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Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, MI


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Has anyone ever backpacked into the heart of the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness in the UP of MI? I have read the short trails to the falls and overlooks receive some traffic, and most likely some travellers along the NCT just outside the eastern boundary of the wilderness, but what about the Sidnaw Creek Trail bisecting the wilderness?

Overall it seems to be lightly visited. I have heard it contains some impressive stands of hemlocks, particularly around the section just west of the river by the oxbow lake (unnamed). This looks to be a short easterly detour from the middle point of the Sidnaw Creek Trail.

Anything at all you can tell me would be appreciated.

Thank you!


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  • 3 weeks later...

There are some really nice dispersed camping spots in the wilderness area but most are near the road and would not need to backpack in. Not sure if there are any backpacking spots along 7.5 mile Sidnaw Creek trail. I've been meaning to get up there again to do more exploring. And while your there check out Silver mountain just up the road. http://outdoormichigan.org/feature/11679

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  • 1 month later...

UPDATE: Report

I just came back from the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness.  I ended up hiking in from the north end of the Sidnaw Creek trail.  There are indeed many good backpacking spots along the trail, as it is near a stream for a mile or so at the start.  The forest on both sides appears very dense and beautiful, and although the trail is at times choked with high grass, the correct path is easily discernable.  In other words it doesn't appear heavily used, but you'll have no problem staying on it.  Because the forest was so dense alongside the trail, I continued south along the trail to camp near the Sturgeon River itself, instead of my initial plan of veering east at the midway point to bushwhack toward the oxbow lake.  I saw no trace of anyone else out there.  I did not see the southern end of the Sidnaw Trail.

The dirt roads leading in are easily negotiated in a small car.

I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for something remote and scenic.  I plan on going back to explore more.

Edited by db2015
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  • 1 year later...

As with all part of the UP, the season makes the biggest difference.  Avoid black flies and mosquito seasons of early summer.  I prefer August-Sept but the fall colors of Oct will just blow you away. 

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