Sylvania Wilderness Area
Travel into a timeless wilderness
Just north of Land O’ Lakes is a beautiful and untouched wilderness that was almost lost forever. An early lumberman recognized this as a special place in the 1800s and decided to protect this 19,000-acre forest from the saws. It was a wise decision. The Sylvania Wilderness Area today offers a chance to experience a wilderness that’s all but disappeared from the world. The Sylvania Wilderness Area has 34 named lakes, some with sandy beaches. Sylvania straddles the divide between the Lake Superior and Mississippi drainage systems. At 1,700 feet, it’s one of the highest places in the Midwest. As a result, streams don’t flow into the Sylvania – they just flow out – so the waters are pristine and pure. The wilderness area includes old growth forests, record-sized red and white pines, rare and threatened plants and abundant wildlife. There are miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails, great beaches and paddling lakes that are virtually untouched by humans. The trails are easily followed but not marked, so a map is essential.
To get to the main entrance from Land O’ Lakes, take Highway B to Thousand Island Lake Road. Turn right and head north for 4.4 miles to where the road turns right and head another 5.2 miles to the U.S. Forest Service Entrance. Visitors may want to check in at the center or at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center, located at the intersection of Highways 45 and 2 in Watersmeet. Other places to enter the Sylvania can be found on the park’s west side at the Whitefish Lake Recreation Trail and near Land O’ Lakes at the Deer Island Lake Trail. Explore this special wilderness area and discover what enchanted those lumbermen so long ago.
Address: E23979 U.S. Highway 2 East, Watersmeet, MI 49969