in any direction depending on the weather and what type of adventure we are looking for!
Miles of trails for year-round adventures – The previously mentioned nature trail is open to snowshoeing in the winter, and the Baraga area is also home to a great network of snowmobile trails and cross country skiing trails. The Baraga County Convention & Visitors Bureau has mapped out several bike routes for visitors that explore Pequaming, Aura, Mt. Arvon, Skanee, and more. Baraga State Park is also one of the few parks that allows ORV users to ride directly from the campground to nearby trails, with the Baraga Plains ATV Trail being one of the most popular destinations.
The campground also offers wi-fi, an outdoor game area, campground hosts, firewood and ice for your last-minute needs, and events and festivals throughout the year. If you’re headed to the Western Upper Peninsula and looking for a great base camp for adventure, Baraga State Park has you covered!