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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Grayling, Michigan / Hartwick Pines State Park - campground and hiking trails, Grayling Bicycle Trail, and Downtown Breweries

May 2016, Weekday-weekend, 2-nights, Site 12

We stayed in Hartwick Pines State Park on lot 99 in October 2015. Additional campground, hiking, and area information can be found at the following links: state park blog post, bicycle turnpike blog post, and Grayling, Michigan Facebook album. Following is new and/or different information that I did not provide before. 


The office was not staffed when we arrived on Thursday evening, and the posted sign said to use the yellow phone to check-in. It was raining when we arrived, and there was a large puddle in the area by the yellow telephone. The two roof lines meet in this area, and rain was running off the roof in a steady stream. Since we had made an advance reservation, we should have set up and returned to check-in later!

Site 12

Site 12 is a back in site near the trail to the Amphitheater. It is grassy, level, private, and sunny (when it is not raining, that is). The trail leading to the Amphitheater was behind our RV, and there were a few bushy trees along the trail, so this did not diminish the privacy on the site. The site has 20/30 amp power hook-up, as do all of the sites in this campground. I am surprised that the full hook-up pull-through sites are not 50 amp.

There must not be any cell or TV towers near this campground, because the cell phone and TV reception was poor. Most people in our group did not have any cell reception, and mine was spotty. Cell phone reception was better on Bright and Glory trail than in the campground. Our RV antenna usually picks up pretty well, and we did not get any TV channels.

Sanitation station

This campground has only one sanitation station dump spot with a lane on each side. During our previous stay, the area was always busy, despite the fact that most of the sites in this campground are full hook-up. We departed on Saturday this trip, and did not encounter anyone else using the facility.

click on trail map to enlarge


When we visited this campground last fall, Bright and Glory Nature Trail was closed because of a large fallen tree on the trail. The tree was still across the trail; however, the closed trail sign was no longer posted at the campground entrance. We passed hikers after starting on the trail, who told us the trail was closed. We had been able to go around the tree last time, so we continued on. This time, the area around the fallen tree was filled with water from the spring rains. We initially thought we could not get through, and then we found a dry, although tricky, way around the southwest side of the tree to Bright and Glory lakes.

The next day, we tried to find Hartwick Lake via the trail across from the picnic area. The trail, which starts across from the lodge next to the picnic area, is a bit tricky to find, as there are no signs on the north side of the road after the trail from the Visitor's Center ends at the lodge and picnic area. The marked photos above show the trail entrance - watch for the blue hiking trail sign after crossing the street.

water across the trail
Hartwick Lake is even more difficult to find. After crossing M-93, and then walking a very short distance, we took the first trail to the right. We hiked for a couple of miles, almost to Scenic Drive shown on the map above. We never saw the lake, although we did need to maneuver a few small lakes across the trail! If anyone reading this has been to Hartwick Lake, please share how you found it.

Downtown Grayling

We bicycled the same route as last time we stayed in Hartwick Pines, and our experience was similar.  There was construction along Business-72, which created a detour for vehicles. On bicycles, we were able to get through on the path through the park next to the Chamber of Commerce. We visited Dead Bear Brewing Company, Valley Mist Vineyards tasting room, and Paddle Hard Brewing.

sampler at Dead Bear Brewing
Valley Mist tasting room and Paddle Hard Brewing are connected, which we did not realize, since Paddle Hard Brewing had not been open last time we made this trip. The beer prices at Paddle Hard Brewing were a bit high, although the service and beer quality were excellent.

We have a Michigan Brewvine Passbook, which has coupons for both of these breweries. The books are a bit pricey at $25 each; we purchased them during a 2 for 1 promotion.

Please share your experiences, and feel free to share this post for others!