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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cadillac, Michigan / William Mitchell State Park, lakes, trails, Clam Lake Beer Company in downtown Cadillac

May 2016, Weekend, 2-nights, Lot 41

Sunrise view from inside camper on lot 41
We camped in William Mitchell State Park on lot 102 in September 2014. You can find more state park information in that blog post, and in the Cadillac, Michigan Facebook album. In this post, I am sharing more details about lot 41, and information that was new or different than we experienced in 2014.


I have learned that check-in is not the same at all State of Michigan campgrounds during the off-season. When the ranger station is not staffed upon arrival, you need to read the posted instructions to see how to proceed. Some campground instructions say to use the yellow phone to check-in, even when you have a reservation, and some have a list of incoming campers posted with instructions to proceed to your site. I think that is why we encountered confusion when we camped in Fayette! I must have missed the instructions when we arrived at that campground. This time, our reservation was posted with instructions telling us to proceed to our lot.

Lot 41

Lot 41 is an end pull-through lot near Lake Cadillac. This area of the campground was not too busy during our stay, although there is potential for heavy activity around this lot from vehicles driving around the loop on the end. The campground was more full than I expected; however, most campers were staying near the boat launch and channel.
View from lot 41

There is a good view of Lake Cadillac from lot 41, and we were able to tie up our small boat on the lake.

Fire pit for lot 39

The lot was not very wide (45', it says online). I would not want to stay on this lot in an RV when the campground is full, unless I was camping with the people on lot 39. The fire pit on lot 39 was close to our bedroom, and there was no choice about where to position our RV (unless we wanted to face lot 39 and use their fire pit, like the campers did in 2014!). You can see an RV on lot 41 in the DNR photo of lot 39 on the website (2nd photo), which looks like it was parked even closer to the lot line than we were.

Most of the lots in this campground are not very spacious or secluded. I observed a couple of decent sized lots near the west end, although I cannot imagine why anyone would want to camp next to M-115. I tend to think lot 102, where we camped before, is one of the best lots in this campground.

Lake Mitchell, Lake Cadillac, sunrise, sunset

The sun rises over Lake Cadillac, and there is a great view from lot 41. The sun sets over Lake Mitchell, where the picnic area for this park is located. There is a sidewalk along the channel underneath M-115 connecting the two lakes.
Sunset from the channel
There is a boat launch inside the campground on Lake Cadillac, and there is a boat launch in the picnic/beach area across M-115 on Lake Mitchell. There is also a small beach inside the campground on Lake Cadillac, near the cabins for rent.

Docks in town
While on our boat ride, we observed docks downtown Cadillac. I imagine you could use the docks to tie up your boat and walk to town, although we did not stop to check for sure. We rode our bicycles to town instead.

Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center and Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area

We walked the trails behind the Visitor's Center again - nice walk! We also visited the Visitor's Center, which was more than we expected. There were three rooms, plus the entry, with displays and northern Michigan information.

Snowy owl and beaver display inside the Visitor's Center

Downtown Cadillac, paved trails

The paved trail that starts at the Visitor's Center only goes a short distance to Kenwood Park. Kenwood park has a beach, bathhouse (not open when we visited), picnic area, and frisbee golf. You can also walk from this park to Mitchell State Park Heritage Nature Trail.

View of Lake Cadillac and campground from paved trail before Kenwood Park
Our bicycle ride from our camp lot to downtown Cadillac was just over 3½ miles one-way. There is a small paved shoulder for bicycles after Kenwood Park, and the speed limit on North Blvd. was only 25 MPH. When you get closer to town, there are more parks and paved trails along Lake Cadillac, although the trails are only for pedestrians; no bikes allowed.

We visited Clam Lake Beer Company downtown Cadillac. We split a Rueben sandwich, had a few beer tastes, and filled our growler. The service and food were excellent. There were a few shops in town, although we did not do any shopping.

Please feel free to share this information for others!