Explore the most popular hiking trails in Highland State Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice easy trail. Takes about 2 hours to complete the A loop about 3.8 miles. Well maintained and light traffic. Perfect mid-morning hike.

3 months ago

This trail is pretty good. It definitely isn’t “hard” and I would rate it more at a “moderate” just because of the hills. One downside is that the people who bring their horses on the trail don’t clean up after them. There was horse manure all over the trail. I do wish the trail was marked better. I often doubted myself as I was waking because I didn’t know when to expect the half way point. All in all, I did like the trail and it was nice to get outside for once. The directions listed took me past the actual trail head. Go to the first bike staging area on the right and the trail starts across the street. The right or left trail entrance is perfectly acceptable, but I took the right to begin.

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.

7 months ago

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.

This is an okay hike, but the trail is intended for mountain bikes. The best hiking is found just to the east in the Highland State Recreation Area.

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

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!

There's 4 trails and they're all amazing.

trail running
10 months ago

Great on weekdays, can get a bit congested on weekends. Love this park year-round to hike, walk, run. Good hills, challenge back vertical hill climb to Ford country home is killer! Can also be easy leisure walk if taken from front of park loop instead of back nature trails.

This was our first hike that was rated difficult in Michigan. We weren't sure what to expect - there were 4 trails combined to chose from-and we did A Trail, the first loop from the trail head. It was a great hike with great variation in elevation. We did get turned around a bit- but we ended up where we needed to be anyways . With two starts to the trail head-the next time we do this hike we will have a whole new view. Great work out. Great sweat. Net time we will do A& B for a longer hike.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This trail is beautiful, especially in fall. It is easy to misstep and twist an ankle, so use caution.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Nice trail, good scenery. Not busy on a sunny Saturday in early April. I appreciate the elevation changes. Saw 3 snakes too!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First backpacking adventure of 2017.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Great Trails

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beautiful trail...hilly, big trees, windy, absolutely gorgeous!!! Definitely we will go back!!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Amazing trail! Great prep for any backpacking excursions! It's a hidden gem in Michigan.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Hard for Mtb up and down hill and Rocky

Friday, September 09, 2016

Great to walk and hike on but detections are confusing

Sunday, September 04, 2016


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fun and very hard looking forward to more trail riding there!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We did A+B and did not take the B cutoff. Was plenty of hills, a little bit of rocks and rough trerrain. Finished the 10+ mile in just over 4 hours. It was clean, debris free, trimmed, and very nice. Had about 10 bikers come through while I was on trail and just needed to step aside. Will definitely hit this again with more people to abuse them.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

went on A and B trail. it was almost 10 miles. we were hiking not biking. keep your pet close. the bikes cannot stop quick and they come flying by. loved the trails.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Great hike and very challenging. Took us a little more than an hour to complete loop A. Bring some bug spray. A few annoying flies.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hike all over. Always a good time

Saturday, June 04, 2016

very challenging for a fat man like me

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