Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Three Lakes Picnic Area and CCC Camp Strongs

Print Friendly and PDF
Located less than a dozen miles from Birch Lodge, and Trout Lake, MI, Three Lakes is just the place for a nice afternoon trip.  Pack a lunch and head for the picnic area at Three Lakes.  From Trout Lake, MI, head north on M 123 watch for the sign for Strongs Rd. on your right.  Follow Strongs road and watch for the picnic area sign on your right.

 This is a small pine covered picnic area, not usually very busy with tables, grills and toilets on the south side of Walker Lake.

  Three Lakes Campground is located on the north shore.

 A nature trail loops around the lake, making about a one mile walk through the woods along the shore.

  This is a pretty walk  and not very difficult so be sure to take your camera.

Just north of Walker Lake (and the campground) is Brown Lake.  It is a small shallow bog fringed lake.
Brown Lake

 Here it is very easy to spot vegetation you may never have seen before in the wild, including insect eating pitcher plants and wild cranberry.

Pitcher Plant
  According to the Michigan DNR Lake Maps, this pretty little lake is only about 2' deep.

 But be careful walking there, don't get too close to the open water because there is a floating bog mat of vegetation.

 Not too dangerous, but potentially a very mucky event.
Wild Cranberry

Across the road from Walker Lake is Whitmarsh Lake, another small bog fringed lake.  Maximum depth of this lake is less than 10 feet, so I doubt the fishing is good.

  Brush surrounds the bog here and it is not too easy to explore unless you bring a kayak or canoe, but none the less, a pretty little lake.

Witmarsh Lake

Just south of the Three Lakes area on Strongs Rd. is the location of the CCC Camp Strongs. (There is a sign on the east side of the road.)

 Camp Strongs was established in May of 1933, with a group of about 200 young men from the Detroit area.  They lived in tents during the first summer, but by November, they had built and moved into their barracks.

This camp developed the Three Lakes and soldier Lake recreation areas, and  a log structure built by them still stands at Soldier Lake.

 The camp was involved in stream improvement, timber management and fire reduction, and collected pine cones for the forest nursery. 

They also planted several pine plantations in the area.  This camp was discontinued in 1941, and the buildings sold or razed.

Geocaching aficionados will be happy to hear there is a cache to be found here...Even if you don't geocache you may want to try to find their "treasure".

  Please play by the rules of the game and leave something for the next person to find.  Happy Exploring!


  1. Thank you guys so much for writing these blogs. We own land in Trout Lake and are not always able to get up to the cabin. Getting to see your pictures and read about whats happening up in the most beautiful place in the world, always puts a smile on my face.

  2. Thank you for your blog posts. I love vacationing up North and think about it all winter long.

  3. My grandpa was stationed at camp Strongs back in the day.He told me how when he was there that the found an abandoned Black Bear cub one day,so they brought it back to camp and it became the camp's pet and mascot. It'd be nice if the Forrest service would go in there and clean up the over growth so people can see the old concrete footings of the building's. And place little plaquard stands by where the building was and what it was for, along with a brief summary of what camp Strongs vital function was for that area.