Whether you’re looking for a spot to relax and read a book for an afternoon or to spend the night sleeping out in the open under the stars, Michigan has plenty of great locations to hang your Hammock.
Hammocks are becoming more and more popular. They’re a lightweight, affordable alternative to a tent, especially for backpackers. And carrying one assures you’ll always have a place to stop and rest as long as you can find two trees close together. They’re also incredibly good for you. It turns out a hammock places you in the perfect sleep position, taking pressure off your joints and increasing blood flow to the brain. Folks who sleep in hammocks usually sleep longer and more soundly. Here are some of the best places in Michigan to hang your hammock.
Hang Your Hammock for the Day
1. The University of Michigan – Not all hammocks have to hang in the woods. Visit the U of M campus on a warm, sunny afternoon and you’re sure to see a few students hanging around in their nylon cocoons. Since this is urban hammocking, trees aren’t necessarily required. Lamp posts, columns on buildings and other man-made objects can work. Find a spot in the Diag and nap to lulling sounds of the Baird Carillon in the Burton Bell Tower.
2. Canyon Falls – Day hiking, a waterfall and a great place to hang a hammock, what could be better? Canyon Falls in the Upper Peninsula is easily accessible from a trail that starts at a roadside park along U.S. 41 near L’ Anse. It’s about a half mile hike to the falls from the parking lot along a well-defined trail. You’ll find yourself deep in the woods along the Sturgeon River, and there are plenty of places to hang your hammock and read a book to the soothing sound of one of Michigan’s largest waterfalls.
3. Belle Isle – Belle Isle Park is an island located in the middle of the Detroit River in the city of the same name. It’s a day-use state park and nature reserve managed by the DNR. With three lakes and 150 wooded acres, you’re sure to find a place for your hammock. You’ll also find a zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, and aquarium on this island. Overnight camping is not permitted.
Hang Your Hammock for Camping Overnight
1. The Jordan River Pathway – This is an 18.5 mile loop with overlooks, wooded valleys and the Jordan River in Northern Michigan’s Antrim County. This pristine wilderness was Michigan’s first designated National Wild and Scenic River. It’s perfect for an overnight backpacking trip with your hammock. There are two state forest campgrounds along the trail. You can hang your hammock at a designated site, or anywhere within a mile of the campgrounds following Michigan’s dispersed camping rules. This trail is moderately difficult to difficult, and it’s teeming with small wildlife like beaver and skunk. It’s probably more suitable for experienced backpackers and hammockers.
2. North Manitou Island – This wild, isolated island is located in Lake Michigan, 12 miles offshore from Leland where you can access it by ferry. It’s part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. There is a small campground, but wilderness camping is permitted almost anywhere on the island. You’ll have your pick of trees to hang your hammock. All supplies must be packed in and there are no facilities. You’ll experience a level of solitude rare in today’s busy world. At night, you’ll fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore.
3. Hoeft State Park – If you want to camp in your hammock without taking a hike, try a Michigan State Park. Choosing a heavily wooded park like Hoeft Park along Lake Huron will ensure you’ll find the trees you need. You’ll also have access to a mile of sandy shoreline. In addition, the park connects to the paved Huron Sunrise Trail which hugs the beach for 10 miles, all the way to Rogers City. When making reservations for hammock camping, it may be helpful to do it over the phone, so you can ask a park ranger what site would be best suited.
*All state and national parks require permits for camping. Also, be sure to follow any other camping rules in place. When in an urban area, be aware of city ordinances that may govern where hammocking is allowed.