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Graham Lakes at Bald Mountain Recreation Area, MI, - Bring Your Beginner!

Trip Overview

Here is a DNR's description of the area: "Bald Mountain State Recreation Area surrounds Graham Lakes, providing natural shoreline with little development. There is one dwelling on East Graham Lake and West Graham Lake is void of dwellings. The other development on the lakes is a public boating access site with a fishing pier located at the west end of East Graham Lake. The gravel-surfaced ramp is suitable for medium-sized and smaller boats with parking for about 18 vehicles with trailers." And here is a link to the Google map of the access site: The lack of dwellings and the modest size of the lakes tells you the premise: it's a no-wake area all over. In other words, it's a paradise for SUB beginners. That's why we've set up there one of our regular "Bring Your Beginner" trips. Exactly one beginner showed up :) and twice as many - advanced SUP-ers, eager to offer their help and expertise. I think our beginner felt spoiled, at least at times :) The whole circumnavigation around the three lakes lakes (East Graham, West Graham, and Dorn lakes) took us no longer than 3 hours - with a very slow pace, frequent stops, and me venturing into a scouting excursion along one of the creaks hidden in the dense greenery of the shoreline (other people wisely waited for me, outside). So, basically, if this is not your very first SUP adventure you might find a trip around these lakes a little uneventful. But, on the other hand, the marshes mazes and natural shoreline are beautiful, the water - and the whole area, - is very calm and quiet, and, seriously: no motor boats! - what's not to like about this place? One suggestion: go there is the late spring or early summer - maybe then the connections to more lakes around are still navigable. My attempt to reach to Show Lake ended up in getting stuck in the very shallow and narrow path - and, basically, my skinny feather-light board could go on any moist surface (well, almost :) Other than this, perhaps, any time of the season is good; and, while marshes sometimes narrow down to a path just as wide as your board, and you'd have to wait at the maze "entrance" for two kayaks slowly exiting it, this all gives you nice feeling of owning this place. Just relax and enjoy :) Other perks include: an SUP facility supposedly operating on the lakes (I did not see them, but people told me about taking lessons with them), and one of the best in the whole lower peninsula (a hearsay, too) hiking trails around the lakes that starts right there. The trail is about 4 miles long and, people say, is very beautiful. (You can see a part of it on the trip map).
  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Stand Up Paddling
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Number of Portages: 1

Locations on this Trip