Waterloo Recreation Area is located near Chelsea and covers over 20,500 acres. Along with the camping, picnicking, hiking and other outdoors activities, Waterloo features the wonderful Eddy Discovery Center which is open January 2 to Thanksgiving and is available for groups as well.

Camping Areas

Waterloo Recreation area has 3 camping areas, Sugarloaf, Green Lake and Big Portage Lake. Sugarloaf campground operates during summer months only and has 180 modern sites complete with electricity. Winter camping is available at Big Portage Lake's 194 modern sites and include electricity. A heated toilet building will be open through deer season. Both campgrounds are serviced by a sanitation station and feature swimming, boat launches and nature trails. Big Portage Lake has water skiing, too. A park store and library can be found at Sugarloaf campground. 25 Rustic campsites are available at Green Lake campground from mid June to December 1. Contact headquarters for exact opening and closing dates.

Picnic Sites

Big Portage Lake has tables, stoves, water, toilet facilities, picnic shelter which may be reserved. Hours of operation are 8am to 10pm daily. There are also several smaller picnic areas which have no water, toilets, stoves or tables. The picnic sites at Crooked Lake located at F8 and Mud Lake located at D8 both have tables and grills.


There are several foot trails ranging from 1/2 mile to the 22 mile Woodland trail. Twelve miles of bridal trails are available for the equestrian visitor and 5 miles of mountain bike trails service cyclists.

Public beach located at Big Portage Lake is permitted from 8am to 10pm. There is a concession located at the beach during the summer.

Eddy Discovery Center

The Geology Center is open January 2 to Thanksgiving. It introduces visitors of all ages to Michigan's rocks, minerals, fossils, crystals, glacial information and stories of mining from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. Groups can make reservations for a guided experience by calling 734-475-3170


Most of the area is closed to firearms from April 1 through September 14. At other times regular hunting regulations apply. Check headquarters for details. 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.


Fishermen have 11 different lakes to choose from for a variety of fish including bass, panfish, and pike. Fishing piers are located at Big Portage and Crooked lakes, the others have various other means of access. 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. Access is limited to registered campers at Sugarloaf Lake(E8) because it is located within the campground.

Outdoor Centers - Rustic Cabins/Organizational Camping Area

Outdoor Centers, Cabins and rustic cabins are available by reservation through the park office. Big Portage Lake has a tent camping area for youth groups with leaders. No reservations made for this areas.

A concessions store is open during the summer at the Big Portage Lake beach area. Boat rental for row boats, canoes, paddle boats and your-motor-on crafts are available from mid-May to mid-September. Contact the concessions at 517-596-2307. Reservations are available.

Hickory Hills - 1 (Miles), Hiking - This foot trail is located at E9 on the park map
Dry Marsh - 1 (Miles), Hiking - This foot trail is located at E4 on the park map.
Waterloo Trail - 23 (Miles), Hiking - This foot trail is located at E-3 through E-10 on the park map
Woodland- 1 (Miles), Hiking - This foot trail is located at E8 on the park map.
Discovery Center Trail - 15 (Miles), Hiking - This foot trail is located at F10 on the park map.

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