The Porcupine Mountains, located in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, have all of the amazing features you need to enjoy your favorite outdoor adventures. Not only can you explore miles of backcountry, but you’ll also find a state park here that makes it easier to find marked trails and designated areas for hiking, biking, and snowmobiling.
In 1945, the Porcupine Mountains State Park was created to protect the 35,000 acres of old-growth forest trees. The boundaries of this fantastic destination span 60,000 acres of beautiful wilderness that hosts everything from waterfalls to the world-famous Lake of the Clouds. Whether you can’t wait to go paddling around the lake or explore a historic mine, you’ll find that you can pack your itinerary with just about any adventure you can think to do with the mountains as your natural playground.
The State Park and surrounding areas tend to get the highest number of visitors from May to October. During these months, people tend to find that the temperatures are ideal for most outdoor activities, and this is also a time when many people are flocking to a Porcupine Mountains hotel to enjoy their summer and fall vacations.
However, you’ll also find that the mountains still provide many wonderful opportunities to explore the outdoors during the other months of the year. Coming to the mountains when they’re less crowded might be better for your adventure. With this season-by-season guide, you’ll be able to pick the perfect time to explore miles and miles of untouched natural beauty.
See the Wilderness Come to Life in the Spring
The spring season runs from April to June, and you’ll find that booking a Porcupine Mountains hotel early becomes more important as May comes around. During this time, the mountains begin their annual thawing season, which means that those beautiful waterfalls begin rushing to life.
During a springtime visit to the Porcupine Mountains, you’re going to want to head to Presque Isle Falls. Located on the western edge of the state park, you’ll find three famous falls called Manabezho, Manido, and Nawadaha. Seeing the falls at the peak of their beauty is awe-inspiring, and they are easy to reach by hiking down a set of steps from the trail to a platform viewing area.
This is also the time of year when you’ll see the many species of wild animals springing back into action after hibernating through the winter. Spring might be your best season for capturing rare sightings if you plan to do any birdwatching.
Explore the Mountains With Greater Ease in the Summer
From July to August, you can expect lovely warm weather with temps that range from the 70s to 80s. This is also the time of year when you can expect Upper Peninsula hotels to book up fast, and it isn’t hard to see why. On most days, you can get crystal clear views of the Lake of the Clouds, and you’ll find that the moderate weather makes it possible to enjoy sports such as kayaking, mountain bike riding, and swimming.
As the summer winds down, you’ll find that the mountains fill up with people from all over the country who attend that Labor Day weekend Porcupine Mountains Music Festival. Enjoying live folk, rock, and bluegrass music in the mountain setting is something that any musical artist doesn’t want to miss.
Plan a Memorable Fall Colors Hike
If you want to enjoy the gorgeous views from your Porcupine Mountains hotel, your best shot at a scenic visit happens every fall. During the months of September to October, the forest area transforms as the leaves turn magnificent shades of red, gold, orange, and yellow. Usually, the colors peak in October, but the timing changes each year, so you’ll want to check the latest predictions before you plan your trip.
If your main goal is to see the fall colors, then you’ll love knowing that you have multiple options for taking in the view. Taking a fall hike through the wilderness is a popular way to capture some glowing pictures, and you can also see it from the top by taking a chairlift ride at the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area.
Enjoy Your Favorite Winter Sports in a Mountain Wonderland
The winter season tends to draw the more hardy outdoors people. The state park’s roads close starting December 1 and don’t open again until late spring. But that just means that things open up for snowmobiles and skiers. The main roads become designated snowmobile trails throughout the winter. You can also enjoy snowshoeing and skiing through thick, fresh powder, which is the primary reason why people visit during the winter.
If you happen to be here in the winter season, then you likely have a visit to the Porkies Winter Sports Complex on your itinerary. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities here, and you can also find lessons for beginners who want to learn the ropes of skiing down the slopes.
Use These Tips for a Perfect Trip During Any Season
The Porcupine Mountains offer something for everyone, and you can pick the season that best fits your goals for a memorable vacation. Since heading to the mountains is slightly different from going to a beachside resort, it also helps to use these tips no matter what time of the year you pick.
Establish a Comfortable Home Base
Whether you go fat tire biking, kayaking, or snowboarding, you can bet that your body is going to be worn out at the end of each day. Camping is allowed in the mountains, but you’ll also find that Ironwood Hotels also offer you a comfortable place to rest and wash up before your next day’s adventures. Local hotels often book fast during the height of each season, which means that you’ll want to make your reservations early.
Remember to Get a Recreation Passport
The Porcupine Mountains Visitor Center is the place to go to get a Recreation Passport that gives you and your motor vehicle access to recreational areas, campgrounds, and other attractions. The fees are reasonable, and the funds are used to maintain the recreational facilities you’ll enjoy during your visit. If you want an annual passport, you can also order it online. Or, you can wait to purchase a day pass upon your arrival.
Check the Weather and Road Conditions
Mountain weather can turn at the drop of a hat, and you don’t want to get stuck out during an unexpected storm. The Porcupine Mountains Ski Area offers an online snow report along with webcam streams that give you the most up-to-date information on the conditions in the area. You can also check snowmobile trail reports to help you plan a safe adventure.
Make Sure to Pack for the Season
Finally, you want to remember to pack according to the season. During the spring and fall seasons, the temps can change dramatically from the morning to the evening. Wearing layers is a helpful way to maintain more control over your comfort. In the winter, snow attire is best for helping you to stay warm and avoid frostbite, and waterproof coats and pants help to prevent you from catching a chill if you are hiking outside during an early spring rainstorm.
Once you fall in love with the Porcupine Mountains, you might just discover that you want to view them in each season. Traveling to the area at different times of the year gives you that same home-away-from-home feeling that you get at Ironwood Hotels while also giving you a new type of adventure to try out every time you visit.