ALPENA COUNTY, Mich. (Michigan Back Roads) – Negwegon State Park is one of the last unimproved state parks in Michigan. It has just four campsites, and all are remote.
This is a perfect place for those seeking solitude. In addition, there is a mysterious stone ruin deep in the forest. The main structure is about 80 feet wide and 300 feet long.
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A gravel parking lot is at the entrance to the park. There are vault style comfort facilities; there is an artesian well flowing so you can fill your canteen. If you hike toward the sound of Lake Huron, you will reach a secluded beach that is as wild as it was before the area was settled.
Campers should note the trail into the park is at the north end of the parking lot. You must walk since no motorized vehicles are allowed. Campers need to bring everything since there is no store or ranger office. The nearest town is miles away so take everything you need. The path is well maintained but can be wet. After you pass Campsite 3 you will come to a fork in the trail. Stay to the right and you will enter a rather large meadow. If you keep on through the meadow you will reach Campsite 4. The Bird Islands are offshore, and the lights of Alpena are visible in the distance after dark.
The ruins consist of old stone walls and cairns. To find them, you take the left branch of the fork in the trail, just before the meadow. Hike another hundred yards and you arrive at a small stream that crosses the path. Turn to the left and follow the stream into the trees and eventually into a swampy area. In early spring or after the first hard frost in the fall, the undergrowth will be sparse. Searching carefully, one can find the old stone construction. It consists of long stone walls with right angles. There are rooms and enclosures defined by walls that are about three feet high. There are also very unusual round structures that look like nothing I have seen. They were reported as cairns by trappers and others during the lumber era. The round structures are 6 – 10 feet across and 4 feet high in some cases, and there are a lot of them. This site is easily the size of two football fields. No one knows when it was constructed, who did it, or what purpose it served.
To protect this site, I don’t give exact directions. The local historical society can help with that. Negwegon State Park is located on the shores of Lake Huron a few miles north of Black River. The park and the road to it are rough and wild.
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