You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Michigan State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Waterloo Recreation Area
Robin ©
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
Availability Search
16345 McClure Road
Chelsea, Michigan   48118

Phone: 734-475-8307
Reservations: 800-447-2757
Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. At more than 20,000 acres, the park boasts two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, a swimming beach, several picnic sites, 11 excellent fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, three rustic cabins, numerous equestrian trails and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center.
Park Store
Big Portage Lake Beach Area has vending machines at the beach building with snacks and pop. The park also sells firewood and ice.
Visitors Center
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.
Waterloo Green Lake-Rustic(734) 475-8307 25 site(s)Boat Launch, Fishing, Hiking, Rustic Site, Vault Toilet

Waterloo Portage Lake-Modern(800) 447-2757 136 site(s)Campsites with 50 amp Service, Electrical Service, Modern Restrooms, Swimming

Waterloo Sugarloaf-Modern(800) 447-2757 164 site(s)Boat Launch, Campsites with 50 amp Service, Electrical Service, Modern Restrooms, Playground, Swimming

Waterloo-Equestrian(734) 475-8307 25 site(s)Campers with horses, Equestrian, Rustic Site, Vault Toilet

Waterloo-Group Use Area(734) 475-8307 5 site(s)Playground, Rustic Site, Swimming, Vault Toilet

Waterloo-Rustic Cabins(800) 447-2757 3 site(s)Cabins & Lodges, Vault Toilet
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.
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.

Waterloo Recreation Area is located near Ann Arbor, Brooklyn and Chelsea

Horse Area
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 the Waterloo Horsemen's Association which helps support equestrian activities in the park.
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.

Two picnic shelters are available to rent at the Portage Lake day-use area. Contact the park headquarters for reservations: (734)475-8307. Playgrounds are available at the Portage Lake day-use area and the Sugarloaf Campground.
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.
Cross-country Skiing
Cross country ski trails start at the Discovery Center. Trails are not groomed
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 Waterloo's Discovery Center can help guide your exploration of all the natural features to be found.

Waterloo-Bicycle Trails Trail Length: 5.00 (Miles)Mountain Biking

Waterloo-Bridle Trails Trail Length: 12.00 (Miles)Equestrian

Waterloo-Discovery Center Trail Trail Length: 14.00 (Miles)Cross Country Ski, Hiking

Waterloo-Dry Marsh Trail Length: 0.50 (Miles)Cross Country Ski, Hiking

Waterloo-Hickory Hills Trail Length: 1.00 (Miles)Cross Country Ski, Hiking

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail Trail Length: 22.00 (Miles)Cross Country Ski, Hiking

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 1 Great Swimming by jacksand5
park review stars; one to five We love camping here with the kids. The lake is great for swimming!
June 17 One of my favorite parks
park review stars; one to five Big Portage Lake is excellent for swimming and boating. The campground roads are paved which make biking and skating great for kids.
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Holiday RV Campground
9625 Knight Road
Grass Lake, MI
Greenwood Acres
2401 Hilton Road
Jackson, MI
Apple Creek Resort
11185 Orban Road
Grass Lake, MI
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
businesss listing main photo
Enjoy Southeast Michigan's Best Family Camping experience at our clean, quiet, friendly campground. Jumping Pillow, WiFi, Paddle Boats, Minigolf, Swimming, Bicycling and more
24.1 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

Because the park is so large and spread out, finding where you want to go may require some extra time. The park map can be obtained by clicking on the link at the top of this page. Each location described here will refer to a letter/number locator on the park map. Please call the park for additional directions.

state route ranger badge

Michigan State Parks