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Thursday, May 26, 2022

CAMPGROUND REVIEW - Little Bay De Noc in the Hiawatha National Forest, near Gladstone Michigan

Thought I would write up another campground review, for the folks who love the quiet and peaceful rustic camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  If you read the post before this one, it's our actual camping post of being there with friends:  2022/05/finding-bigfoot-with-bill-and-janet.html  

We just spent a wonderful weekend at Little Bay De Noc Campground in the Hiawatha National Forest. This rustic campground does not have electric, sewer or water hookups, and we totally enjoy camping here with our motorhome. 

Our campsite #35

  • Little Bay De Noc Campground is part of the Hiawatha National Forest. It is located about 20 miles east of Escanaba, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. It is located on a shallow bay of the waters of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. 
  • There are 38 rustic campsites with 2 larger group sites. Some sites are reservable, some are first come first serve.
  • There's a nice swimming beach and boat launch. 
  • Various pit toilets are scattered throughout the park and campground. 
  • There are three unthreaded water spigots. (bring a "water thief" fitting for your hose if you need to fill your RV before setting up on a site). There is an Artesian well in the third loop called the Twin Springs Loop. 
  • All of the sites are extremely level and deep and can accommodate a big rig. No pull-throughs. 
  • The first two loops of campsites have some turns that are a little tighter, but if you maneuver carefully you can get through with a big rig. 
  • All of the roads are paved black top and in good condition. 
  • Cell phone service is quite good. 
  • TV antenna signals ramp-up in the evening but fade away during the day or late at night. The local channel from Escanaba, channel 3 and its subchannels are readily available throughout the day. But they do not have a local weather channel so keep an eye on your cell phone for weather updates. 
  • Nearby are a couple different convenience stores as you come down into the peninsula, as well as a few small shops and restaurants in Gladstone or Rapid River 10 to 15 miles away. 
  • The larger city of Escanaba has more variety of stores, a Walmart, Meijer's, Camping World and a large casino at the outer edge of town.  The casino does have camping spots with hookups, as well as Pioneer Trail county campground in Escanaba/Gladstone by the highway.

Here is a link to the National Forest website with more information:

Little Bay De NOC Campground in Hiawatha National Forest

The campground is located across the bay from Gladstone, MI.

This is a copy and paste from their website:

Little Bay Campground provides a quiet respite from more developed campgrounds in the area. It has long been a favorite for visitors seeking solitude. Beautiful sunsets can be seen over the glistening water of the Little Bay de Noc, and campers enjoy water activities on the lake. 

Natural Features: The campground sits on the shore of Little Bay de Noc, on the north end of Lake Michigan. A group camping area is separated from the other sites with oak, hemlock and hardwood trees, providing a relatively private camping experience.

Recreation: The bay is widely recognized as one of the finest walleye fisheries in the country. The Hunter's Point paved boat ramp is located less than a mile from the entrance of the campground. 

Other than fishing, visitors enjoy non-motorized boating and swimming, or simply enjoying the beach. A variety of hiking trails are also within a couple miles of the campground. Peninsula Point Lighthouse is a short drive away from the campground.

Facilities: The campground offers multiple single-family sites and two large group sites, available for tent and RV camping. Each site is equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible vault toilets and drinking water are also provided. 

A day-use picnic area is equipped with tables and grills. An adjacent open grassy area is available for large recreational gatherings. The picnic area is also adjacent to the swimming beach and boat ramp.

There are a lot of activities
 in the Hiawatha National Forest
 in that entire area of the U.P.

We also toured the Peninsula Point Lighthouse, about 12 miles south of the park on the tip of peninsula, also owned and maintained by the Hiawatha National Forest. 

The fees for the rustic camping are $22 a night. Some of the sites are reservable via the website link up above.

If you purchase the America the Beautiful National Park and Federal Recreational Land annual or lifetime Senior Pass, you qualify for half-price camping. Our campsites only cost us $11 a night. Here is a link for the senior pass information:

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Rec Land Lifetime Senior Pass

TAKE NOTE:  we filled out our envelopes for our campsites and put them in the pay post at the self registration kiosk. But our envelopes got stuck up inside of the post! The next day, the host politely came and asked us if we had inserted our envelopes, which we did. This was his first week volunteer hosting at this particular park. Out of the 5 envelopes inserted for the people in that area only one envelope had fallen down into their payment reservoir. They discovered later that the other four were stuck up high in the post!!! So if you have anybody questioning you as to whether or not you paid, let them know there is a cross brace in that post that hangs up the envelopes up at the top of the post. Our host only discovered it by putting a cell phone inside, aiming it up words with a flash, and taking a picture. Sure enough, there were four more envelopes stuck up inside of the post. He hopes that the Rangers will be able to rectify that situation, but the post seems to have been there for a long time. We have no idea why nobody ever discovered this before? Maybe the envelopes are just larger now than they were in the past? Anyway, if you get questioned about whether or not you paid, tell them you have it on good authority that there is a cross brace in that post that hangs up envelopes! LOL

We chose sites in the farthest loop called Twin Springs. We chose them because they are wider open with less tree foliage and more practical for our solar panels. All of the sites are spaced pretty far apart, and in the wooded loops you really don't even see your neighbors at all.  

Our site #35

There is a camp host down at the end of the Twin Springs Loop and they are on site to help with any questions or information. All of the roads are beautiful as they wind through the park at a very nice slow comfortable speed. Everything is thickly wooded with natural vegetation.  There is some poison ivy, so be aware. The campground is not near any highways or city noise. Once in a while you can hear a train from across the bay if the water is calm. But generally, it is a quiet natural serene wooded campground.

Although there is a nice swimming beach at the north end of the park, most of the sites down along throughout the campground are mostly waterfront. Some are in the woods and a few are more open to the sky for solar access. In the Twin Springs Loop there's even a little sandy beach by each campsite!

The sun sets to the West over the bay, so be ready for some absolute stunning sunsets when you camp at this beautiful campground located on the east side of the Bay.

Everything is natural and pristine. The fishing is great and the waterfront is rugged and beautiful and natural.  There are some cottages to the south and north of the park, but you can't see them unless you go out onto the bay. 

There were many nesting geese and ducks along the shoreline, and we heard a loon call out every once in a while. 

Again, be prepared for some spectacular sunsets! This was the second night we were there. The bay became like glass, and the sun was setting on the edge. The colors were spectacular! This is a completely untouched photo taken with my cell phone on landscape mode:

Here is our campsite number 35 and our friends are camped next to us in the beige motorhome in number 36. Showing you the distance between the open sights down in the Twin Springs Loop. Up further in the other two loops the sites are even further apart with an abundance of foliage in between... it completely blocks you from seeing your neighbors.

The views are gorgeous when the winds are calm. Although the bay is shallow, the waves can come up quickly when the winds kick up. Be careful if you are a fisherman, know where you are and how quick you can get back to shore.

All of the camping site spurs are deep enough to fit a large rig and a tow vehicle. The spurs are mostly gravel but the main roads are all black top pavement.

Each clean neat campsite has a fire ring and picnic table and a post with a bracket to hang a lantern. 

If you read the post before this one, it's our actual weekend camping post of being there with friends:  2022/05/finding-bigfoot-with-bill-and-janet.html  

All in all, Little Bay De Noc Campground in the Hiawatha National Forest is a beautiful place to go camping if you appreciate peace and quiet, rustic settings, and a great value for the dollar.

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