ADVENTURE STARTS HERE: Whether you're looking to turn back time (literally), or just escape from the hectic world for a few days; there is no better place in northern Michigan to experience the simpler aspects of life and enjoy the solitude that North Manitou Island offers on this pack-in pack-out journey.
WHAT TO BRING: Bring a trusty old watch. If you venture to the west side of the island, your cell phone will pick up Wisconsin's time zone - one hour behind most of Michigan. This could lead to confusion or problems with timing on your way back, since you will need to make it back to the ferry dock by a certian hour on your day of departure. Additionally, bring everything you will need to survive on your backpacking trip (cookware, food, camp stove, refillable water bottle, water filter, biodegradable soap, tent/hammock, etc), but not too much else. You don't want to make your backpack uncomfortably heavy or too difficult to pack back up each morning.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE: Ferry tickets to the island should be purchased here as far in advance as possible to ensure you get a spot on the boat. You will also need to have a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park pass, which can be purchased on site in Leland. With a wilderness camping permit, you are free to choose your own campsite almost anywhere on the island. Trail maps can be picked up upon ferry check-in as well, as your phone won't have service over a majority of the island.
OPTIONAL SIDE TREK: For those looking for an easier stay on the island, you can forgo the backcountry camping permits and instead stay at one of North Manitou Island's designated Village Campground Campsites; the only place on the island where a fire is allowed. Either way, camping permits will need to be purchased before you depart at the Manitou Island Transit ticket office.
TIPS: There is only one restroom on the whole island, so don't forget the TP or a shovel to bury it! Please follow all leave no trace rules and regulations; this island is all of ours to enjoy. In certain parts of the year, the trails can become sprinkled with both poison ivy and ticks, so you'll want to try and avoid any areas that look suspicious. Trust us, we know. Here's how to spot poison ivy and stop ticks. Other than that, forget about your cell phones while on the island and instead enjoy the serenity that North Manitou has to offer.