Brighton State Recreation Area

Brighton State Recreation AreaBrighton State Recreation Area of Livingston County, Michigan

Hiking Brighton State Recreation AreaCross country ski Brighton State Recreation AreaMountain biking Brighton State Recreation AreaHorseback riding Brighton State Recreation AreaKayak or Canoe Brighton State Recreation Area

Trail Distance:

Over 21 miles long.


Location Take I-96 to exit 147 at Brighton. Go west approximately 6 miles to Chilson Road, and drive south 1 1/2 miles to Bishop Lake Road to park.

Click for more directions

Trail Names:

Trail Description:

6360 Chilson Rd
Howell MI 48843
Phone Number: (810) 229-6566
TTY/TDD711 (Michigan Relay Center)
Motor Vehicle Permit Required: Yes
Approximate Size: 4947 (Acres)
Make a Reservation at this Park

Ski trail is not groomed.

Brighton Recreation Area provides 4,947 acres of recreation for park visitors to use. The area has a combination of high, irregular ranges of hills, interspersed with a number of attractive lakes. Brighton Recreation Area has several miles of trails available for equestrian, mountain biking, and hiking. Oak forest, thick hedgerows and open spaces blend on the uplands while grassy marshes, shrub marshes and dense swamp timber mark the lowlands.


  • Michigan State Park Explorer Program - Learn more about the natural features and resources located in this park with the State Park Explorer Program.
  • Hunting - Wildlife is abundant in the park and hunting is allowed during legal seasons.
  • Playground - These play areas offer a variety of playground equipment for children.
  • Both picnic areas have a small play area for children.
  • Beach House - Provides clothes-changing area for swimmers.
  • Swimming - Bishop Lake Beach Information  Bishop Lake beach has been totally remodeled and is now universally accessible. Opening in the spring of 2006, new features include a beach house, beach area, picnic areas, and a sand volleyball court. Vending machines are available at the beach house.
  • Fishing - Shore fishing is available at all lakes where launches are located. An ADA fishing pier is accessible from the boat launch at Bishop Lake.
  • Canoe/Kayak/Rowboat Rental - Canoes, Kayaks and Rowboats are available. Contact the park for more information by calling 810-229-6566.
  • Picnic Area - Picnic tables and fire pits/grills. Two picnic areas, one at Bishop Lake which is ADA accessible, and one at Chilson Lake. Vending machines are located near the restroom facilities.
  • Picnic Shelter(s) - Four picnic shelters are available for reservation at Chilson Lake's day-use areas. Shelters can be reserved up to one year in advance by calling 1-800-447-2757 or visiting
  • Alcohol Restrictions Apply - Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed from April 1 to September 30 in the Bishop Lake Day Use Area without the written authorization of the park manager.
  • Hiking - Two trails are designed to make the remote areas of the park more accessible for visitors.
  • Bridle Trails - Trails may have other designated uses. A full equestrian facility, Brighton Recreation Area offers 18 miles of trails, a riding stable, rustic camping and a staging area. If you do not have a horse and would like to go for a ride, visit the Brighton Recreation Area Riding Stables for current information about hours, activities and prices. Be sure to check out information about Brighton Trail Riders Association which helps support equestrian activities in the park.
  • Mountain Biking - Two mountain biking trails accommodate beginning and advanced riders. See trail information below.
  • Boating Access Site/Launch - Access for boating and fishing. Launches are located on Chilson, Appleton, Bishop and Chenango lakes. For information on these lakes, click here.
  • Cross Country Ski - All trails are open to cross country skiing, however they are not groomed.
  • 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.
  • Fishing in the Parks - Learn more about fishing at Fishing in the Parks, a free educational program.
  • Other - Bird watching is a popular recreation activity at this location. For a list of birds that have been found by bird watchers, click here

Return to Livingston County, MI Trails Page

Brighton State Recreation Area Map

Permission and information sources are from Contributers to this Web Site, the Department of Natural Resources,, National Park Service, and the USDA Forest Service.


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