Michigan State Parks Centennial: Thompson’s Harbor

Thompson’s Harbor State Park is located 25 miles north of Alpena in Presque Isle County. The 5,109-acre state park encompasses 7.5 miles of pristine, undeveloped Lake Huron shoreline and more than 6 miles of trails through woods and dunes.

It’s a very primitive park, but that’s what makes it so special. Limited amenities and access keep it in pristine condition.

Activities at Thompson’s Harbor

The main activities at Thompson’s Harbor State Park are hunting, hiking, cross-country skiing, and birding. While most of the trails are rustic, wet or sandy, there is a section of trail that is crushed limestone gravel and considered handicap accessible.

Path through the woods

In the spring, there is a short window where the spring run-off creates favorable conditions to kayak or tube from Grand Lake to Lake Huron.

Many people berry pick in the park, foraging for blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Thompson’s Harbor is known to be the home to the state’s largest population of the state wildflower, the Dwarf Lake Iris. It carpets the forest floor and looks just like a normal purple iris but in miniature form. Naturalists enjoy visiting the park to study not only the Dwarf Lake Iris but also the rare coastal fen and bog environment within the park boundaries.

Thompson’s Harbor also is one of the state’s designated Dark Sky Preserves. Its remote location and lack of facilities provide excellent nighttime views of the stars.

Hunting and Fishing

Hunting and fishing are allowed in the park. Fishermen can hike the trails to the Lake Huron shoreline or in the winter icefish on Green Lake. Hunters will find phenomenal grouse hunting, as well as deer, bear and snowshoe hares.

Rustic Cabins

The only camping you’ll find at Thompson’s Harbor State Park is in two rustic cabins, Cedar Haven and Stone Path. The cabins are open year-round and the DNR plows out their access roads in the winter.

No dispersed camping is allowed in the park.

Thompson’s Harbor Final Impressions

The state park may be primitive, but it’s pristine. If you come to visit, you’ll enjoy the solitude of nature and a unique ecosystem. Check out the park map before you visit to determine the best place to park for your desired activity. Trails and bird viewing sites are marked, as are the general condition of the trails.

Two people in front of a sign that says Thompson's Harbor State Park

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. (We have a video about Thompson’s Harbor State Park here.) You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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