Michigan State Parks: Negwegon

Negwegon State Park Entrance Sign

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Negwegon State Park is on the northeast side of Michigan’s lower peninsula on the shore of Lake Huron. It’s just south of the city of Alpena and was originally called Alpena State Park. In the 1970s the state renamed it to honor Chief Negwegon of the Ojibwa Tribe, who used to live in the area.

Negwegon State Park is 4,000 acres and is a very rustic, undeveloped park. It has a wilderness feel with 11 miles of trails that wind through towering trees. You also can enjoy the sandy beach along Lake Huron. The only facilities at the state park are a vault toilet and a handpump for water near the parking lot.

Negwegon State Park Beach
Negwegon State Park Beach
Beach on Lake Huron
Negwegon State Park along Lake Huron

Getting to the park

As part of its rustic charm, you access Negwegon State Park via a seasonal road. This means you should use caution depending on conditions. Portions of the road are very sandy, others are bumpy, and the county does not plow in the winter.

The DNR cautions that four-wheel drive may be required, though we did not have to use it during our visit. We saw plenty of different models of vehicles from small sedans to large trucks in the parking lot.

Negwegon State Park Map

Camping at Negwegon State Park

While not technically a day-use only park, it’s pretty close. There is no modern campground. There are 4 rustic backcountry campsites that you can get to either by hiking or boating in. The closest site is 1 mile from the main parking lot, while the farthest is a 2.5-mile walk. You can also paddle in from Lake Huron, although there is no boat launch. Signs along the beach provide direction to each campsite from the water.

At each campsite, you will find a picnic table and a fire ring with a grate on it for cooking. One unique thing is each site also has a small dedicated vault toilet. This is due to being so close to Lake Huron that they don’t want waste being left randomly in the ground near the water.  

Campsite at Negwegon State Park
One of the backcountry campsites

Best time to visit

Negwegon State Park is a must-visit during fall color season. The trees are simply on fire with so many reds, oranges and yellows. While I’m sure it’s pretty any time of year, I would highly recommend late September or early October.

It also is a Dark Sky Preserve. This means it is protected from light pollution and is a great place to view the stars on a cloudless night.

The state allows hunting in the park in appropriate seasons. We chatted with two hunters the day we visited and they said it is a good place for deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, and other small game. Be mindful to wear bright colors if you’ll be visiting during hunting season.

Fall colors
Aren’t the fall colors gorgeous?

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. We have a video about Negwegon State Park here. You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see each of the parks we visited on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtag #hikecampgo.

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