Brighton State Recreation Area

Maps and Area Guide

Brighton Recreation Area provides almost 5,000 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. Oak forest, thick hedgerows, and open spaces blend on the upland while grassy marshes, shrub masses, and dense swamp timber mark the lowlands.

Camping & Day Use: Brighton Recreation Area has a 144-site modern campground located at Bishop Lake that offers electrical hookups at each site and a modern restroom/shower building. There are two rustic campgrounds with 25 sites each: one located at Appleton Lake and the other at Murray Lake. For those who enjoy horseback riding, the park offers an equestrian rustic campground with 17 sites. The park also has an organizational/group use campground. For day use, the Bishop Lake Complex and Chilson Units both offer picnicking. Disc golfers will enjoy the 18-hole disc golf course at the Chilson Unit. Bishop Lake Complex also offers swimming, hiking, and biking trails. There are 6 picnic shelters available for reservation: 4 at the Chilson Unit and 2 at the Bishop Lake Complex Unit.

Equestrian Information: Brighton Recreation Area features full equestrian facilities including a riding stable, rustic campground, a staging area, and 18 miles of bridle trails. Don’t have a horse but want to go for a ride? Contact our riding stables at 6660 Chilson Road at 810-534-5063 or online at

Trail Information: Besides the bridle trail, Brighton Recreation Area offers three hiking trails and 6 mountain bike trails. Hikers can use biking trail, but bikers cannot use hiking trails. The Trailhead is located at Bishop Lake Complex on Bishop Lake Road.

Hiking Trails:
Kahchin Trail – 2 Miles
Penosha Trail – 6 Miles
Bishop Lake Trail – 1 Mile, barrier-free

Mountain Bike Trails:
Appleton Trail – 2 Miles, beginner
Murray Lake Trail – 7 Miles, intermediate
Lost Loop (extension of Murray Lake Trail) – 2 Miles, technical
Found Loop (extension of Lost Loop) – 1.5 Miles
Ralph’s Ride (extension of Found Loop) – 1 Mile
Torn Shirt Trail – 7 miles, advanced

Overnight Lodging: Brighton Recreation Area has five cabins available.

Boating & Fishing: The park has easy access to many lakes for fishing and boating enjoyment. Canoe, kayak, SUPs, and rowboat rentals are available.  Brighton Recreation Area now offers an ADA accessible canoe/kayak launch located at the Bishop Lake boat launch.

Winter Activities: Winter camping, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing are great ways to enjoy the park. Wildlife is abundant in the park, and hunting is allowed during legal seasons.

Recreation Passport:

The Recreation Passport is required for all Michigan state parks, trails, historic sites, boat launches, harbors, and more. Visit for more details and to purchase.


Campground Office: 8am-10pm, Memorial Day-Labor Day. Campsite: Check-in 3pm, Check-out 1pm. Overnight Lodging: Check-in 4pm, Check-out Noon. Quiet Hours: 10pm-8am.

Park Amenities:

SUPs, canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals are available.

Alcoholic Beverages and Marijuana Use:

You may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage in the Bishop Lake day-use area April 1–Sept. 30 without written authorization of the park manager. Despite the change in law, the use of marijuana in public is still not legal or allowed.


Pets must be kept on a 6-foot leash and must never be left unattended. Please clean up after your animals. No animals on the beach.

Special Camping Rules:

Campers may not camp for more than 15 consecutive nights. Campsites must be occupied each night. Two vehicles allowed per campsite. Visitors must leave by 10pm. Horse required for the Equestrian Campground. Fireworks are not permitted.

Michigan State Parks Swimming, Boating, and Water Safety:

The Great Lakes are powerful bodies of water. DO NOT swim near or jump off break walls or navigational channel walls. Always pay attention to changing conditions and the beach flag warning system found in designated buoyed swim areas. Before heading out, visit

Record-high water levels are causing increased river flows, submerged docks and piers, swimming and boating hazards, and other concerns. Learn more about the effects of high water and how to stay safe at

Don’t Move Firewood! Help Protect our Michigan State Parks and Campgrounds!

Invasive insects and diseases have destroyed MILLIONS OF TREES in Michigan, often after hitching a ride on firewood. Purchase only certified heat-treated firewood at the park or nearby vendors. If you don’t use it all, don’t transport it or take it home with you. Campfires are permitted only in designated fire rings. Never leave a campfire unattended.

Michigan State Park Gear and Merchandise:

“These Goods are Good for Michigan” is a collection of partners who work with the Michigan DNR to support parks, trails, and waterways through the sale of products and services. Visit

Give the Gift of Outdoor Recreation:

Want to give a camping or boating trip to your favorite outdoor enthusiast? Purchase a Michigan state park and harbor gift card or electronic card. Visit or call 517-284-7275.

Overnight Lodging Facilities:

Want to go camping but don’t own a tent or camper? There are many options available at Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas, including: cabins, yurts, safari-style tents, or lodges and cottages with many of the amenities of home. Visit


Reservations can be made by visiting or by calling 1-800-44-PARKS (1-800-447-2757). For more information, visit

Contact the Park:

Brighton State Recreation Area:
(810) 229-6566
6360 Chilson Road
Howell, MI 48843-9451

Welcome to Brighton State Recreation Area

These businesses welcome you and wish you an enjoyable stay.

Boomer’s Party Store & Pizza

Jet’s Pizza

Jonna’s Market

Lakeland Ace Hardware