Hipcamp host Liana M.,
Hosted by
Liana has self-certified that Hipcamp’s COVID-19 Safety Standards have been implemented at this listing. See what’s being done here.

Updates: The trail is now fully flagged with pink flagging tape. However, it has not all been constructed, so generally, just the route up to the top of the hill and back down is cleared. If you follow the flagging back you can do a couple loops but you may have to negotiate some sticks and logs...

Echo Valley Camp is a *backcounty* tent site located deep with


Updates: The trail is now fully flagged with pink flagging tape. However, it has not all been constructed, so generally, just the route up to the top of the hill and back down is cleared. If you follow the flagging back you can do a couple loops but you may have to negotiate some sticks and logs...

Echo Valley Camp is a *backcounty* tent site located deep within hardwood forest near the center of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, five minutes from Empire Beach, Glen Haven, and Glen Arbor, and just a mile south of the Glen Lakes. This site is completely private, with only one site rented at a time, in the center of a 40-acre parcel, by thousands of acres of National Lakeshore and private forested land. It is abundant with wildlife; listen for thrush, barred owls, ravens, and coyotes. Walk the trails on the property, cook dinner over a wood fire and watch the stars come out, or enjoy fine dining La Becasse, just 2 miles from the site, or a great burger at the Friendly Tavern in Empire or Art's Bar in Glen Arbor, both about 5 miles away. Swim at Old Settler's Park on Big Glen or drive to several Lake Michigan beaches in 5 minutes.

CAMP SITE - Please note this is an unmaintained backcountry camping site. This means that you have to walk into the site from the parking area (you do not camp by your car), and there are no amenities. The camp site is a ~300 ft walk up a short but steep trail from the end of the driveway where you will park, so you need to anticipate carrying your camping gear up this trail. (A road up is coming!) If you are coming in late, expect a very dark woods!

You may camp anywhere in a partially wooded 2-acre area with a meadow, two fire pits, lots of hammock trees, and small deck for open air camping. There are three tent sites in the meadow that have been flattened for tents (two on the low end of the hill, one on the high end). There is also a storage bid with some basics (usually but not always, tin foil, lighters, utensils, batteries, bug spray, waterproofing spray, etc...) that you can use if you forget something, or leave something extra. There are grills for the fire pit. It gets dark in the woods, so bring a flashlight and perhaps some LED lanterns. There is no water or toilet, and the site is not maintained regularly, but it is a spot to pitch a tent and experience the northern forest without the filter of a busy campground or groomed lawns. 

Explore the property by hiking west from the camp. There is a rough trail from the camp site that runs up a valley to the hill top with treed views of Big Glen Lake and evening sunshine. The trails are being developed (your foot traffic helps!). Look for pink flagging tape. There is a big kettle hole formed by glacial ice deposits across the road from the driveway, about 150 feet to the north (no trail). Please do not follow the two-track from the campsite to the south, as this goes to the neighbor's property.  

VEHICLE ACCESS - Welcome to Northern Michigan! The camp is accessed off Echo Valley Road, which is a rough, seasonal, unmaintained two-track road that can be sandy, rocky, and rutted. If you have 2-wheel drive, I recommend accessing Echo Valley Road from Benzonia Trail end, not Plowman Road, as the Plowman Road side is very sandy. Most vehicles are fine on Echo Valley Rd if you drive mindfully. I do NOT recommend driving a motorcycle, RV, or towing a trailer down Echo Valley Road. 

FIRES AND WOOD - Keep fires in the pit or ring, and always put out completely before leaving the site. If the listing says that fires are not allowed, that means there is a local fire ban in effect because of high wildfire risk. Fire will then be allowed once the township lifts the ban. Please do not bring wood from home! Moving firewood is one of the main ways tree pests and diseases are introduced to a region, resulting in a huge loss for our forests (e.g. emerald ash borer, beech bark disease, etc). There are a lot of downed trees and branches that you are welcomed to cut and burn. Bring a saw or hatchet. If you would like pre-cut firewood there are several roadside stands on Benzonia Trail and Plowman Road.

*Please do not cut into live trees!* We have noticed that people have been chopping into the hammock trees with their hatchets around the campsite. This can kill the tree through girdling or creating an infection site for disease (especially the small ones).

FOOD - We have BLACK BEAR and other curious critters. Practice bear-safe camping by storing food and anything "smelly" in a bear can, by hanging it, or in your car when you are sleeping or not on site. Do not store food in your tent or the critters will come scratching around.

TICKS - Leelanau County has deer ticks which carry Lyme disease, especially along the lakeshore. Check for ticks daily!

THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA - There is a ton of great activities for everyone close to the camp and in the larger region. Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore has great beaches, swimming, and hiking. Pay attention to the wind directions and pick one of the several beaches or bays that suits your preference. The paved Heritage Trail is good for road and gravel bikes, it runs from Empire to Port Oneida. There are a few mountain bike trails in the area as well (Palmer Woods in Glen Arbor, Arcadia Bluffs trail south of Frankfort, etc). If you want to get out on the water I recommend trying to get out onto Lake Michigan on a kayak or paddle board (make sure to check the weather forecast, storms blow up quickly) and perhaps avoid the masses floating the Platte or Crystal Rivers - these rivers are in rough shape from way too much use in the summer. You can also rent a pontoon and get out on Big Glen. If you want to access Big Glen by land, try Old Settler Park just a few miles east of the camp site. There is no beach but there is a hand-launch and dock. Also I can't neglect to mention the plethora of wineries, breweries, cider houses, distilleries, farm stands, food trucks and restaurants in Leelanau, Traverse City, and Old Mission Peninsula. There is a great farm stand just East of Plowman Rd on M-72 at "Backyard Burdickville," a couple miles from camp. For fine dining in Traverse City try Stellas, Pepe Nero, Poppycock's, or Town Plaza. There are too many great places to include here so if you are interested in something specific please text me. 

CONTACT - Please TEXT, or message me on HipCamp, if you have any questions of if you need directions or recommendations.

Campsite area
Bring your own tents
1 site
Up to 22 guests per site
Short walk
No wheelchair access
Campfires allowed
Pets allowed
No toilet
Kitchen available
No potable water
No showers
No picnic table
No wifi
Pack it out
Have a question? Send Liana a message!
  • Check in: After 2PM
  • Check out: Before 12PM
  • Cancellation policy: Moderate
  • On arrival: Go straight to camp
  • Minimum nights: 1 night
  • Accepts bookings: 12 months out


Offered on the Host's property or nearby.


Mountain biking at Palmer Woods and all biking on the paved Heritage Trail.


On the big lake or one of the many inland lakes.


Tons of hiking in the National Lakeshore and a couple short forest hikes on this parcel.

Horseback riding

Stables are in the area.

Wind sports
Off-roading (OHV)
Snow sports
Wildlife watching


Natural features you'll find at Echo Valley Backcountry Camp in Michigan.


40 Reviews

This listing has no reviews yet.
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper Ansley
Ansley P.
recommends this listing.
October 6th, 2021

A great remote spot at a great price close to the best parts of the area — we would definitely book this site again!

Hipcamper Amylyn

Excellent camping!

Amylyn R.
recommends this listing.
September 14th, 2021

Excellent host. We had a group of friends that stayed at the camp for a night and really enjoyed how much space there was to set up multiple tents. They have a container with needed fire supplies. You can get wood right down the road. We would go again!

Hipcamper Kirsten

Great remote spot!

Kirsten T.
recommends this listing.
September 12th, 2021

Beautiful campsite and land. The campsite is exactly how the listing describes. Easy to find by following the listing’s directions. Clicking on the map to the location did not work. It gave us wrong directions. Screen shot instructions and details beforehand. There is no service on Echo Valley Rd. One of the most remote campsites we’ve stayed at. You will feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. I slept so well listening to the animal and forest night sounds. So close to Empire, Grand Haven, and the Dunes. If you enjoy back country camping, this is your spot! Loved!

Hipcamper Liana
Response from Liana, the Host, on September 16th, 2021

Thank you for the review, and for letting me know the map pin did not work for you. I'll look into that to see if I can fix it!

Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Mackenzie

Great location, spacious, serene!

Mackenzie D.
recommends this listing.
August 25th, 2021

Staying at Echo Valley Backcountry Camp was a treat! The campsite was clean and well-kept. We had a very easy tent set-up thanks to the platform near the fire pit. Able to find the site easily with the directions provided!

Hipcamper Emily
Emily C.
recommends this listing.
August 5th, 2021

BEAUTIFUL spot, very close to Sleeping Bear park, felt like I was in the middle of nowhere but didn't have to hike miles with all my stuff! 10/10 recommend!

Hipcamper kylie
Kylie N.
recommends this listing.
July 18th, 2021

Great camp site and very close to the park. The grounds were clean and I liked having the wood platform to set my tent up on.

Hipcamper Sandra
Sandra A.
recommends this listing.
July 5th, 2021

Great private spot to camp but close to many attractions in sleeping bear and glen arbor

Hipcamper Jesse

Idylic and isolated camp llocation

Jesse F.
recommends this listing.
July 2nd, 2021

It was isolated and very idylic. Great tree cover during the rain storms too.

Hipcamper Jeremiah

Setup options, spacious—good host.

Jeremiah S.
recommends this listing.
June 15th, 2021

There were plenty of items there that we didn’t expect to find. From other campers? Or from the site owners. A couple fire pits and a large open space for star gazing. A hike that we got our extra steps in on, lol. Worth all the time setting up, cozy and out of the way from other noise(except coyotes). Close to the action, far enough away! Host was great in communication.


Best of 2019 Michigan
Echo Valley Camp
United States
1 Site

Lists including Echo Valley Backcountry Camp

2088 camps including Caboose House in beautiful NY and Magic Meadow Cabin