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Point Detour Campground, Bayfield, Wisconsin

Submitted by Alan Tucker

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Campground Review

Point Detour Campground is at the northernmost point in Wisconsin and worth the extra effort it takes to get there.

Geographically, Point Detour is located in the Red Cliff Band of the Chippewa Reservation. With a very small stretch of the imagination and a few federal boundaries, the point also could be part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The privately owned Point Detour Campground is situated on the south shore of Lake Superior and nearly every campsite has a view of Gitchee Gumee's shining, big-sea waters.

The rustic campsites at Point Detour Campground have seen better days, but the current owner is slowly improving the facilities - and that's part of the attraction. Most, but not all, of the campsites are wide open to view from the loop-style access road, but all are well screened on the sides from the other sites by mature trees of many varieties. Wild strawberries and raspberries grow in abundance between the trees.

A walking trail in the campground runs along the shoreline and terminates at a stairway to the actual Point Detour, a rocky perch with an even better view of the lake and the Apostle Islands wilderness area offshore. Be careful if you leave the trail for a closer look before you reach the staircase. There's about a 30-foot drop from the side of the trail to the red sandstone and granite boulder-filled shoreline below.

Point Detour Campground is rustic living at its utmost. There are potable water and pit toilets, but no electric hook-ups or sanitary dump. The campfire rings are circles of rocks, not old truck tire rims or slices from 55-gallon drums. Most of the campsites have cast iron grills in addition to their fire rings.

The campground's near-total darkness after sunset guarantees a good night's rest free from neighboring radios and CD players - and the absence of electricity pretty much ensures an unimpeded view of the Aurora Borealis when the atmospheric conditions are right and the fabled Northern Lights appear.
Another aspect to the absence of electricity is the boldness of the local wildlife. We had to dodge a porcupine, several rabbits and countless chipmunks while we set up camp. Hummingbirds couldn't resist the berry patch behind our tent. The campground host was quick to warn us that nearly every day black bear pass through in search of easy pickings early in the morning. We took a day trip to the Apostles, and encountered 14 deer, antlered bucks as well as does and fawns, while driving the gravel county road to the campground on our way to and from the paved state highway to Bayfield.

Supplies, ice and firewood all are available from several markets in the area and in Bayfield, the ferryhead to the Apostle Islands about a dozen miles back down State Route 13. Supplies also are available in the villages of Cornucopia to the west and Red Cliff to the east of the campground on State Route 13. You can call Point Detour Campground at 715 779-3743 for information or reservations.
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