Parks and Recreation Areas
Cavanaugh Lake County Park
33 Cavanaugh Lake Rd. [map
One-acre roadside picnic area on Cavanaugh Lake Rd., four miles west of Chelsea. Play area. Fishing. Not wheelchair accessible. Open year-round dawn to dusk.
Chelsea City Parks
Chelsea Dog Park, welcomes dogs, registered with the city of Chelsea, and people to its park on Letts Creek Linear Park Tr. east of McKinley. Pierce Park is a municipal park on S. Main with a small playground, picnic tables, and a large pavilion. Timber Town Park, on F. A. Weber Dr. off Sibley west of N. Main, has a huge, volunteer-built wooden play structure and a veterans memorial footbridge. Veterans Park, next to Letts Creek at N. Main and Sibley, has picnic tables, a small playground, 2 softball diamonds, and a play structure.
Chelsea State Game Area
Entrance on Dexter-Chelsea Rd.
(517) 522-4097 (Waterloo DNR wildlife office)
799 acres around Four Mile Lake. Shore fishing, waterfowl hunting, small boat launch.
Park Lyndon County Park
18801 North Territorial, 1 mile east of M-52 [map
This 335-acre park's 2 miles of marked hiking trails (part of the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail) go past a variety of habitats including fens, marshes, bogs, ponds, forest, and prairie; and the Embury Swamp Natural Area Preserve, the ecological gem of the county park system. Over 500 species of plants. Open year-round, dawn to dusk.
Pierce Lake County Park
1175 S. Main [map
Golf course (portions of course closed fall 2021 for cart path construction), boardwalk, and nature trail in the 26-acre park. See sandhill cranes, red foxes, and painted turtles. Cross-country skiing. Open year-round. piercelakegolf.com
Pinckney State Recreation Area
8555 Silver Hill [map
(734) 426-4913. Campground reservations: (800) 447-2757
This 11,000-acre park north of Chelsea has many lakes for swimming, boating, canoeing, and fishing; modern and rustic campgrounds; and trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and birding. Hunting in season, snowmobiles permitted on a 4-inch base in designated areas. Recreation Passport required: state residents $12/year with license plate renewal, $17/year at park gate. Motorcycles $6 with license plate renewal, $11 at gate. Nonresidents $9/day, $34/year. www2.dnr.state.mi.us/parksandtrails/details.aspx?id=484&type=SPRK
Along with the connecting Silver Lake and Crooked Lake trails, this 17-mile loop is hilly and picturesque for hiking and mountain biking. It's open for cross-country skiing when there is a base of at least 6 inches of snow (the trail contains exposed roots, rocks, and steps). Maps available at Pinckney State Recreation Area headquarters (see above).
Waterloo Recreation Area
16345 McClure [map
(734) 475-8307. Campground reservations: (800) 447-2757
This sprawling 20,500-acre area is great for birding, boating, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, swimming, mountain biking, and camping. The Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, (734) 475-3170, 17030 Bush, has hands-on exhibits, natural history programs, park information, and displays of local ecology, wildlife, and Michigan rocks and minerals. Recreation Passport required: state residents $12/year with license plate renewal, $17/year at park gate. Motorcycles $6 with license plate renewal, $11/year at park gate. Nonresidents $9/day, $34/year. michigan.gov/waterloo
This 36-mile hiking trail passes pine plantations, open meadows, marshes, kettle bogs, forests, and 14 lakes. Good for cross-country skiing, hiking and mountain biking, it runs through the Pinckney and Waterloo recreation areas. Camping in designated areas.
Watkins Lake State Park & Preserve
14801 Arnold [map
1,122-acre state park dedicated in 2015. Thirteen miles south of Chelsea and five miles west of Manchester, straddling Washtenaw and Jackson counties. Five miles of trails, signage, and recreation activities in its high ridges, deciduous forests, and old rail bed, and views of wetlands and 144-acre Watkins Lake. Birdwatching, especially waterfowl. Due to important bird habitat, the lake and surrounding park property is a designated waterfowl refuge and is closed Feb. 15-May 15 and Sept. 1-Jan. 1; however, wildlife viewing is available along Arnold Rd. washtenaw.org (search "Watkins Lake State Park")
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