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A major road construction project is taking place this summer in the Sylvania perimeter area. Closing the roads to public use is necessary for public safety and will also facilitate the completion of construction activities so that the period of closure can be kept to a minimum. The Road System to Clark Lake boat landing, the Clark Lake Campground and Day-Use Area will be closed and under construction throughout the entire summer camping season. THE ROAD TO CROOKED LAKE WILL BE OPEN UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

The road to Clark Lake will be closed until further notice. The Clark Lake Campground and Clark Lake Day-Use Building will be closed for the season. No parking will be available at the Clark Lake boat landing when the roads are closed. Parking is available at several trailheads in the Sylvania Perimeter Area and at Crooked Lake. Please be aware that parking areas are limited and you may have to change your access points to Sylvania Backcountry campsites. Hiking or portage distances to your desired campsite may increase due to parking availability. For current road closure status, please call the Sylvania Entrance Station 906-358-4404 (open May 15th- Sept 30) or the Ottawa Visitor Center 906-358-4724. The Sylvania Entrance Station will be OPEN for the season and your backcountry camping permits will be available there. The $5 daily or $20 annual fee will remain in effect while the Crooked Lake Road is open and vehicles are allowed to travel beyond the Entrance Station. We apologize for the inconvenience. For more information and alternate access to your campsites please click here


part ofOttawa National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Wed Dec 31 2014   Season Dates


The Sylvania Wilderness encompasses 18,327 acres of primitive lands and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Visitors can camp in 50 designated campsites within the Sylvania Wilderness. Visitors enjoy endless canoeing, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Natural Features:

The old-growth forests and pristine lakes in the region provide habitat for a wide range of animal and plant life, including rare orchids, bald eagles, loons and osprey. The wilderness contains 34 named lakes, some with sandy beaches and others surrounded by record-size red and white pines.

The Ottawa National Forest is comprised of nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western reaches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The forest's rolling, forest covered hills extend from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls are found throughout this beautiful landscape.


Sylvania's abundant lakes provide plentiful non-motorized boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities. Other popular activities include hiking and viewing wildlife.


Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camp is not a physical campground located at one location. The 50 individual sites are located along eight lakes within the Sylvania Wilderness. Camping is allowed only at designated sites.

Campsites are primitive, but each is equipped with a campfire ring and a wilderness latrine.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Beach Access
  • Berry Picking
  • Boat-In Sites
  • Boating
  • Campfire Rings
  • Canoeing
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Drinking Water (Hand Pump)
  • Educational Programs
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Lake Access
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Pit Toilets
  • Showers
  • Snowshoeing
  • Swimming
  • Trash Collection
  • Visitor Center
Know Before You Go
  • Special rules apply within the Sylvania Wilderness and must be observed by all visitors;
  • click here for these rules and a detailed map
  • Prior to camping any time between May 15 through Sept 30, visitors are required to handle reservations, fee payment, registration and watch a Leave No Trace video at the Sylvania Entrance Station (Sat-Thu 8:30-5, Fri 8:30-6); call (906) 358-4404 for information
  • A $5/day or $20/season facility pass is required for use of the developed facilities within Sylvania Recreation Area; pass includes parking, as well as hot showers at the Clark Lake Day Use Area
  • Motorized, mechanized or gas-powered vehicles, including portage wheels and bicycles, are not allowed; some exceptions can be made for electric motors by contacting the entrance station
  • Wheelchairs are permitted
  • Be prepared to portage your canoe
  • Before July 15, landing on islands is not allowed in order to protect nesting loons
  • Metal or glass food or beverage containers, including deposit bottles, cans and styrofoam may not be taken into the wilderness
  • Camping is free and open at designated sites outside the reservation season on a first come, first served basis from October 1st through May 14th
  • Click here to learn more about Ottawa National Forest
  • Don't move firewood: To limit the spread of invasive tree-killing pests, firewood from outside the area is not permitted. Some states have quarantines and may confiscate your firewood. Please help protect our forests from invasive species by obtaining your firewood at or near your camping destination and burning it on-site. Visit dontmovefirewood.org for more information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.24472, -89.31056
46°14'41"N, 89°18'38"W

Wilderness campsites can be accessed from Sylvania Recreation Area or from entry points on the perimeter of the wilderness (see map).

To reach Sylvania Entrance Station and Recreation Area: From Watersmeet, travel approximately 4 miles west on U.S. 2 to County Road 535, then drive south on CR 535 approximately 4 miles south to the Sylvania Recreation Area.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:


Phone Number:

Information:  (906)358-4724
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