Pretty Lake Complex


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Paddler’s map of the Pretty Lake Complex, a non-motorized area in the Upper Peninsula.

Pretty Lake Complex Trail & Portage Map

Classic Paddles of Michigan

Located in the heart of Lake Superior State Forest, 27 miles northwest of Newberry in Luce County, Pretty Lake Complex is a 2,200-acre non-motorized area in the eastern half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that features a chain of scenic lakes connect by portages and foot trails.  Backpackers and paddles can escape into the quiet area and camp at a series of backcountry campsites, spending their days wildlife watching or fishing for trout, smallmouth bass or walleye.

The heart of this tract are nine lakes connected by a system of trails and short portages. The small lakes – the largest is only 66 acres – are nestled in a forest of white pine, spruce, cedar and poplar trees. Scattered through the area are marshes, wetlands and bogs as there is little elevation. The portages are easy and short, most are under 300 feet in length.  Most visitors enter the quiet area from Pretty Lake State Forest Campground, a rustic facility of 18 sites with a small day-use area and a carry-in boat launch. The most charming places to pitch a tent, however, are the eight walk-in/paddle-in campsites on the shores of Beaverhouse Lake and Camp Eight Lake.

Pretty Lake Complex offers a quality fishing experience thanks to special regulations and the stocking efforts by the DNR Fisheries Division. Each lake is unique, in size, depths, bottom contour, presence of fish-attractant structures and water quality. Some lakes like Petty are spring-fed and crystal clear, others like Bullhead Lake are stained, the result of tannic acid from the surrounding wetlands. Six of them are stocked with trout, including rainbow and brook.

The 11 by 17-inch map was produced by and is full color on both sides and printed on water-resistant card stock. Features include all trails and portages, location of backcountry campsites and lake depths for anglers. A section on fishing covers the distinct fishery of each lake along with the stocking history, special regulations and the difficulty in reaching them.

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