Camping at Michaux State Forest

Posted on July 26, 2016 by Lindsay

This past Memorial Day Weekend, Jason and I were joined by our BFFs Jess & Rob on a long weekend hiking and camping at Michaux State Forest. Take a look at our trip recap and hopefully you will get some inspiration for your next camping trip!


Located a little over an hour North of Baltimore, Michaux State Forest turned out to be a great choice for our last minute camping trip. The forest has plenty of primitive campsites available but you can also backpack anywhere throughout the area. Right after work on Friday, we finished gathering supplies and mapped out our journey before taking off.


As soon as we arrived at the park, we noticed a small pile of bones off to the side of the parking lot. I was very excited about the bones (too excited) because I smelled a mystery afoot. Pretty sure it was just from an animal though.


It was getting late and the sun was setting so we chose a spot nearby in the clearing to set up our tents.



Once the campsite was set up, we started on the fire and later enjoyed some of the juiciest and tastiest burgers courtesy of Camp Chef Jason.


Ellie was so excited to be camping again. She woke me up a bit earlier than usual, ready to explore.


First order of business is of course Breakfast. On the menu was tasty skillet pancakes.


On this camping trip we tried out instant coffee “bags” which are essentially tea bags but with coffee. Who knew!? They worked out pretty well!



After breakfast, we packed up our day packs and set out on our day’s hike. We had decided the night before to travel along the trail that followed the Long Pine Run Reservoir.

The first part of the hike hugged the Reservoir and gave the group beautiful views along the water. Take a peek:





The second half of the trail ran through more heavily wooded and hilly terrain. We spotted a ton of great off grid camping spots along the way that we made note of for our next trip.




We chose to loop our trail back through the reservoir so we could cool off a little in the water.




I don’t know if I’ve stated this too many times or not, but Ellie is obsessed with the water. It is her favorite thing to do right under eating. Nothing tops food. She took one last look at the love of her life before heading back to camp.


After another seriously delicious dinner, we had to get the s’mores out.


Yum! I could really go for one of these right now. Camping is the best.



My girl was tired from the hike the day before but she still managed to wake me up super early for a bathroom break. It was just as day was breaking so I snagged my camera and enjoyed the sunrise.


We headed back to the tent and got a few more hours of sleep before we were ready to start the day.



Ellie and I decided to do a little exploring before everyone else got up.



We headed out into the woods where we first found the bones and we found a few more among the leaves.


Back at camp, Jason worked on cooking the last of the bacon.


Ellie was really giving me that side-eye hoping for the last piece of bacon.


It was also time for more coffee and some oatmeal with dried fruit to help get the day going.




Our first hike of the day was to the very steep top of the Pole Steeple trail. The climb up to the top isn’t breezy but it does have very rewarding views. You can view the entire park from the top of the rockface including Laurel Lake in the valley and the central ridge of South Mountain. Check it out:







After this hike, we were hot! We tried to hit up one of the public beaches but there were no dogs allowed so we headed on to the next trek of the day and kept our eyes peeled for a stream.


We were all looking forward to trying out part of the Appalachian Trail while in Michaux so off we went!

We parked our cars near the Bunker Hill Farm historical site. The site displays the stone wall of a farmhouse from the early 1800s that was also at one time a Civilian Conservation Corps site and a prisoner-of-war interrogation center. The wall was largely dilapidated and we learned that just months prior in February, Winter Storm Jonas took out most of the remaining wall.


Jess mapped out a great hike for us and we ended up travelling along the exact halfway mark of the Appalachian Trail.



Our first trail section was mainly flat and very easy going (we even found a little stream.)


But the second half of the hike was much more intense! The trail took us through a bevy of rocky boulders.



Jason is an avid climber so he was more than happy to jump in front and scope out the trail. Ellie went into mountain goat-mode and was taking on each rock like a champ.



After the hike was over it was time to get back to our campsite and make dinner. We had more great food and even started to read a campfire mystery.


But only a few minutes in and we were ready for bed. Ellie had already stole my chair and started snoozing early.


My first time at Michaux State Forest was an absolute blast. The park has so much to offer and I think we got a great taste for the experiences to be had. I’m already looking forward to planning our next trip back!

Have you ever been to Michaux State Forest?
Where are your favorite place to go camping?
Make sure to comment with your own recommendations!

& click here for more trip recap posts !



  • Van @ Snow in Tromso July 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Your dog is the cutest! And wow, those views are absolutely breath-taking! And that sunset!!! I’m not really a fan of camping but I would do it if that means enjoying views like these!!

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Aw thanks! She loves camping and we both had a great time hiking to catch those views!

  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders July 27, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    It looks like y’all had an absolute blast on your first camping adventure at Michaux State Forest! Everything looks so beautiful and peaceful, and your pup looks like she had an amazing time too!

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      It really was so nice. I was surprised I had never heard of the forest before seeing as it’s only an hour away from Baltimore.

      • Emily June 3, 2019 at 11:03 am

        It’s not an hour from Baltimore. It’s an hour and 45min. So almost 2 hours. Also if you ever visit please don’t swim or let your dog swim in Long Pine Run reservoir, it is illegal to enter the water because it is drinking water for the local area. There are signs with all the laws.

        • Lindsay June 3, 2019 at 3:14 pm

          Yeah my quote from above was “a little over an hour North of Baltimore” so I guess “almost 2 hours” would have been a more apt description (depending on what part of Baltimore you leave from and where in Michaux you are headed.)

          It is interesting that you mentioned the disclaimer about swimming. When I visited in 2016, there were plenty of people kayaking and swimming (and yes, I even saw a few dogs too.) I don’t recall ever seeing any signs posted prohibiting it. There were other beaches around the State Forest that did prohibit dogs (I even mentioned that in this post) but I didn’t spot anything along the reservoir. Perhaps that has changed so thanks for the heads up.

  • Ahila July 28, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Looks like you and Ellie had a wonderful time camping! Enjoyed reading and seeing your photos of your hikes and camping experience. #WanderfulWednesday

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      We definitely did! Thanks for checking out the post.

  • Aleksandra July 28, 2016 at 9:14 am

    You have such an adorable dog!

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      I like to think so but I’m obviously biased 😉

  • Courtney @ Adelante July 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Looks beautiful! I’ve never been much of a camper, but this looks like so much fun!

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the area.

  • Isabel July 29, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Is your dog the cutest or whaaaaat?? He is adorable! Looks like you had an amazing weekend. Loved the place!

    • Lindsay July 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Aw, thank you! I appreciate you checking out the post.

  • carrie July 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    i have to admit, I’m not a huge pitch-a-tent-and-sleep-outside type of traveler. BUT i desperately want to be! i love nature and hiking, I’m just a wuss when it comes to not being able to come back inside and escape the nature, if that makes sense? haha. PS-your dog is a cutie!

    • Lindsay August 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

      I was honestly a lot less of an outdoors person before I got my dog. I liked camping but just like you said, I wasn’t in love with the idea of not being able to cut out if I wanted. I do a lot more outdoorsy activities in general since getting my dog and it has made me really fall in love with it. I find it so rewarding and it’s one of the only things that makes me actually feel relaxed. You just got to find your groove and have one great experience – then you’ll be a camper in no time 🙂

  • Lauren August 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    This looks like such a great camping trip! I have a new found love for camping after my 5-day Trek to Machu Picchu! How calming it is to live with so little. Although your meals look pretty amazing! I love the moving pictures of the pancakes and coffee bags are such a great idea! I’ve never seen those before, but everyone in Chile drinks instant coffee, so I’m guessing it tastes very similar. Thanks for sharing and linking up 😀

    • Lindsay August 4, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Machu Picchu sounds amazing! I have a few friends that went a while ago and it sounded like a great trip.

      For this trip, we did what I call “cooler camping” which means we had access to a cooler of food for the whole trip. Not exactly backpacking but yes, a lot of tasty meals 🙂

      The instant coffee wasn’t too bad!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Sarah August 30, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hi! This hike looks amazing. I was just wondering. Would you be able to tell me where you guys camped? I’m trying to take a couple of friends that don’t backpack so I would like to find a spot close to where we can park. Thanks!

    • Lindsay August 31, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Sure! We actually just camped right off of the parking lot (Site 1 -Big Flat Parking Lot) – it sounds perfect for your situation because our car was parked right near us and you can access the toilets easily as well. Hope you have a good time!

  • Greg July 7, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I’m new to PA and my search for a place to camp led me to your blog. You sold us on trying Michaux State Forest–we even went to the specific area you described–and the four of us (me, wife, boys two and five) had a great time! Thanks for the excellent write-up.

    • Lindsay July 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

      That’s so great to hear! I really enjoyed the park – I can’t wait to get back there someday soon. So glad you had a nice time as well 🙂


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