The Summit Peak Observation tower is one of the most popular attractions in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a cool little hike, the tower is fun to climb, and the view is fantastic.
Hang a left on South Boundary Road when you enter the Porcupine Mountain State Park (toward the headquarters) and you’ll see signs for the Summit Peak Observation Tower almost immediately. Follow those signs for about twelve miles, turn where the signs tell you to turn, and you’ll end up at a parking area for Summit Peak as well as a few hiking trails.
Modern restrooms are situated just off the parking lot, right at the foot of the half mile trail to Summit Peak. My family seems to be on a never ending quest for a bathroom when we’re traveling, so this was a plus.
I thought the half mile hike uphill with a thirty five pound toddler on my back was going to make me break a sweat, but it actually wasn’t too bad. The grade isn’t very steep, the trail is smooth and a large chunk of the walk actually takes you over an elevated boardwalk. The boardwalk runs along the edge of a hill side and then weaves through the woods, making it a pretty fun walk overall. (I’ll admit, though, I have a thing for boardwalks so I may be a little bias.)
At any rate, after what seemed like a really short hike my family and I arrived at the base of the Summit Peak Observation Tower. We climbed the tower, took a look around, said “wow, nice view,” and then hiked back.
It is a great view, but we had just come from Lake of the Clouds (where the view is stunning), so in retrospect we probably should have hit Summit Peak first. Also, because we were right up there in the treetops, some of the treetops blocked parts of what would otherwise be a three hundred sixty degree view.
All in all, it’s a really cool spot and we’ll definitely be back. I plan to visit again in the fall when the colors are popping!
Bottom line: The Summit Peak Observation Tower is a worthwhile stop while in the Porcupine Mountains. I’d recommend stopping here before you visit Lake of the Clouds.
How to get there? Turn left onto South Boundary Road shortly after you enter the park and follow the signs to Summit Peak. It’s about twelve miles down a paved, windy road.
Want to see more photos? You got it! Just visit my Facebook page and browse to the “Summit Peak Observation Tower” album.