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Ottawa National Forest

The Ottawa National Forest is located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It extends from the south shore of Lake Superior down to Wisconsin and the Nicolet National Forest.

The Ottawa National Forest is rich in wildlife viewing opportunities. Topography in the northern portion is the most dramatic with breathtaking views of rolling hills dotted with lakes, rivers and spectacular waterfalls. The Ottawa has three Wilderness Areas. They are about equal in size, but each has unique features.

Elevations on the Forest range from 600' at the Lake Superior shoreline to more than 1800' in the Sylvania Wilderness. The most dramatic changes are noted near Lake Superior, where the upward shift of the land with its exposed bedrock and resulting bluffs provide homes for cliff nesting Peregrine Falcons.

The water resources play an important role in the natural appeal of the Ottawa National Forest. In addition to many miles of Lake Superior shoreline, the forest contains many lakes, both large and small, and a wide variety of rivers and streams that provide canoeing and kayaking opportunities, prime trout fishing, plus spectacular waterfall viewing.

Hiking trails on the Ottawa National Forest offer something for everyone. More than 196 miles of hiking and backpacking trailsvary widely in character. Some provide short easy walks to points of interest, such as waterfalls and historic sites.

The 22 campgrounds of the Ottawa National Forest offer a wide spectrum of camping experiences.

The nearly one million acre Ottawa National Forest provides a wide variety of equestrian opportunities, ranging from well maintained and signed roads and trails to the more challenging cross country travel.

There are several Alpine Ski areas along the northern portions of the forest, and many cross country skiing trails. Enjoy 450 miles of groomed snowmobile trails within the Proclamation Boundaries of the Ottawa National Forest.

Michigan Forests

First-timer’s Adventure

Visit the Black River Harbor area and enjoy a short walk to some of the Forest's beautiful waterfalls. The trail that serves Potawatomi and Gorge Falls was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1978 due to its unique character. Developments along it include stairways and observation platforms that overlook the Black River and the two waterfalls. There is also a picnic area. Large, old growth hemlock, white pine, and hardwood timber add to the area's beauty.

A barrier-free access leading from Gorge Falls parking lot to Potowatomi Falls, provides a unique viewing opportunity for people with disabilities.

Statistics

State(s):

Michigan

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Detriot

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.