Wakeley Lake Foot Travel Area

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Wakeley Lake is a semi-primitive, non-motorized foot travel area administered by the US Forest Service. It is a shallow, marshy lake that provides good fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. Habitat around the lake includes tag alder, willow, and other shrubs, while upland habitats are largely a conifer-hardwood mix. A mature stand of red and white pine is located to the east of the lake. Aspen, oak, and cherry with some pine is found on much of the rest of the upland. The outlet on the lake is on the north shore and includes an earthen dam that was built to raise water levels and to increase the size of the wetland lake. Beavers also work at keeping water levels elevated. A series of foot trails provide access to the areas around and away from the lake. A small, rustic, walk-in campground is found in the tall pines just east of the lake. The parking lot is immediately north of M-72. Visitors must park and walk the 1/4-mile trail to the lake. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in this two-thousand-acre site to allow for a quieter and more natural setting for wildlife and people.

Wildlife Viewing

Common loons take up residence on Wakeley Lake during spring and summer, and bald eagles nest nearby, coming here to fish in the shallow waters. Ospreys also fish the lake. It has good populations of pike, bass, and panfish that attract these birds-of-prey. Sport fishing is restricted to artificial bait only, and from June 15 to August 31 only. This is strictly a catch and release fishery. In addition to the loons, eagles, and ospreys, river otters and mink also take advantage of this good fishery, although they seem to ignore the catch-and-release rules. There are trails in the forest around the lake that are open to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Rich and diverse habitats in this area offer more than 115 species of birds to see or hear throughout the year. Trumpeter swans are regular visitors to the lake in late winter and early spring, but are not known to nest on the lake.

No boat motors (gas or electric) are allowed on Wakeley Lake. Fishing and boating are prohibited in posted loon nesting areas.

Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.

Directions

From Grayling, drive east on M-72 about 10 miles to the entrance road and parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. Look for Wakeley Lake direction signs along M-72.

Ownership: U.S. Forest Service, Mio District Ranger Office

Size: 2,100 total acres; Wakeley Lake about 160 acres in size.

Closest Town: Grayling

Facilities and Opportunities:

  • Restrooms – 1 vault toilet at the campground.
  • Trails – 1/4 mile entrance trail to lake; about 10 linear miles of easy to moderate trails.
  • Camping – walk-in campground near lake, 4 rustic camp sites.
  • Cross-country Skiing – on hiking trails, ungroomed but skied regularly.
  • Drinking water – hand pump at campground.
  • Fishing – warm water fishery, special catch-and-release regulations, season open May 1 to August 31 only.
  • Hunting – area is open to hunting year round.
  • Bicycling – on hiking trails and two-track roads.

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References and More Info

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