Ooh, my first thread! I have been lurking for around 3 years and just registered the other day.

Anyway, twice a year (Spring and Fall) a few friends and I go camping for about 3-4 days at a time.

Nothing hardcore, we usually drive about 7-8 hours north to northern Wisconsin or the UP of Michigan. We usually hike into a forest 3-5 miles, find a good spot on a river or small lake and set up camp (no pre-made camp areas or any of that). We bring out around 60-80 lbs. of gear each (hey, I can only “rough it” so much) including food.

Now we have been doing this for about 5-6 years and I am starting to think that maybe we should try a different area either south or west or whatever.

Does anyone have any suggestions for good (read not well populated) wilderness areas within an 8-hour drive from Chicago?

Also, being that not many people are from these here parts, feel free to share camping stories, tip, etc.


Sounds like you got a good idea. Two places come to my mind:

  1. Fall in the Ozarks (Missouri/Arkansas) appear beautiful from the pictures I have seen.

  2. Smokey mountains in E. Tennessee are wonderful (I spent two weeks there a long time ago hiking) but may be beyond your scope of travel.

Both Backpacker and Outside magazines seem to have annual issues featuring neat hikes within your territory. Nature Conservency also lists unusual and valuable natural areas that you may find camping near.

Have fun!

And you won’t even have to hike in.

Its a canoeing area around the Ely Minnesota area.
You can go as a group or take off by yourself.
It is wilderness if you get off the beaten,er paddled, path you probably will not see any people.

I’m afraid the Ozarks is going to be more than an 8 hour trip.

Sounds like fun! :cool:

When I was just a puppy, my parents took me to the boundary waters. I actually have pictures of my day carrying me in a funky backpack.

This was before the days of SUV strollers and baby backpacks that provide proper lumbar support.

That sounds like an idea worth looking into, I’ll order up some topographical and trail maps!

My favorite campsite listing. :smiley: