Who wouldn’t enjoy a vacation that is affordable, educational, and enjoyable? Visitors to Hartwick Pines State Park in northern Michigan get to have all three!
Hartwick Pines State Park is a real bargain vacation spot. The state park is located just outside of Grayling. Hartwick Pines is only a short one hour drive from Traverse City, but visitors won’t be thinking of cities at all once they are surrounded by the beauty of one of northern Michigan’s largest state parks.
All you need to start your northern Michigan vacation adventure is a Michigan State Parks motor-vehicle permit. The current cost of an annual permit for a Michigan resident is $24. Imagine! An entire year’s worth of vacation enjoyment for just $24!
Within Hartwick Pine’s 9,672 acres visitors can find a variety of activities and amusements. This state park has more to offer than just camping and fishing. Hartwick Pines has many exciting and educational activities that are easy on your vacation budget.
Turn your vacation into an educational experience for the entire family. Transport yourself and your family back in time to an 1880’s northern Michigan logging camp. Michigan once experienced a booming logging economy. At Hartwick Pine’s Logging Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in 19th century logging tradition.
Children and adults alike can learn what life was really like for area loggers “back in the olden days”. The Hartwick Pines Logging Museum includes period rooms which are outfitted exactly as they would have been during the 19th century. View the bunks where these men would have slept as well as the mess hall where they would have eaten. Best of all, it is free to visit the Hartwick Pines museum!
Virgin Pine Forest
As the logging industry spread across Michigan, many trees were cut down. However, a few untouched forests still remain. Visitors can gaze upon one of these rare virgin forests at Harwick Pines. The trees in park’s virgin forest have been alive for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
Hartwick Pines contains 49 acres of old growth pine. The state park possesses one of the largest virgin pine forests in the state of Michigan. While visiting Hartwick Pines, make sure you pay your respects to the 300 year old Monarch pine.
Chapel in the Pines
Whether looking for a distinctive spot for a wedding or just a place for quiet reflection, visitors will enjoy the beautiful Chapel in the Pines at Hartwick Pines. Nature meets architecture in this picuresque log chapel.
The chapel is surrounded by Hartwick Pine’s famous virgin pine forest. The Chapel in the Pines is open to all visitors. Take a break from your hike, or offer a prayer of thanks for the beautiful setting that surrounds the building. The beauty of the Hartwick Pines chapel will surely renew your soul.
Hiking / Cross-Country Skiing / Biking Trails
Four hiking trails criss-cross through the state park for some spectacular scenery and wildlife viewing. When my husband and I visited Hartwick Pines, we spotted a variety of small and large wildlife. A deer actually ran across the trail right in front of us. Talk about a true northern Michigan experience!
There are also three trails dedicated to cross-country skiing or mountain biking. Bring your binoculars and bird watch during the summer, or pack your cross-country skis for some beautiful snow covered scenery during the winter. Visitors can enjoy Hartwick Pines year round.
Camping, Hunting and Fishing
Bring your camping gear and vacation overnight in Hartwick Pines’ modern campground. You don’t even have to bring food! Visitors can catch their own supper in one of Hartwick Pine’s lakes.
There are two lakes within Hartwick Pines open to fishing. Bright and Glory lakes have blue gill, panfish, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout just waiting to bite. Both lakes have boat ramps to make your fishing outing even easier.
Looking to bag a monster buck? Portions of Hartwick Pines State Park is open to both small game and big game hunting. Just check in at the visitor center to find out which areas are available.
Plan Your “Up North” Vacation
Hartwick Pines State Park doesn’t have to be your only stop in northern Michigan. Take a canoe trip down the nearby AuSable River. Or take an hour drive and visit the beaches of Lake Michigan. Hartwick Pines’ location, just minutes from I-75, makes it easy to enjoy the rest of northern Michigan during your vacation.
Whether you are a northern Michigan resident or just passing through the state, make sure you pay a visit to Hartwick Pines State Park and enjoy surrounding yourself with nature and Michigan’s rich logging history during your vacation.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=453&type=SFCG
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/wildlife/viewingguide/nlp/59Hartwick/index.htm