Backcountry tent camping deep within hardwood forest near the center of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, between Empire, Glen Arbor, and the Glen Lakes. This site is very quiet and completely private, in the center of a 40-acre forested parcel, and surrounded by thousands of acres of National Lakeshore and private forest land. It is abundant with wildlife; listen for thrush
Backcountry tent camping deep within hardwood forest near the center of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, between Empire, Glen Arbor, and the Glen Lakes. This site is very quiet and completely private, in the center of a 40-acre forested parcel, and surrounded by thousands of acres of National Lakeshore and private forest land. It is abundant with wildlife; listen for thrush, barred owls, ravens, and coyotes.
Please note that this is a backcountry camping site. This means that the camp site is not by the parking spot, and there are no amenities; please practice Leave No Trace. The camp site is a ~300 ft walk up a short but steep trail. Driveway construction is planned for Spring 2022.
THE CAMP SITE - You may camp anywhere in the partly cleared 2-acre area with a meadow, two fire pits, lots of hammock trees, and small deck for open air camping. There are three areas in the meadow that have been leveled for tents, two on the low ends 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. There is no water or toilet, or other amenities, but it is a spot to pitch a tent and experience the northern forest without the filter of a busy campground.
THE PROPERTY - The property is situated on the northeast face of a large end moraine formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation with about 250 ft of elevation gain from its lowest to highest point. Explore the property by hiking west from the camp - there is a rough trail in the valley between the two lobes of the hill (trail in progress, follow the pink flagging). Up top is a plateau with treed views of Big Glen Lake and evening sunshine. 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 house.
VEHICLE ACCESS - Welcome to Northern Michigan! The camp is accessed off Echo Valley Road, which is a seasonal, unmaintained two-track road that can be sandy, rocky, and rutted. I recommend accessing Echo Valley Road from Benzonia Trail and not Plowman Road, as the Plowman Road side is very sandy. Most vehicles are fine on Echo Valley Rd if you are careful and drive slowly (I used to access it via 1990's Honda Civic), but if you are unsure or not confident driving on seasonal roads, this may not be for you. I do not recommend driving an RV or towing a trailer down Echo Valley Rd.
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. If you want to do this you will want to bring a saw or hatchet. If you would like pre-cut firewood there are several roadside stands on Benzonia Trail and Plowman Road just south of Echo Valley Rd.
*Please do not cut into live trees! * We have noticed that people have been chopping into the live 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!) PLEASE do not cut into the live trees - especially the hammock trees!
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.
TICKS - Leelanau County has deer ticks which carry Lyme disease. You should check yourself for ticks at the end of the day each day.
CONTACT - Please TEXT, or message me on HipCamp, if you have any questions.
- 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.
Stables are in the area.
Natural features you'll find at Echo Valley Backcounty Camp in Michigan.
Places to see near Echo Valley Camp
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Staying at Echo Valley Backcountry Camp was a delight. We wanted something in between car camping and backpacking (essentially wanted few people around us but still have access to the car for day trips) and this was perfect! The raised platform was helpful when it rained, and there was a small camper with some items we forgot available (like tin foil). The hill you have to climb from your car to the campsite is annoying at first but you get used to it, and climbing it to get away from your car makes you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere in the best way. If I were to go back I'd make sure to bring a bear can so I didn't have to go back down to the car to hide my snacks before bed. Overall, a great stay! Would recommend!
This was a great camp site once we found it. Finding it however was the adventure. The directions provided were...less helpful. Tried calling Liana but she wouldn’t answer the number she had provided. But finally after talking to some locals we were able to find it. Once we were there it was absolutely gorgeous. Peaceful. Full of wildlife and beautiful scenery. Now that we know where it is we will be back
Beautiful secluded spot. The way in is just a bit steep and tricky but the site is more than worth it. The camper onsite is also a great help, but be warned—if you store food in it overnight, the porcupines may come a-scratchin :)
Very much recommended!
We love camping and new adventures, but make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. We enjoyed the privacy and unique location, but had a VERY hard time finding the place.. The directions were a little misleading.. There is a separate path off from the two track that is overgrown, making it hard to tell that it’s a path to drive on. It was also difficult with no reception, so we drove around for an hour and thankfully found it after quite the roundabout.. Also, watch out for all the pot holes on the dirt road! We were also unaware of the skinny, steep incline you had to walk up with all of your stuff to your camping spot. It was quite the hassle going back and forth with all of our things, but we also could have prepared better. The upkeep wasn’t the greatest, but the weather and nature area was beautiful! It’s quite pricy in our opinion for a piece of land in the woods, but regardless we had a great time together enjoying the nature around us.
My friends and I stayed at the Echo Valley campground and loved it! There was a brand new fire pit and fire wood ready for us once we arrived. We love experiencing the outdoors and this was a great way to do so! This campsite is very secluded! We have nothing but good things to say about it. Thank you Liana.