Sitting just a few hundred feet from the shore of gorgeous Lake Fortune, and surrounded by several hundred acres of verdant, mixed hardwood forest, the campground at Bewabic State Park offers the quintessential North Woods experience, and more.
Hikers, birders and wildflower aficionados can take a stroll along the Bewabic Nature Trail, which gently rolls and meanders on a two-mile path through the park’s tranquil woodlands. Avid fishermen can put their lines in at Lake Fortune and may expect to catch perch, bass, bluegill and walleye. Summer visitors looking to cool off may head towards the canoe and kayak rental shop or to the swimming beach, while fans of games and sports may want to challenge each other to a round of horseshoes, volleyball or even tennis. If the kids are still hyper after a long day, there are two playgrounds where they can let off some of that seemingly endless energy.
No North Woods experience would be complete without that old-timey, log cabin aesthetic, and here Bewabic delivers as well – many of the park’s beautiful wood and stone buildings were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
For RVers, Bewabic boasts over 100 electric-hookup sites, all of which offer easy driving and walking access to the park’s many amenities and activities.
Bewabic is located right on U.S. Hwy 2, in between the small towns of Crystal Falls and Iron River. Both towns offer services including markets, tackle shops, banks, restaurants and additional campsites. The country surrounding the park is relatively flat, and since the park sits on a major road, RVers won’t need to perform any difficult or heroic driving to get there.
Park roads are all paved (except the small road leading to park headquarters, which is gravel). Some tight turns may make parts of the three camping loops difficult to access in a very large rig, so take a look at the park map before choosing a site to reserve.
The park’s setup is very straightforward. Right as you pull in you’ll see the ranger station, where you can confirm your reservations and get park maps and other information. Past the station, a short spur road leads to a parking area near the tennis courts and, further on, a boat launch. The main road leads to the camping area, which is composed of three linked, paved loops. Short footpaths connect these loops to the beach, nature trail, and recreation areas. Signage is plentiful and it’s easy to get to and from just about anywhere in the park on foot.
For RV campers, Bewabic’s main camping area consists of 54 sites with 50-Amp hookups (11 of which are pull-through sites), 68 sites with 20/30-amp hookups (of which are pull-through sites) and 3 sites with no electric. A sanitation station is available at the park, though individual sites do not have sewage or water hookups. Most spots are are in wooded areas with plenty of shade, and most spots also have buffer strips between them for privacy. Some spots are on slightly hilly terrain.
Site are organized into three main loops, with modern restrooms with showers, vault toilets and water spigots interspersed throughout. No length limits are given, however, many sites may be tough to access with larger (35+ ft) rigs.
The Bewabic nature trail, the beach, and the recreation area are all accessible via short footpaths leading from the site loops.
The park has a ranger station but no market or store, so, if you want to resupply you’ll need to head to nearby Crystal Falls, four miles to the east, or Iron River, 11 miles to the west.
Reservations are allowed up to six months in advance. Facilities are open from late April to late October.
Bewabic has about three miles of maintained trails within its boundaries. While several of these trails are short, connecting paths between different sections of the camping, day-use and beach areas, but the two-mile Bewabic nature trail makes a loop through the park’s peaceful woodlands and along the shore of Fortune Lake. Hikers may come across some of the North Wood’s many animal denizens, including deer, red foxes, martens, porcupines, garter snakes, snapping turtles, and northern leopard frogs. Take a seat on one of the many benches along the trail and listen for the chirps of eastern bluebirds or the thundering call of a pileated woodpecker.
A large, placid lake has an almost magical draw to it on a hot summer day. Bewabic offers plenty of opportunities to give into that draw and cool off in beautiful Lake Fortune. A charming swim beach lets visitors beat the heat in the most direct way possible. For those wanting to explore the more far-flung portions of the lake, a boat launch grants just that opportunity. Bring your own boat, or rent a canoe or Kayak at the park itself during the summer months.
Whether you’re an avid player or you have had a couple of rackets collecting dust in your RV closet for years, take advantage of the tennis courts at Bewabic. This isn’t an opportunity you’ll get anywhere else in the Wolverine state, as Bewabic is the only state park in Michigan with a tennis court. Apart from being unique, the location is superb; the court is lined with native hardwoods and has a lovely view of nearby Fortune Lake.
Winter is not neither light nor subtle in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At Bewabic, you can expect snow from November until April, and plenty of it; the nearby town of Iron Mountain averages nearly five feet of snowfall between these months. All that white stuff transforms Bewabic’s humming green forests into a winter wonderland ideal for cross country skiing. Though there are no managed ski trails, visitors are free to blaze their own paths through the park’s many wooded acres. Park facilities close during winter, so any camping arrangements must be made outside of the park.
Autumns in the northern woods are brief but glorious, and the forests of Bewabic take no exception to this rule. Peak leaf season in this part of the Upper Peninsula usually takes place in early October. Take a stroll or just a seat and marvel at the deep reds, fiery oranges and brilliant yellows sported, just briefly, by the maples, beeches, oaks, birches, aspens and other hardwoods that make up the surrounding forests. The chilly fall mornings and evenings also mean fewer mosquitoes – an added bonus!
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created a lasting, visible legacy at Bewabic State Park. Many of the park’s buildings were constructed by the young men of the CCC during the 1930s. A large, hilltop log bathhouse, several stone restrooms and water fountains, as well as bridges, trails and fireplaces were all among the projects – still standing and in use today – constructed by the hundred-man crew stationed at Bewabic during the height of the great depression.