Located in the western portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Copper Country State Forest is one of the largest natural reserves in the state. You’ll have hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore, leading you through the aspen and birch trees populated by a wide range of bird species. You’ll be able to see cranes, goldfinches, juncos, and blue herons, and bald eagles are often spotted nesting in the area. Many of the trails in the forest can be used for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during the winter.
With dozens of lakes and rivers, Copper Country State Forest also has plenty of recreational opportunities out on the water. Many lakes in the area are packed with small and largemouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch. There are also large numbers of trout if you visit during the spring.
With dozens of RV campgrounds scattered throughout the forest, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to camping. Twin Lake State Park Campground offers modern camping with electrical hookups, as well as easy access to fishing and boating. Emily Lake State Forest Campground is more secluded, giving you a private RV camping experience.
RV Rentals in Copper Country State Forest
Transportation in Copper Country State Forest
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Copper Country State Forest is a secluded natural preserve. Although it’s a bit of a drive from any major cities, most of the roads taking you to the major campgrounds are easy to navigate with large rigs.
If you are driving from Green Bay, take US-141 from the city and you’ll get to forest in around four hours. Coming from Minneapolis, take US Highway 63 and you’ll arrive in a little over five and a half hours.
The state forest is quite large, occupying a significant portion of the western edge of the Upper Peninsula. Given its size, your exact destination will depend on the campground you choose. Twin Lake State Park Campground is a popular choice, and it’s easy to access directly off M-26. The roads in the forest tend to get icy during the winter, so take caution if driving during the colder months of the year.
Campgrounds and parking in Copper Country State Forest
Campsites in Copper Country State Forest
Twin Lakes State Park Campground
This campground is perfect for campers looking for a more modern campground. You’ll be able to choose from 62 sites, all of which have electrical hookups. You’ll also have access to modern restrooms with showers, as well as drinking water and a dump station. The campground is situated on Lake Roland, with great boating and fishing. You’ll also be able to connect to the Twin Lake State Park Nature Trail, and there are a number of cross-country skiing trails.
Emily Lake State Forest Campground
Copper Country State Forest stretches over a large portion of the western area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Given its size, there are a number of options for RV campers.
This campground sits among large hemlock and conifer trees, giving campers a private, relaxing environment. The sites are primitive, but there is a vault toilet in the campground. There is excellent boating and fishing on the lake, with a boat launch located near the RV sites. You’ll be near the Bill Nicholls Trail, a 38-mile long multi-use trail. Reservations are not accepted, and all of the sites are first-come, first-served.
Seasonal activities in Copper Country State Forest
RV campers interested in fishing will find a variety of angling opportunities in Copper Country State Forest. There are hundreds of lakes, rivers, and streams in the area, with large populations of large and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, trout, and walleye. Roland Lake, located next to Twin Lake State Park Campground, has a large population of trout in the spring. You’ll need a state recreation pass to fish on any of the lakes that are part of state parks.
Copper Country is also known for its hunting, as the forests are packed with a wide variety of game. White-tailed deer are the most popular game in the forest, and you’ll also find plenty of smaller game such as rabbits and squirrels. Elk hunting is allowed in the forest, although licenses are strictly controlled and are only available through a draw. Most of the forest is open to hunting, with few restricted areas. However, hunting is not allowed along certain hiking trails and near campgrounds.
There are dozens of miles of trails taking you through the aspen and birch forests. The specific trails available will depend on where you choose to camp. If you stay at Emily Lake State Forest Campground, you can connect to the Bill Nicholls Trail, a 38-mile multi-use trail that is perfect for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. The area is known for its range of wildlife, including white tailed deer, elk, and moose. You may even see the occasional wolf, although sightings are rare.
Anglers who come to the forest in the winter will find a range of ice fishing opportunities. Temperatures drop well below freezing throughout the winter, so most of the lakes in the area freezer over. Lake Roland, near Twin Lakes State Park Campground, has excellent small and largemouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch fishing, and you should still get plenty of bites as the temperature drops. Do take caution, as park officials do not guarantee the safety of ice. Try to get current information on ice conditions before venturing out onto the lake.
With hundreds of miles of trails, Copper Country State Forest is one of the best areas in the Upper Peninsula for cross-country skiing. Many of the major RV campgrounds in the area have trails. Twin Lake State Park Campground has miles of trails taking you along Lake Roland and through the surrounding aspen forests. As the forest is quite remote, most of the trails are not groomed. Although beginner skiers should be able to find terrain suited to them, they may have difficulties after large snow storms.
The Upper Peninsula is one of the best birdwatching regions in the country, with over 300 species visiting throughout the year, so don't forget to pack those binoculars in your camper or trailer. You’ll be able to spot blue herons, bald eagles, goldfinches, cranes, owls, blue jays, juncos, and over a dozen species of hawks. Species vary depending on the time of year, with the greatest variety found in the spring and fall, when many birds are migrating.