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Highland Recreation Area offers 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and lakes in the rolling hills of Southern Michigan. With trails to accommodate equestrian riders, mountain bikers, hikers and skiers, there's an activity for every season in this park.

mountain biking
4 days ago

I did parts of this trail while doing the Green loop. I strongly recommend adding the inner loop north of Haven Hill lake (at 16, take the loop counterclockwise to 17 and then the cutoff back to 16) – it is a very pretty little addition. I didn’t like the “outer” loop (15 to 14, then back to 16, 15, and onward) as much, I probably wouldn’t repeat that part.

I hiked the Green trail, with the addition of the small loop north of Haven Hill lake. The green trail is nice. It is easy, with no long or particularly steep climbs and lots of shade for most of the trail. The section from marker 1 (by the historic barn at the horse trailer parking lot) through 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, to 11 at least, and maybe it was to 12 as well, is also used by horses. I’m not a fan of hiking on horse trails, although watching out for manure isn’t much different than keeping an eye out for rocks or roots. On the Green trail, if there isn’t manure there probably are rocks and roots, as a trail should have.
I strongly recommend adding the inner loop north of Haven Hill lake (at 16, take the loop counterclockwise to 17 and then the cutoff back to 16) – it is a very pretty little addition. I didn’t like the “outer” loop (15 to 14, then back to 16, 15, and onward) as much, I probably wouldn’t repeat that part. My pictures & track from those are under the "Haven Hill Lake and Woods" trail on here.

Beautiful trail. Rarely encountered people Saturday morning. Well maintained and well marked.

I hiked A+B+C on a Monday morning, arriving at the trailhead at about 9:00am. I met one runner who was finishing just as I set out; I saw nobody else, hiking or riding, the rest of the day. However, forecast temperatures were mid- to upper-80s, which might have kept some away. The woods were beautiful, with fall colors already well started. The trail managers had an abundance of maps available at the trail head - take one (see below). I greatly enjoyed my 12-mile, 6hr (I stop for lots of pictures) hike. My GPS showed a total of 1670 ft. of elevation gain/loss. Parts of the trail are pretty steep, but nothing too bad. Although it is common practice to have MTBs ride clockwise and hikers counterclockwise, there are no markings on this trail for counterclockwise hiking. Because some of the turnoffs (e.g. from A to B) have slightly different exit and return points, it is easy to miss the turnoff if you are hiking counterclockwise. Additionally, none of the intersections with horsetrails are marked for counterclockwise hiking (e.g. you see the intersection sign after you cross the horse trail), although it is pretty easy to distinguish the horse trail from the MTB/hiking trail. None of the mile posts have markings for counterclockwise hiking. If you are going to hike counterclockwise, grab a map or download a gps track (or, maybe, just don't).
NOTE: many of the tracks on here seem to under-report distances, not sure if it comes from using an app on a cell phone, or from the fewer datapoints collected by (faster) MTBs vs. hikers, but the track I downloaded (from an MTB) gave A+B+C as 9.3 miles; DNR map puts it at 12.1 miles, my Garmin put it at 11.5 miles. I would have carried another liter of water had I known it was 12 miles beforehand.

Fun little hike right in SE Michigan with elevation, lakes, woods, and marsh.

mountain biking
1 month ago

a great trail system, very well maintained, light traffic.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

A little washed out this year but still one of best trail in the area

It's always lovely to be out in the woods, but it felt strongly like a dedicated mountain bike trail. I saw a lot of bikers, and I was the only hiker around. Also, once the bikes went by, I felt very isolated. Maybe it is just a personal preference, but I would like there to be a little more traffic. Maybe next time I need to bring a companion. In addition, when they rate a trail "difficult", they mean it!