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Monday, October 19, 2015

Grayling, Michigan / Hartwick Pines State Park, Campground and Recreation Info

October 2015, Weekend, 3-nights, Lot 99


Arrival/check-in

There was not anyone working in the contact station when we arrived Friday afternoon. I spoke with a female when I used the yellow telephone to check-in. We had an advance reservation, and I also observed our name on the board for campers checking in that day. Remember that you always need your license plate number when checking in! I always remember to bring this when I go inside to check-in with an employee, but for some reason I forgot it when I got out after seeing that the office was closed. All camper vehicles in Michigan state parks need to have a recreation passport, so I wish the state of Michigan would update the website so we could enter this information during the reservation process.

Glory Lake in Hartwick Pines State Park
This campground was almost full the weekend of our stay, so I was surprised that no one was working in the contact station when we arrived. We observed someone checking campers in on Sunday when we left for our bike ride, and when we returned later that day.

Lot 99

Before I get into the details of lot 99, I want to say that I do not think there is a bad lot in this state park. It has some of the best camping lots of any of the state parks I have visited. There are 100 lots in this campground, and about half of them have full hookup. All of the lots accommodate an RV up to 40', and most of them are partially secluded.

We decided to go to Hartwick Pines State Park less than two weeks before our stay, and there were not many camping sites left to choose from. We thought lot 10 and lot 99 looked like the two best choices from the ones that were available. Lot 10 is along the perimeter, and it is a back-in lot. Lot 99 is a large pull-through lot at the end of the loop. You can enlarge the photos in this blog post by clicking on them, and there are more photos of the campground lots and trails for this park in the Grayling, Michigan Facebook album.


Lot 99 looks fairly secluded in the photos on the reservation site. This lot does have some nice trees and growth along the edge; however, most of the shrubby is at the front of the lot, and all of the hookups are at the back of the lot. So, unless you have very long water and sewer hoses, you will not be able to enjoy the seclusion provided by the trees and brush. We had long enough hoses to park off the road and hook up, although we did not have enough hose to park at the front of the lot. We could tell that the camper before us must have been just about on the road at the back, because the grass area where their [smaller] mat had been was closer to the road than where ours ended up.

Something else to be aware of, is that this lot slopes downhill from the hookups. The state website says that the lot is unlevel; however, it is not clear which direction the unlevelness occurs. Because it slopes down from the hookups, it is not easy to drain the tanks without an RV drain hose support.

Lot 99 is a nice grassy lot with sunshine, and it has a tar pad. Lot 10 looked like a nice lot, as well.

Facilities, sanitation station

The restrooms in this state park looked clean and well maintained. Individual shower stalls are located in the same building.

Women's restroom
There is one sanitation station and dumpster area located on the road that goes into the campground. Recycling bins are located next to the dumpster. Even though many of the lots have full hookup, the sanitation area was busy every morning we went by.

Recreation in park - trails, Visitor's Center, Day Use area

Hartwick Pines State Park is 9,762 acres of beauty! It is is one of the largest state parks in the Lower Peninsula.

Visitor's Center
A playground, volleyball net, and basketball hoop are located in the campground, and there are several trails in the park: Bright and Glory Trail, Old Growth Forest Trail, Au Sable River Trail, Mertz Grade Trail, and there are unnamed trails that start near the campground.

The Visitor's Center is about two hilly miles from the campground via the road or the trail through the woods. Other places to visit in the park include the Logging Museum, Chapel in the Woods, Day Use/picnic area, and Bright and Glory lakes.

fireplace with available wood in the covered picnic shelter on M-93
There is a nice paved trail from the state park to the town of Grayling. Since there is so much trail and recreation information to share, I have a separate blog post with that information.

Overall and misc.

This has become our new favorite Michigan state park! I am amazed that neither one of us had been to this park before. We are already planning our next trip to the park to finish hiking the trails we missed.

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