Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry Camping

Ottawa National Forest

Planning a trip to the Sylvania Wilderness? Watch for Alerts at the top of the page for any Alerts regarding this facility.  

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.

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.

Need to Know

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, tree 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.

Changes & Cancellations


No Show

Staff will hold a campsite until check-out time on the day following the arrival date. 

For more information about rules and reservation policies, visit the Rules and Reservations Policy page.  

Contact Information



Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 906-358-4724

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

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 3.5 miles west on US 2 to County Road 535, then drive south on CR 535 approximately 4 miles to the Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area entrance.

Available Campsites

Photo Gallery