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Waterloo Recreation Area

The park has 4 campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, 11 fishing lakes, nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, cabins, equestrian trails and the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center.

View an informational slideshow of Waterloo Recreation Area


Main Number: (734) 475-8307 | TTY Number (text): 711 (Michigan Relay Center)
Mailing Address:
16345 McClure Road
Chelsea 48118 County: Jackson
Google Map of Waterloo Recreation Area
Driving Directions:
  • Recreational Pass Not Required
  • Approx Size: 20500 Acres
  • ADA accessible
  • Categorized as: State Park
  • Total Number of Sites: 0
Offering: RUSTIC MODERN CABINS EQUESTRIAN
Area Information:

Horse N Around Stables is now offering trail rides at Waterloo Recreation Area.


Facilities at Waterloo Recreation Area

Beach House - Provides clothes-changing area for swimmers.: A beach house is available at the Portage Lake beach.
Boating Access Site/Launch - Access for boating and fishing.: Public boat launches are located on Big Portage(E4), Cedar(F10), Green(D10), Crooked(F8), Mill(E9), Mud(E8), and Walsh(E10) lakes and the Winnewana Impoundment(D9).

Access by foot across state land is available at Clear(E7), Doyle(F9), Cassidy(E10), Little Portage(D4) and Merkle(C6) lakes. Only the launch site at Big Portage Lake meets ADAAG standards for universal accessibility.

Access is limited to registered campers at Sugarloaf Lake(E8) because it is located within the campground.
Concession/Store: Big Portage Lake Beach Area has vending machines at the beach building with snacks and pop. The park also sells firewood and ice.
Picnic Area - Picnic tables and fire pits/grills: A picnic site is located at Big Portage Lake (E4) and has tables, grills, water, toilet facilities, and a picnic shelter which may be reserved. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily. The smaller picnic sites are at Crooked Lake located at F8 and Mud Lake located at D8. Both have tables and grills. The picnic area at Big Portage Lake meets current ADAAG standards for universal accessibility.
Picnic Shelter(s): Two picnic shelters are available to rent at the Portage Lake day-use area. Shelters can be reserved up to a year in advance by calling 1-800-447-2757 or visiting www.midnrreservations.com.
Playground - These play areas offer a variety of playground equipment for children.: Playgrounds are available at the Portage Lake day-use area and the Sugarloaf Campground.
Visitor Center - Exhibits, interactive displays, multi-image slide shows and other nature programs to orient visitors to Michigans unique cultural and natural features.: The Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, located on Bush Road at (F10) is open year-round. It introduces visitors of all ages to the fascinating world of geology and the diverse natural wonders found at the Waterloo Recreation Area. Groups can schedule a guided experience by calling 734-475-3170. The center is located on Bush Road between Pierce and McClure roads in Chelsea. To get there, take I-94 to exit 157 (Pierce Road) and go north to Bush Road. Take Bush Road west to the center. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday and closed Mondays except for Memorial Day and Labor Day.
While visiting, be sure to visit the gift shop and check out programming organized by the Waterloo Natural History Association which is dedicated to helping support the education mission of the Discovery Center and the park.
Lodges, mini cabins, camper cabins and rustic cabins:
Yurt: A Yurt is available at Green Lake.
Beach:
Campers w/horses only:
Electrical Service:
Flush toliets and showers.:
Rustic Site:
Many sanitation stations are seasonal, so contact the park to check availability.:

Activities at Waterloo Recreation Area

Equestrian: Fifteen miles of bridle trails provide ample horseback riding for equestrians. Bridle trails are located at E6 and E7 on the park map. Be sure to check out information about http://www.waterloohorsemen.org the Waterloo Horsemens Association which helps support equestrian activities in the park. Click here for a map.
Metal Detecting Areas: Metal detecting is recognized as a legitimate recreation activity when it is conducted in ways that do not damage the natural and cultural resources in Michigan State Parks nor violate applicable state statutes. If you wish to use a metal detector in this state park, here is a map that shows clearly where this activity may take place. Any items found must be reviewed by park staff and may be retained for further investigation.
Mountain Biking: Five miles of trails provide a challenging ride. Mountain Biking trails are located at G6 on the park map. Trails can be accessed from Katz and Glenn roads.
Alcohol Restrictions Apply: Alcohol is prohibited from the Portage Lake campground and day-use areas from April 1 through Labor Day.
Fishing: Fishing piers are located at Big Portage and Crooked lakes. The pier at Big Portage Lake is the only one considered universally accessible by ADA Guidelines. Bass, panfish and pike can be found in the many lakes in Waterloo Recreation Area.
Hiking: A variety of trails are available for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding and nature study can be found in the recreation area. The Trails of Waterloos Discovery Center can help guide your exploration of all the natural features to be found.
Hunting: Waterloo Recreation Area is open to hunting for all species following regular State Regulations between September 15 and March 31. This park boasts excellent deer and turkey hunting, with prevalent numbers of both species. Rabbit and squirrel can be found to a lesser degree throughout the park. In addition, there are pockets throughout the park with decent populations of pheasant, quail, grouse and woodcock. The park is also open to trapping. The terrain is a mixture of open brush land to mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open meadows mixed in with several large areas of wetland habitat. All users are reminded that private property is interspersed within many of the park and recreation area properties. It is the responsibility of all users to determine where they are and to stay off private property. Waterloo does have hiking and equestrian trails within the open hunting areas.
Snowmobile Area - Allowed with 4" of snow or more on the ground.:
Swimming: A public beach is located at Big Portage Lake, E4. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a beach store open during the summer. A beach is also located for campers only at the Sugarloaf Campground, G8.
Cross Country Ski: Cross country ski trails start at the Discovery Center. Trails are not groomed. Click here for a map.

Trails at Waterloo Recreation Area

Phone:
Directions:
Not ADA accessible
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail
Phone:
Directions:
Not ADA accessible
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail
Phone:
Directions:
Not ADA accessible
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail
Phone:
Directions:
Not ADA accessible
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail
Phone:
Directions:
Not ADA accessible
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail

Campgrounds at Waterloo Recreation Area


Campground: Waterloo Portage Lake-Modern

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $26 (50A), $24 (20/30A), $20/$18 (off-season)
  • Total Number of Sites: 136
  • Camp Site Map
  • ADA accessible
  • Offering: MODERN
  • Latitude: 42.32523948427641

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo Portage Lake-Modern

Electrical Service:
Swimming:
Some Campsites with 50 amp Service:
Flush toliets and showers.:
Alcohol Restrictions Apply: Alcohol is not allowed in the Portage Lake campground and day use area of Waterloo Recreation Area from April 1 through Labor Day.
Winter Camping:

Trails at Waterloo Portage Lake-Modern

Waterloo-Dry Marsh: .50 miles


Phone:
Directions:
ADA accessible: No
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail: 22.00 miles


Phone:
Directions:
ADA accessible: No
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail

Campground: Waterloo Green Lake-Rustic

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $13
  • Total Number of Sites: 25
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: RUSTIC
  • Latitude: 42.361715036951736
Green Lake campsites are non-reservable. They are first come, first served via a self-registration box.

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo Green Lake-Rustic

Rustic Site:
Vault Toilet:
Fishing:
Hiking: Campground is within 1/2 mile of the Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking Trail.
Boating Access Site/Launch - Access for boating and fishing.:

Campground: Waterloo-Equestrian

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $18
  • Total Number of Sites: 25
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: RUSTIC EQUESTRIAN
  • Latitude: 42.33577454563145
Equestrian campsites are non-reservable. They are first come, first served via a self-registration box.

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo-Equestrian

Campers w/horses only: Campground limited to equestrian campers only.
Vault Toilet:
Rustic Site:
Equestrian:

Campground: Waterloo-Group Use Area

  • Camper Fee Per Night: Contact the park
  • Total Number of Sites: 5
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: RUSTIC
  • Latitude: 42.32523948427641
Located within the Portage Lake Unit.

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo-Group Use Area

Rustic Site: Open to organizational groups only.
Vault Toilet:
Swimming: Available at the Portage Lake day-use area.
Playground - These play areas offer a variety of playground equipment for children.: Located at the Portage Lake day-use area.
Fishing: Easy access to Portage Lake and fishing pier.
Hiking: Dry Marsh Trail in the Portage Lake campground and the Waterloo Pinckney hiking trail are both a short distance from the Group Use Area.

Campground: Waterloo Sugarloaf-Modern

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $26 (50A), $24 (20/30A)
  • Total Number of Sites: 164
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: MODERN
  • Latitude: 42.33781274638831

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo Sugarloaf-Modern

Electrical Service:
Boating Access Site/Launch - Access for boating and fishing.: Open to registered campers only.
Some Campsites with 50 amp Service:
Swimming:
Flush toliets and showers.: Flush toilets and showers.
Playground - These play areas offer a variety of playground equipment for children.:
Canoe/Kayak Rental: Canoes and rowboat available to Sugarloaf campers only.

Trails at Waterloo Sugarloaf-Modern

Waterloo-Woodland Trail: 1.00 miles


Phone: (734) 475-8307
Directions: Loveland Road south to entrance of Sugarloaf campground
ADA accessible: No
Trail is open to Sugarloaf campers only
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail

Campground: Waterloo-Rustic Cabins

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $65-$86
  • Total Number of Sites: 3
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: RUSTIC CABINS

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo-Rustic Cabins

Lodges, mini cabins, camper cabins and rustic cabins: Southfork cabin sleeps 8 and rents for $60/night and Burns cabins each sleep 20 and rent for $80/night. A wood burning stove provides the heat in the colder seasons and wood is provided for the stoves.
Vault Toilet:

Campground: Waterloo-Portage Lake Camper Cabin

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $86, $65 (off-season)
  • Total Number of Sites: 1
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: CABINS
  • Latitude: 42.32523948427641
This cabin is located between site 100 and 102 in the Portage Lake Modern Campground.

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo-Portage Lake Camper Cabin

Lodges, mini cabins, camper cabins and rustic cabins: The cabin is located between site 100 and 102 in the Portage Lake Modern Campground
Electrical Service:

Campground: Waterloo-Green Lake Yurt

  • Camper Fee Per Night: $65
  • Total Number of Sites: 1
  • Camp Site Map
  • Not ADA accessible
  • Offering: RUSTIC YURT
  • Latitude: 42.361715036951736
A Yurt is a round self-supporting, tent-like structure that originated in central Asia and provides snug, weather tight, camping comfort. This Yurt overlooks Green Lake and sleeps up to 5. A propane camp stove is provided, but guests must bring their own propane canisters. The Yurt is open year round, but is hike-in only from December 1 through April.

Activities & Facilities at Waterloo-Green Lake Yurt

Hiking:
Hunting:

Trails at Waterloo-Green Lake Yurt

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail: 22.00 miles


Phone:
Directions:
ADA accessible: No
Recreation Passport Required
Park Trail








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