Located in central Michigan, Hartwick Pines State Park has nearly 10,000 acres of scenic pine forest for you to explore, making it an excellent destination for any hiker, birdwatcher, or hunter.
There’s an extensive network of trails that lead throughout the park, allowing you to explore the pine forests on foot any time of the year. History lovers will enjoy the logging museum, which focuses on Michigan’s logging industry from 1840 to 1910.
The forest is home to a wide range of bird species, making it an excellent destination for bird watchers any time of the year. Hunters will find plenty of game roaming the forests, with varied terrain and excellent tree cover that makes every hunt interesting.
Visitors to the park in the winter will find plenty to keep them busy, with over 10 miles of cross-country skiing trails. The campground within the park has 100 sites, with access to a wide range of modern amenities, giving RV campers plenty of options, no matter the size of their rig.
Whether staying for a few days or a few weeks, Hartwick Pines State Park has enough to keep any nature lover busy.
Located in the north of Michigan’s lower peninsula, Hartwick Pines State Forest can be reached from most of the state’s major cities.
If you are driving from Detroit, take I-75 north out of the city and you will reach the park in around three hours. From Grand Rapids, the park can be reached in around two and a half hours, taking US-131 out of the city. If you are coming from Lansing, take US-127 and you will arrive at the park in just over two hours.
Once in the park, the campground is quick drive from the park’s entrance. All of the main areas of the park can be reached by driving, as there are no RV restrictions on any of the park’s roads.
The campground located within the park features 100 sites. There are multiple sites for drinking water located throughout the campground, as well as restrooms with running water. You will also find trash sites and vault toilets. All of the sites have a picnic table and a fire pit. Pets are allowed at all of the campsites.
The hiking and biking trails are located within walking distance of the campground. There is also a playground and a basketball court just outside the campground.
Reservations can be made online, up to six months in advance, and must be made at least a day before your visit. The campground is open from April through December.
A few of the sites in the campground are walk ins, so you may be able to get a site for your campervan without a reservation. If you are planning on visiting without a reservation, call soon before you plan to travel to the park and inquire about availability in the campground.
The park has over six miles of scenic forest trails to explore, so you’ll have plenty of ground to explore throughout your RV camping trip.
The Old Growth Trail leads you through the 49 acres of old pine growth in the park- the largest forest of old pines in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Some of the white pine trees in the forest are over 300 years old, and stand up to 130 feet tall.
Hiking in the park is excellent year round, but most hikers find that it is best from April through October. The hiking really stands out in the fall, when the forests turn into a beautiful show of autumn colors.
On the Old Growth Trail, you will find a reconstructed logging camp. There are big wheels, the vehicles that were used to transport trees out the forest, as well as other logging buildings that have been faithfully restored. There is also a logging museum, where you can learn more about the history of the logging industry in Michigan from 1840 to 1910.
The museum is open to visitors year round.
The rolling hills of the forested park make for excellent hunting. The archery deer hunting is particularly popular in the park, as the pine forests give excellent shelter for both game and hunters.
No hunting is allowed in the old growth forest or developed areas of the park. Check with the park office to ensure the area where you plan on hunting is not restricted. And always take extra caution, as the park is a popular destination for hikers.
If you want to take a spin around the park, bring a bike with your RV and head to the ski trails. There are 10 miles of trails, making the park an excellent destination for mountain bikers.
The trails are rated from beginner to intermediate, so there is a nice mix of difficulty levels for bikers of different experience levels. And the rolling forested terrain makes for excellent rides. The park really stands out in the fall, but biking is excellent anytime from April through October.
The trails are open to bikers through fall. Hikers may also use the trails, so take caution when coming around the corner.
In addition to all of the activities that take you through the forest on foot, you’ll also be able to find excellent fishing in the park. There’s a wide range of fish species for you to try to reel in, such as walleye, bass, bluegill, and trout.
Fishing is excellent year round, although availability of different fish species will vary by season. Come in spring as the trout begin to spawn, or in summer for some of the state’s best bass fishing.
Those who visit the park in the winter will not be disappointed. There’s plenty to do during the coldest months of the year, including cross-country skiing. The old growth pines are truly stunning when covered in snow, and you’ll find an abundance of wildlife that calls the forest home in the winter.
The park has 10 miles of designated cross country trails that weave their way through the scenic pine forests. The trails offer a nice mix of different difficulty levels, to accommodate skiers of all experience levels and ages.