Photo Gallery Friday: Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling
Photo Gallery Friday is a regular feature on Travel the Mitten that will help showcase photos from places where a few pictures just aren’t enough to show off everything.
Hartwick Pines State Park has something for everyone: a logging museum, the Michigan Forestry Visitor Center, a campground, and four-season trails. This is one of the largest state parks in Michigan, and it is home to one of the last remaining stands of old-growth pine that survived our state’s logging boom. Some of the trees on the Old Growth Trail are estimated to be between 350-375 years old, with the tallest trees being 150 feet tall.
The Hartwick Pines Logging Museum features a recreated logging camp with exhibits inside two buildings and logging equipment outside. Here you can learn what life was like for those in the logging camp, and what each tool was used for. There is a steam-powered sawmill that is operated for special events during the summer months.
The Michigan Forest Visitor Center has an exhibit hall detailing the history of forestry in Michigan. Here visitors will find a theater, taxidermy animal displays, a bookstore/gift shop, and a large viewing window for bird observation and identification. Consider making this your first stop when visiting the park.
Hikers will love Hartwick Pines State Park, as it offers three amazing trails. The Mertz Grade Trail is 2.3 miles long and winds through forest and field, the Au Sable River Trail is 3.1 miles long and follows the east branch of the legendary river, and the Old Growth Trail is a 1.25 mile interpretive trail through the woods. We enjoyed hiking the Old Growth Trail, and would recommend visitors also check out the Chapel in the Pines – a secluded building in the heart of the woods that is available for weddings.
Hartwick Pines State Park is perfect for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, history buffs, birdwatchers, photographers, and more. It is a great testament to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s to replant the forest, and preserve the history of those who logged it before then. The park is easily reached from I-75 near Grayling in Crawford County. Enjoy these photos from our visit in the summer of 2018, and if you’ve never been to Hartwick Pines State Park consider visiting in 2019 as Michigan celebrates 100 years of state parks!