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Highland Recreation Area - Beach, Trails, Fishing and More

Located in Highland Township, Highland Recreation Area has miles of trails for mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and hiking. It has sparkling lakes for fishing, and a small sandy beach on Teeple Lake for swimming.

A Michigan Recreation Passport is required to use the park. If you do not have a passport already, you can get a pass at the admission booth located along the main drive to the Highland Recreation Area, which is on the south side of M-59, just west of Ford Road.

Beach & Picnic Areas

Highland Recreation Area has a small sandy beach on the southeast side of Teeple Lake. A picnic shelter, volleyball court, and picnic tables are located nearby. The location is a good spot for family reunions or other gatherings. Restrooms are attached to the shelter.

On the northeast side of Teeple Lake, there is a picnic shelter on a bluff overlooking the lake. Horseshoe pits, a vault toilet, and boat launch are located near the shelter.

South of Haven Hill Lake, there is a picnic shelter with horseshoe pits, a ballfield, and a vault toilet. The hiking trail through the Haven Hill Natural Area starts just east of the picnic shelter.

On the west side of the park at the Dodge #10 site, there is a stone shelter that was built in the 1930s. Adjacent to the shelter, there are restrooms and horseshoe pits. A volleyball court is available during the summer.

South of Livingston Road at the Silo Field Trial Area, there is a picnic shelter that overlooks rolling hills and open fields.

If you're interested in renting a picnic shelter, you can use the DNR reservation system to reserve the facilities for a gathering.

Recreational Trails

The Highland Recreation Area has miles of unpaved trails through wooded areas and over grasslands.
  • Mountain Biking Trails - Highland Recreation Area has 16 miles of mountain biking trails through heavily wooded areas, which are very hilly and rugged, with many curves and dips. The dirt trails sometimes includes rocks or tree stumps. The mountain biking trails are popular and challenging. The trailhead parking lot is on the north side of Livingston Road, east of Waterbury Road.

  • Hiking Trail - The park has 17 miles of hiking trails over grasslands and through the woods. The hiking trails through the Haven Hill Natural Area are grass/dirt and start at the parking lot for Haven Hill.

    Hikers can use the equestrian trails that are west of Duck Lake Road, which are very hilly and rugged. The mostly dirt trails sometimes include rocks or tree stumps. To access the trails, you park at the biking trailhead lot. You'll see wildflowers along the trails during the spring.

    There is an unmarked trail that starts at the biking trailhead and goes west to Harvey Lake Road. The trail meanders over grassland and through the woods. During the spring, the grass along the trail is short, but as the summer goes along, the trail gets narrower as the grass grows tall and bushes grow wider. You'll see wildflowers and flowering bushes along the trail in the spring/summer.

  • Equestrian Trails - Highland Recreation Area has 12 miles of horseback riding trails. Horse trailer parking is available at the staging area, which is about a half of a mile south of Haven Hill, near the Edsel Ford Barn. During the spring, you'll see wildflowers along the trails, which traverse through wooded areas, over grassy areas, and winds over hilly terrain. The rustic equestrian campground is off of a drive that is east of the horse staging area.

  • Cross-Country Skiing Trails - There are 12 miles of cross-country skiing trails, which start near the Edsel Ford Barn and the organizational campground. All of the ski trails have difficult sections.

Fishing Areas

Highland Recreation Area has a wooden fishing pier on Lower Pettibone Lake. You can fish from shore at the small lake near Harvey Lake Road and at Haven Hill Lake.

There are boat launches at Alderman Lake, Lower Pettibone Lake, Moore Lake, and Teeple Lake, and many fishermen enjoy fishing by boat at the lakes.

You need a fishing license to fish lakes in Michigan. If you don't have a Michigan fishing license, you can purchase one online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site.

Boating and Kayaking

The lakes within Highland Recreation Area are often used by small boats and kayaks. The boat launches at Alderman Lake, Lower Pettibone Lake, and Teeple Lake have concrete ramps with wooden docks. Moore Lake has a narrow dirt ramp that provides access to the lake, which has many lillypads during the summer.

Radio-Controlled Airfield

For model plane enthusiasts, there is a small airfield at Highland Recreation Area. The area is south of Teeple Lake Road, just east of Duck Lake Road.


Highland Recreation Area has two rustic campgrounds and a modern lodge. The group/organizational campground has room for tents, and there are vault toilets nearby. The equestrian campground is a rustic area with room for horse trailers. The modern lodge has electrical service and modern restrooms and can be rented from May through October.

For campground information, please visit the Michigan DNR's web site.

Historic Locations

The Highland Recreation Area is located on property that was once owned by John and Horace Dodge, who founded the Dodge Brothers Motor Company, and Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford.

The Dodge Brothers donated land to the State of Michigan in the 1920s, which was once called Dodge Brothers Site No. 10. The land is on the west side of the current park and features a stone shelter that was built in the 1930s.

In the 1940s, the state purchased the Edsel Ford family estate at Haven Hill. The huge barn that was part of the family's farm still remains, and is located near the horse staging area. The barn had first been used to house 1,500 sheep and later used for horses and cattle. The 15,000 square foot barn was once one of the largest barns east of the Mississippi River.

M-59 Trail

The M-59 Trail located near the Highland Recreation Area. The trail can be used to travel between Highland and Pontiac.

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