Places to go backcountry camping in the midwest?

11:54 a.m. on September 24, 2010 (EDT)
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Hello folks, new guy here wondering if anyone knows any good places to go backcountry backpacking in the midwest. I have been to the shawnee national forest and the up of michigan. I am trying to find places where there is no campsite bs or lame permits of any kind. I seem to have trouble finding out if parking is allowed or safe places to park our truck over night. My friend and i are always trying to find new places for backcountry camping but it seems to be a pain. So if anybody could please give me some input it would be much appreciated.

12:02 p.m. on September 24, 2010 (EDT)
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thats a great question TtotheK,


there are many great places to camp in this great country. have you tried texas yet?

12:53 p.m. on September 24, 2010 (EDT)
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What areas in the midwest are you most interested? I've done some off-trail backpacking in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the UP of Michigan for example. I think you need a permit, but we hiked off-trail and camped away from designated sites. As long as you are not required to camp in designated sites you can find very remote areas to hike and camp. When we were off-trail we saw nobody.

3:40 p.m. on September 24, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm a big fan of USFS lands for their lack of oppressive regulations. Hoosier NF and Wayne NF are in Indiana and Ohio respectively and offer some semblance of backcountry travel without the ridiculousness of camping permits and burn moratoriums.

Wayne is probably too distant from you for what it offers, but if you're within a few hours of Hoosier it might be just what you're seeking.

Also, Daniel Boone NF in Kentucky. Lots of USFS land in the Midwest!

6:50 p.m. on September 24, 2010 (EDT)
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What areas in the midwest are you most interested? I've done some off-trail backpacking in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the UP of Michigan for example. I think you need a permit, but we hiked off-trail and camped away from designated sites. As long as you are not required to camp in designated sites you can find very remote areas to hike and camp. When we were off-trail we saw nobody.

Hey alan,

When you were in Pictured Rocks did you have to get a special permit to go off trail, or just a permit to gain access in general?

8:35 a.m. on October 15, 2010 (EDT)
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try the ozark trail from central missouri all the way to the ozark highlands in Arkansas. No permits, all backcountry, nice trail, good website for information, they have partnered with local company's to shuttle hikers to and from there vehicles. Check it out. "ozarktrail.com"

8:36 a.m. on October 15, 2010 (EDT)
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where at in illinois are you from Tt?

9:05 p.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Trout, I don't know the answer to your question.  Another person organized the trip and he took care of the permits.

11:12 p.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Trout, I don't know the answer to your question.  Another person organized the trip and he took care of the permits.

I was just curious because a couple areas in the south east require "off trail" or "cross country" permits, or at least the last time I was there they did.

12:55 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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Trouthunter, you do need a permit to backpack in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which you can pick up at one of two visitor centers. You pick a designated campsite for each night. You cannot camp "off trail" in the park, only in designated campgrounds.

11:00 a.m. on November 29, 2010 (EST)
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Many parks have gone this way of only allowing designated campareas, no off trail hiking, even not going down side canyons like in the Grand Canyon. They call it a SARs nighmare as so many people end up getting lost or injured, then someone has to come in to get them or retrieve the body.

July 23, 2014
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