Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Got some trip suggestions at another National Park, or know of a great place in the middle of no where? Share them here, plan your trips, and hook up with other individuals on the forum.

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Wilderness Junkie
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Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by Wilderness Junkie » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:12 pm

I know there is a thread down lower in this forum on Craig Lake SP, but it's 4 years old so I figured I would start a new one.

Anyone been there yet? I'm planning a mid May trip (since it's too hard to schedule an IR trip with minimal ferry options that early).

Thanks!


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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by ryanpett » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:51 am

It's an old post... but in case anyone else comes across this and is curious... Craig Lake is a great option for some remote paddling! We did a trip in 2012 ourselves and loved it. I'd definitely recommend this as a nice alternative to IR, if you can't make the journey to the island. If you have any specific questions, let me know... might even be able to point you towards a few awesome backcountry campsites!


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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by mikep » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:28 am

I'm planning on a canoe trip at Craig Lake State Park this summer around August. I plan on spending around 4 - 6 days. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions on campsites, hiking trails, and fishing.

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head2north
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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by head2north » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:40 am

Beautiful area and as secluded as can be for a state park connected to a Highway.
There is some interesting history about this plot of land (The Millers)

The Craig Lake entry is about a 50 rod portage from parking lot. Once at the lake, you will have the option of camping at the campground there or go to a primitive site via canoe or trail system.

The choice site sits above the lake on a peninsula on eastern shore.
001_Craig Lake SP_Big Rock Camp Site.jpg
North Country trail dissects the park and there are several other trails meandering around the park.
(check map)

I had caught walleye and some nice crappie on Craig Lake.
026_Craig Lake SP_Crappie.jpg
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Last edited by head2north on Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.


mikep
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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by mikep » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:55 am

Thanks for the info.


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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by mikep » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:08 am

Is there any way to tell at the launch which sites are occupied? I don't want to paddle all the way to the north part of the lake just to find out the sites are full.

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head2north
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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by head2north » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:34 am

There is no formal/official campsite registration at the park. The HQ is actually a field office in Champion for the Van Riper/Craig Lake/Norway parks.

The only way would be by word of mouth at launch site.


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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by mikep » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:01 pm

Have you ever portaged to Crooked Lake. Looks like about .5 miles. Whats the level of difficulty. I've canoed IR's interior portages as a reference.

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head2north
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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by head2north » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:41 pm

I did not portage and Canoe Crooked Lake. I was going to but never got around to it. I did hike it and it was not a difficult hike or would be portage. Lets say
equivalent to LeSage/Livermore portage.


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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by Gimp » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:40 pm

I stayed at Craig Lake for two nights in late September 2013. The "prime site" head2north mentioned is site #3. It probably has the best view on the lake. The two nights I stayed there a party occupied one of the two rental cabins and stayed up pretty late talking, laughing and drinking. Their voices carried across the lake in the cold air and I initially thought they were a lot closer. The high location of the cabin worked like an amphitheater and Site 3's high position was in direct line of the sound. Another site that had some appeal was site #2 which is close to the Clair Lake portage trail. It also had a nice view, although it was even closer to the cabins. The morning I left the cabin party was breaking up and two guys rowed down the lake in a boat piled high with two industrial sized trash bags full of beer cans.

The portage trail over to Clair Lake was very rocky and twisting although short. The portage trail to Crooked Lake had very good footing. I didn't carry my canoe over to it, but it wasn't more than half a mile long and easier than any portage at Isle Royale. If I went back again, the Crooked Lake campsites would be my destination for overnight. When I was there, aside from the cabin people I only saw one other party. They were staying at the walk in site closest to the parking lot. There were quite a few sites spread around the shore of the lake and I think that one or more will always be available, although I think Site #3 is going to be the first to go.

Self registration for Craig Lake was done at a kiosk where the road split to different sections of the park. You fill out the form and deposit the daily fee inside the green metal pipe. Drive slowly on the one lane road back into the park. It's narrow and there are several places where you could high center your vehicle if you aren't being careful.

After my stay there I headed back east and spent two more nights at Big Island Lake Recreation Area just to the south and east of Munising. It's very close to the intersection where the Super 8 motel is. It wasn't as scenic as Craig Lake, but it was very quiet and full of Northern Pike. If you haven't been there it's a series of lakes connected by short portage trails. I camped on one site for two nights and did a lot of portaging, fishing and exploring. It was two hour closer to S.E. Michigan for me and I'm looking forward to going back there again.
Approach to the Prime Spot.jpg
View from the Prime Spot.jpg
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head2north
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Re: Craig Lake State Park anyone?

Post by head2north » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Wilderness Junkie -

How did your May trip end up? Campsites? lakes visited? hiking? fishing? crowds?

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