Black Creek State Forest
Guide

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Introduction

Black Creek State Forest has a perfect little rustic campground which anglers come to stay to try their luck in the nearby lakes. Stamford Lake is just across the road from the campground and is filled with walleye, bass, perch, pike, and pan fish. The campsites are located right next to a creek, which trickles past the campsites. There are plenty of trees in the area, providing you with shade, and privacy from other visitors.

There are 23 sites at the Black Creek State Forest Campground, ideal for tents or small trailers. Only 15 sites can fit RVs or trailers up to 40 feet in length. The campground is rustic and only provides vault toilets and a pressurized potable water system. All of the campsites are first-come, first-served, so get in early! So head on over to this State Forest if you enjoy hiking, boating, fishing, or getting away from the busy city. There are short and long hikes within a short distance of the campsite, and many opportunities to see the wildlife in Michigan.

RV Rentals in Black Creek State Forest

Transportation in Black Creek State Forest

Driving

Black Creek State Forest Campground is a short drive away from Sanford along the NW River Road. It is located west of the road after the bridge crossing Black Creek. A hundred yards away from the campsite, there are convenience stores and restaurants if you are looking for a fancier meal than whats cooked on your campfire. The campground has plenty of parking space among the tall trees and designated spots for large or smaller rigs.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Black Creek State Forest

Campsites in Black Creek State Forest

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Black Creek Campground

Open from May to September, Black Creek Campground is a rustic campground with 23 small campsites, ideal for tents and RVs and trailers up to 40 feet in length. Every campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. You'll be within walking distance to vault toilets and have access to potable water from the local town.

The campsite is based on an honor system, and there is a maximum stay of five nights allowed. The campsite tends to be typically only half-full, however, the nice spots by the river fill up pretty fast. All the sites are spacious and shaded, and you get them on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Black Creek State Forest

In-Season

Hiking

If you're an avid hiker, then you will love the extensive hiking opportunities a short distance away from Black Creek. There is a 10-mile trail at Pine Haven which features beautifully forested paths, birds chirping overhead, and the occasional small mammal rushing through the underbrush.

There are even more hiking trails at Pere Marquette, which are paved, but showcase a nice range of the surrounding nature. For the multi-day backpackers and wanderers, the 280-mile Midland County to Mackinaw City Trail passes nearby. For all the trails, make sure to bring good hiking shoes and bug repellent in your campervan as there are some eager to bite insects in the forest.

Fishing

Anglers flock to Black Creek Campground to fish up and down Black Creek and Sanford Lake. Whether on your boat, or fishing from the banks of the river, you can certainly catch something. Some of the species you can expect to catch include bass, lake sturgeon, muskellunge, northern pike, panfish, salmon, trout, and walleye and yellow perch. Many of these fish species like the shallower parts of the creek and lakes, where they hide among the reeds. You must have a valid fishing license when fishing in the state of Michigan.

Boating

While there is no boat ramp directly inside the forest, there is a boat launch at the Sanford Lake Park or Wixom Lake. The water in Black Creek is not suitable for swimming, but you can surely get a good day of fishing or paddling done. If you brought your own canoe, small boat, or kayak, you would be able to lower the small boat directly from your waterfront campsite.

This larger boat ramp is located two miles from the campground. The park there closes at 9:00 pm so you need to make sure to take your boat out of the water before then. There is plenty of parking available near the boat ramp for the trailer.

Off-Season

Biking

Rather than hiking, if you prefer to bike through nature, then you will enjoy the trails leading from Black Creek State Forest Campground. The Pere Marque Rail Trail is three miles south of the campground, and heads past Arbutus Bog, Veterans Memorial Park, and many rivers and lakes. Stop by Arbutus Bog to check out the little walk way with picnic benches and a beautiful views of the forests.

The trail is an easy ride, however, it does not have much shade over head, so head out early in the morning or towards dusk to avoid the worst of the heat. There are up to 20 miles of trails that you can explore on your bike, that will show you a good view of the surroundings along the level ground.

Picnicking

During any part of the year, this little area in Michigan attracts hundreds of nature lovers to enjoy the wilderness. Each campsite has a fire pit and a tables, but little else. Why not take advantage of the river side tables and set up a picnic for you and the family? There are stores nearby where you can purchase necessities, and a pressurized potable water fountain available for campers. Otherwise there is no dump station, or any other amenities available.

Bird Watching

The state of Michigan is famous for a large amount of birding destinations and a variety of avian habitats. While there are many endemic species, migration brings in thousands of ducks, red-throated loons, common loons, hawks, and Sandhill cranes to the creek and lake areas. There are plenty of thrushes, warblers, and other songbirds chirping away in the early hours of the morning. The nearby surrounding wetlands are also home to pied-billed grebe, american bittern, least bittern, and swamp swallow. Grab your binoculars and bird book out of the rig, and see how many of these beautiful species you will be able to see on your walks.

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