William Mitchell State Park in Cadillac is a Water Recreation Paradise
This year marks the 100th anniversary of William Mitchell State Park, a 334 acre park in Cadillac that has access to both Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell. Established in 1920, it was one of the original Michigan state parks and was named for sawmill co-owner William W. Mitchell (nephew of town founder George Mitchell). In addition to a campground with more than 200 sites, the park is a popular spot for boating, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. The Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center is located across from the campground and features interpretive displays about the history of hunting and fishing in Michigan.
The Clam Lake Canal runs through the park and connects Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell. Once used to float logs to the sawmill, it is now a popular spot for fishing and a great spot for campers to moor their boats while stay here. The Michigan historical marker here gives some full history, and a DNR informational sign in the campground provides some pictures of the canal throughout the years: “In 1873 the Clam Lake Canal was constructed between Big and Little Clam lakes, present-day Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. Lumbering was the major industry in the Clam Lake area, and sawmill owners needed an efficient means of transporting timber to the mills and railroad sites in Cadillac. Two years earlier George A. Mitchell, a prominent Cadillac banker and railroad entrepreneur, and Adam Gallinger, a local carpenter, formed the Clam Lake Canal Improvement and Construction Company. The company dug the canal at the narrowest point between the lakes through land owned by Mitchell. The channel is one-third mile long and was originally twenty feet wide. It has been widened at least six times, most recently in 1965, and is presently forty-eight feet wide. Today the channel serves the area’s recreational boaters.”
The campground offers more than 220 sites and a few mini-cabins, with all sites a short walk away from the canal or Lake Cadillac. Some sites are right next to the canal, which is perfect for those who brought a boat along and want it nearby and ready to go. The campground also has a playground and a fishing pier that is a popular spot for anglers of all ages. Sites are level with plenty of grass so anything from a tent to a larger RV will work.
Across the road from the campground is a day use beach area on Lake Mitchell. This is a great place for swimming as the water is shallow and the lake bottom is sandy. Kayaking, boating, fishing, and paddle boarding are a few of the other activities that draw visitors to Lake Mitchell. This is a perfect spot for catching a Northern Michigan sunset!
Mitchell State Park is just a few miles from downtown Cadillac, where you can find shopping and dining, parks, and the Cadillac KISS Monument. Boon Rd., with modern conveniences like Meijer and many fast food options, is only six miles away to the northeast.