Regan’s First Backpacking Trip – Spending a night at the Jack Pine Hike-in campground in Ludington State Park – Sept 25-26, 2010
A good way to escape the crowds in one of the most popular parks in the state is to stay at the Jack Pine Hike-in campsites. They also make a great beginner backpacking trip for kids. The Jack Pine campground is an easy mile walk down the service road that leads to Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The campground has 10 sites that can be reserved in advance though the MI State Park online reservation system. For a rustic campsite they are a little pricey at $16 per night plus an $8 reservation fee. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. There are also 2 pit toilets nearby and a hand pump for drinking water.
Regan at the trail head on her first backpacking trip. The trail to the Jack Pine is pretty much a 1 mile walk on a dirt road. There was a cool breeze coming off the lake and some occasional light drizzle as we walked.
The Ludington State Park hiking trail map. The Jackpine hike-in campsites are on the left side of the map just above the dotted line. If the map does not show up above click here >>
We stayed at site A in the Jack Pine campground.
Looking over to the other walk-in camp sites. On the map it looks like all the sites are well spaced from each other, but sites A, B, C & D are actually in an open area and fairly close together. The rest of the sites have a little more spacing and privacy.
There were only 2 other sites that were occupied on this weekend. Site E above was one of the better sites.
The Jack Pine Campground Map. Sites A to E are on the right and F to J on the left.
To reserve a specific site visit: www.midnrreservations.com
After setting up camp and gathering fire wood the sun came out when we were getting ready to make dinner.
After dinner we walked 3/4 of a mile up the beach to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
Stopping to play in the sand.
Approaching the Big Sable Point Lighthouse from the beach.
Heading up the dune to the Lighthouse.
The tower in front of the Big Sable Lighthouse… we are not sure what it is.
127 year old tree stump by the lighthouse.
We decided to walk the road back to the campsite. This is the view of the path from the top of the dune near the lighthouse.
The setting sun on the dunes on the walk back.
When we got back to camp we made a fire and had some hot chocolate. A warm sleeping bag was sounding good so we went to bed shortly after dark. It was a cool night and when we woke up in the morning there was frost. We made another fire and some oatmeal to stay warm. After breakfast we hiked some of the trails and searched for a few geocaches.
A long oak branch along the Coast Guard trail.
At the intersection of the Lighthouse and Logging trails.
The dunes at the end of the Coast Guard trail.
Packing up camp and getting ready to head home.
For more on this trip and other Michigan backpacking trips see: Backpacking in Michigan
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