North Higgins Lake State Park, Michigan

North Higgins Lake State Park is located in Roscommon, Michigan, in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula. It sits on 429 acres and has a modern campground. Activities include swimming, boating, kayaking, playgrounds, and picnicking. Higgins Lake has 21 miles of shore, and is the tenth largest lake in Michigan. The Chippewa name for this lake--Sparkling Water, or Majinabeesh—seems to fit perfectly.

North Higgins Lake State Park is located just a few minutes from I-75, six miles west of Exit 244. This state park sits on the northern shore of the northern lobe of Lake Higgins. Lake Higgins drains into Marl Lake, then into the Cut River and then into Houghton Lake and on to Lake Michigan. The Lake Huron watershed begins just one mile north of here.

This is Conservation Drive (past S. King Road) looking south toward the northern lobe of Higgins Lake. The guard hut is just out of view; a Recreation Passport is needed to enter. This image was taken at 6 pm on June 21, 2016. There are campgrounds to the right and the left at the cross street.

Higgins Lake is seven miles long at its longest, four miles wide at its widest, and 135 feet deep at its deepest point. This lake is named for Sylvester Higgins, a topographer for the Michigan Geological Society. Swimming buoys are in the distance; a skin condition called “Swimmer’s Itch” may be present here. There are no lifeguards, unfortunately.

This is the picnic shelter at North Higgins Lake State Park beach area, plus one of the play areas. Obscured in this image are two very large grills in front of the shelter and waste receptacles. Behind the camera are modern amenities, though lacking showers. Additional picnic tables are out of view.

Not far from the picnic shelter are horseshoe pits and bike trails, but clouds are starting to roll in. There are three trails here: Beaver Creek Trail at six and a half miles; Bosom Pines Trail at three and three quarters miles; and the Upland Nature Trail at one and a half miles.

This is the snack shack at North Higgins Lake State Park, though it is closed because this image was taken late in the day. To the right of the shack, down the path a bit, is a footbath to rinse the sand off before heading home—or back to the campground—at day’s end.

This is one of the trails at North Higgins Lake State Park. Pine trees, ferns, and grasses that stood at five feet tall are what was found on this walk. During this stroll, much bug repellent was worn, plus sunscreen. Soon, a rain jacket will be needed.

This swing set and slide are located some steps from the picnic shelter, restroom, and large grills, but these are located close to the marina. Obscured in this image, though, are a small park grill and a picnic table. In addition to these amenities, the view of the beach here is wonderful. There are many watercraft out on a sunny afternoon.

There is a kayak rental here during the day, for ten dollars an hour, with a two-hour minimum. This is near the older swing set by the marina. If this were Lake Superior, a sea kayak—or touring kayak—would be needed. A sea kayak measures about ten to eighteen feet long and can handle slightly rougher waters than a recreational kayak, which typically measures less than twelve feet long.

This is the accessible boat launch at North Higgins Lake State Park. There is no fishing allowed from these piers, but fishing is allowed elsewhere. The marina is to the right. Behind the camera is a large parking lot for vehicles with boat trailers.

It’s late in the day at the marina, and a cloudburst is about to roll in at North Higgins Lake State Park. It’s time to run to the picnic shelter at the other end of the beach. The picnic shelter is reservable up to a year in advance for $50. It’s accessible, and has 20/30 amp electric service, and accommodates 75 people.

After the rain, comes the rainbow. This image was taken from the picnic shelter after the cloudburst over the marina. It’s after eight pm in Roscommon, Michigan, and the sun won’t be setting for a while, but it’s time to head back to the campground and get ready for bed. The large grills at this shelter were easy to use, and all the electrical outlets worked.

North Higgins Lake State Park is some 90 miles from both Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east. It is about 95 miles heading north to the Straights, but this is a great place to stop for the night if driving from Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana to the Upper Peninsula. Plus, it has a pretty beach just like the other great lakes in Michigan.

This is one of the two mini-cabins at North Higgins Lake State Park, and they are smaller than the rustic cabins. These mini-cabins sleep four people and are accessible. Mattresses and bunks are provided, but campers bring their own linens. A two-night stay is required; check-in is at three pm and check-out is at 1 pm. At the time of this writing, it costs $39 per night.

This state park has a lot of amenities, especially for boaters. This parking area is halfway between the campgrounds and the beach, and is different from the one at the day lot by the boat launch at the beach. The parking spots in the campground are rather tight, but a nice sized boat was squeezed in by a mini-cabin. This is better, though.

This is the west campground at North Higgins. (West has the two mini-cabins.) The restrooms to the right are clean and modern and have showers. There is electric, a fire ring, and a picnic table at each site, plus there is water available around the campground. There are large waste cans up the road. This campground feels a little tight when it fills up. The editor of this blog hasn’t been here during the winter, but cross-country skiing trails are open, according to the MDNR website. There is also a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) museum here.

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