We were booked at this campground near Holly last year, but had to cancel unexpectedly. I’m so glad we gave it another try!
It was a great place both for camping and running.
First, the camping. The campground is smaller than most other Michigan state campgrounds with just one loop. We stayed on site 3, right by the entrance, so there was a lot of traffic coming and going. That said, we had a lake view and easy access to the trail head.
We had great weather, so we spent a lot of time outside, including a nice fire (the campground fire wood was still pretty green, so it took some work to get the fire started) and bird watching. There was a particular red-winged black bird that gave us hours of entertainment as it swooped down to chase away anything or anyone who came close to its next near the water.
Despite the closeness, we didn’t have any issues with noise. And while the bathrooms were very old and dated, they were spotless. Pro tip: avoid the third shower from the road, as the shower head was barely a trickle.
We weren’t planning on fishing, so we didn’t bring our Jeep with the canoe. While we certainly could have fished from shore, the campsites are on a very small lake that was probably originally some sort of a sand pit and didn’t look fishy at all. As the name suggests, there were several other lakes nearby and we hope to check them out when we return.
We especially enjoyed the nearby trails, even taking our favorite Leonberger for a walk our first night. The following morning, we had heavy rain, so I got to sleep in and instead headed out for my 7-mile run at noon after consulting the trail map.
The trail is certainly beautiful, with some small hills, varying from dirt to sand to crushed gravel. I thoroughly enjoyed my surroundings, including lots of greenery, with a few flowers and lots of very active birds who didn’t seem too thrilled to have me come through.
I headed toward Dickinson Lake and made a mental note to return with the canoe and fishing poles. It definitely looked nice and weedy.
There were lots of people through the trails near the campground with lots of families out for a stroll, some with dogs on leashes. I saw a few runners, including a woman wearing a Run Woodstock race shirt.
There were mile markers where I expected them, except that the signage wasn’t always clear.
I even had to help an older couple find their way back to their car, a funny thought to anyone who knows just how bad I am with directions. We managed. For some inexplicable reason, there were also lots of stacked stones throughout the area, a practice that leaves me confused.
But back to the terribly marked trail.
Once I got away from the immediate campground area, the lack of clear directional help became quite frustrating and took a bit away from my enjoyment. I took to shoving odd-shaped sticks on the ground to help me find my way upon my return; a practice that saved me from getting lost several times.
Because I still got lost several times and started my run so late, I was pretty much overheating about halfway through my run, so I headed back right at 3.5 miles. By then, I had taken off my jacket and shirt, and was kicking myself for not bringing water or Gatorade with me.
I found a promising spot for water on the map, but couldn’t find it because of the aforementioned lack of proper signage. I had plenty of fuel and made a mental note not to leave without water ever again.
I did consider hiding out in this random shelter I found on the trail until the temperature dropped, but I thought better of it.
Overall, it was a great experience and I definitely plan to return, both to camp and run, to Seven Lakes. I am just hoping the next trip includes some water — for fishing and drinking on the run.
What’s your favorite Michigan state park for camping? What about for running? (You may have to click on the “Continue Reading” button to leave a comment.)