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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Petoskey, Michigan / State Park & Tannery Creek Campground

September 2015, Weekend, 3-nights, Lot 138 and Lot 168

Photos, advance reservations, choosing lots

I have posted more Pestoskey photos in the Petoskey, Michigan album on our Facebook page, and I will post trail and brewery photos from our trip in those blog posts.

We made reservations at Petoskey State Park on the State of Michigan website a few months before our stay. We chose lot 138, because it looked more secluded than any of the available lots along the edges (our usual choice). When I looked at this campground a few days before our stay, I was surprised to see that there was only one 30' lot left!
campsites available the Monday before our stay
During our stay, we decided we wanted to stay an extra night, and lot 138 was unavailable the last night. For our last night, we chose lot 168 because the other 30' lots that were available were in the center with no trees around the edges. The photos I viewed on the website for the campsites at Tannery Creek Campground were accurate.

Arrival and check-in

We arrived at the park early because we were only about 30 minutes away when we got up Friday morning. The beach parking area at this campground is spacious, and we figured if we could not check-in, we would park by the beach for a few hours. There was no one in the office, or on our lot when we arrived, so we set up early.

The check-in process did not work correctly for us when we arrived, or on Sunday morning after we decided to stay an extra night. This is my understanding of how the process should work: If you are arriving on a weekday when the Contact Station is not staffed, the yellow phone should be working starting at 8:00 a.m. If you have a reservation, your name and lot number should be posted on the list. If you arrive after the posted hours in the evening, you need to go back the next morning to check-in after the yellow phone is activated. This applies to campers without a reservation, and campers with reservations. For Sunday morning, the posted times said that the yellow phone should be activated at 9:00 a.m. The telephone system was not working that morning. After we found a staff member, we were told to return after 10:00 a.m. The phone system was not working then either, and we ended up completing our reservation with the ranger in the Headquarters' office.

Lot 138 - Tannery Creek Campground

lot 138
This lot description says it accommodates up to a 30' camper or RV. The measurements are listed as 30 x 35, with an asphalt pad. It says it is level and it has full sun. I would agree with most of that. This lot did not have full sun at the end of September, and the lot is only "mostly" level.

This lot was shady with only a couple of small patches of sun for a very brief time. The grassy area of the lot was mostly level, as was the tar pad; however, the ground slopes down considerably from the grass to meet the asphalt pad. If it had been raining at the time of our stay, I think we would have been stepping out into water. When we moved the picnic table over under the awning, we had to use two blocks under the table legs because of the slope.

Despite the slope, we liked this lot, and we would choose it again. This 30' lot was bigger than the 30' lot we stayed on in St. Ignace! Even though the lot is a center one, it is quite secluded with trees along the edges. There were no bushes or trees at the back of the lot, so our back window looked out to the campsite behind us (lot 159), which was not a big deal.

Lot 168 - Tannery Creek Campground

Lot 168 is listed with the same dimensions as lot 138; however, the lot is much wider. It had full sun, and it was very grassy. I thought this lot was nicer, although my husband liked lot 138 better. On lot 138, there were small trees between the lots, so we were not looking at the back of someone's camper when we were at the fire. There were no bushes or trees between lot 168 and lot 170, so the back of the camper on lot 170 was visible from our sitting area. This was not really an issue though, because lot 168 is so wide that the camper was quite far away from us. The camper visible in the photo below is the back of our unit.

lot 168
If you like to see the lot pictures when choosing a lot, I suggest looking at the connecting lot photos, too.

Dune and Tannery Creek Campground restrooms, dump station, misc.

There was one restroom building in Tannery Creek Campground. Individual showers were located in the same building outside of the bathroom facilities. I did not use the showers, and I did not use the restroom much, either. I thought the Women's campground bathroom was nasty, dirty, and it did not smell fresh. One thing that I dislike about state of Michigan park and rest area bathrooms, is that the toilet tissue is so thin you need to use three times as much (not a money saver!), and there are no hand towels; only low powered hand dryers.

There is additional/overflow parking in Tannery Creek Campground, which is nice. There were a couple of spots near the end of the campsite loops, and there was a large lot behind the restroom building.

There was a dumpster located in the overflow lot, and there was a dumpster located at the turnout before the dump station. There was not a dumpster located in the dump station area. There was only one dump station opening in this campground, and campers were lined up down the road on Sunday. I rode my bicycle to Headquarters (about one mile one-way) around 11:30 a.m. to check on the status of the reservation/check-in system. I passed a 5th wheel in line that had departed from the lot next to us several minutes earlier. When I rode past again on my return after completing our reservation with the ranger, this camper was just pulling up to the dump station, and there were about five more campers in line. When we left on Monday around the same time, we needed to wait behind one camper.

Dunes Campground was closed at the time of our stay. We walked through that campground, and the lots are smaller sites with dirt and stone surfaces. We did not observe any grassy or asphalt lots in the Dunes Campground.

Recreation - beach, picnic area, trails

looking toward beach area -
swimmers in the distance
The beach and picnic area in Petoskey State Park is about one mile from Tannery Creek Campground. As I already mentioned, there is a large beach parking lot. Unbelievably, the lake water was warm, and people were swimming in September!

I thought the beach restroom was nasty dirty, just like the one in the campground. The beach itself was pretty nice; sandy in some areas, and lots of stones in some areas.

The sign at the beach entrance said no grills or campfires are allowed. This is disappointing for picnickers in a large RV, because the picnic area located before the beach is very small. I observed one picnic table, and there was not enough room for a 5th wheel to maneuver and park in the picnic area.

We hiked most of the trails in the park: Portage Trail - easy and hard, Campground Trail, and Old Baldy Trail. The trail map on the park brochure and the one online do not match. There were more trails than what is shown on either map, so I edited the online copy to reflect all of the trails.

The posted distances and descriptions for the trails were accurate. Old Baldy Trail and Portage Trail (hard) both had an elevation climb of about 720'.
steps we climbed to the top
of Old Baldy trail

The trail map, and all photos in this blog, can be enlarged by clicking on them, and more trail photos can be found in the Petoskey, Michigan Facebook album.

Petoskey area overall

There is so much to do from this campground that we have already decided we want to visit again next spring.

I have two more recent reviews for this area. A blog post about the nearby trails can be found here, and a breweries post will be finished soon.

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