Exploring a Ghost Town at Fayette State Park


Fayette Historic State Park, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is home to a collection of abandoned buildings dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century.

If you read my post about backpacking South Manitou Island from a few years ago, or our tour of Eloise, you probably know that creepy abandoned buildings, allegedly haunted places, and ghost towns are definitely my jam.

A trip to Fayette Historic State Park has been on my “Yooper” bucket list for years, so Patronus and I were eager to explore this abandoned cluster of 20 buildings that was once an iron smelting operation back in the 1800s.  (If you’re interested, you can read more about that here.)

After waking up and enjoying some breakfast in the hammock at our campsite, Patronus and I geared up for the short hike over to the historic townsite.

Ruins of a building at Fayette State Park

Some of the buildings were fairly well-kept and decorated inside to reflect how they would have looked during the time that the city was operational.

The displays inside some of the buildings definitely reminded me of Greenfield Village!

(Please excuse the glare here.  I couldn’t get a good shot.)

Some of the other buildings were in a state of disrepair; several were in ruins.

The furnace complex was probably one of the creepiest buildings to me.

One of my favorite parts of the town was exploring the middle class neighborhood.  I peered through the windows of one of the houses to discover the original patterned wall paper peeling off the walls, and hunks of plaster coated in drab shades of (probably lead-based) paint littering the floors.

After making our way through the townsite we decided to hike up the escarpment trail to get a better view of Fayette and the surrounding Lake Michigan.

The views were definitely worth the extra bit of hiking.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to head back to camp to cool off in Lake Michigan for a while before doing a bit more exploring.

Our next stop was the Old Church Cemetery.

The cemetery was on a grassy hill overlooking Lake Michigan.  The sound of gentle waves lapping against the shoreline made it a very serene place to be.

Patronus channeling his inner goth girl.

Not surprisingly, most of the headstones dated back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.

After a long day of hiking and exploring, Patronus and I decided to call it a day.  We headed back to camp and watched the sunset as we enjoyed scrambled eggs and vegetables in tortillas.

Thanks so much for reading!  If you would like to see more from our beach camping road trip, you can read about that by clicking here.

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