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Pinckney Recreation Area - Trails, Fishing, Kayaking and More

Pinckney Recreation Area is a great place to connect with nature and the outdoors. There's plenty of trails, lakes, and natural scenery to enjoy.

Recreational Trails

The Pinckney Recreation Area has many miles of trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. The trails mostly have a dirt surface, and sometimes can be narrow. NOTE: All of the Pinckney Recreation Area's trails are open to hunting, so you may encounter hunters during the hunting seasons, especially from September through November.
  • Waterloo-Pinckney Trail - The longest trail in the recreation area is used for hiking and cross-country skiing. The trail starts at the Silver Lake Day Use Area, near the parking lot. It winds for 13 miles through the Pinckney Recreation Area and then continues for another 22 miles through the Waterloo Recreation Area, ending at the Portage Lake Unit. The trail is often hilly, going through wooded areas and past marshes and lakes. You may see squirrels, chipmunks, deer, birds, or other wildlife near the trail.

  • Equestrian Trails - Pinckney Recreation Area has several horseback riding trails. Horse trailer parking is available at the staging area on the south side of Monks Road, which has access to the trails. The trail can also be reached from the Hell Creek Ranch Campground on Clear Lake Road. The trails traverse through wooded areas, past marsh lands and lakes, and winds over hilly terrain.

  • Mountain Biking & Hiking Trails - The recreation area has over 20 miles of trails that can be used for both mountain biking and hiking. Hikers can reach the trails from the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. Parking for mountain biking access is available at the Silver Lake Day Use Area and near Hiland Lake. These trails can also be used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

Fishing Pier

Silver Lake Day Use Area has a long wooden fishing pier, offering fishermen of all ages with an easy spot to cast their lines.

Swimming Areas

The Silver Lake Day Use Area and Halfmoon Lake Day Use Area feature swimming areas on scenic lakes. Silver Lake has a steep drop-off, and there are signs near the swimming area to remind you of that.

Boating and Kayaking

The Pinckney Recreation Area has several lakes for fishing and kayaking. Boat launches at Halfmoon Lake, North Lake and South Lake can be used by fishing boats or kayaks. There are also kayak launches at Gosling Lake, Hiland Lake, Joslin Lake, Sullivan Lake, and the Silver Lake Day Use Area.


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

Picnic Areas

You can enjoy relaxing picnics with beautiful scenery at the Silver Lake Day Use Area and the Halfmoon Lake Day Use Area. Two picnic shelters are located at the Halfmoon Lake Day Use Area.

Lakelands Trail State Park

The Lakelands Trail State Park is located north of the Pinckney Recreation Area. The trail stretches over 20 miles, connecting Stockbridge, Pinckney, and Hamburg.

Chelsea-Stockbridge Bike Route

Cyclists can ride on the shoulder of M-52 to travel between Chelsea and Stockbridge. The road shoulder bike route offers panoramic views of rolling farmland. The paved shoulder is over a foot wide in most spots, starting on the north side of Chelsea. The road typically has moderate traffic, but can be heavier depending on the time of day or day of the week. When riding on the shoulder of the road, obey traffic laws and stay alert.

Before you go, it's a good idea to check the State of Michigan's construction database to make sure there will not be any construction on the road that can interfere with your ride.

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