Hiking at Waterloo with winter camping option

If you've wanted to try winter backpacking or camping, this is an intermediate level event where we will hiking a 12 mile loop in the morning/afternoon and camping at a drive in state campground for the night. You can store gear, an extra sleeping bag, blankets, etc in your car.

Where: We'll meet Saturday at 10 AM at the entrance to the Equestrian/Horse Camp in Waterloo State Recreation Area. The Equestrian/Horse Camp is located on Loveland Road, just above Clear Lake Shore Dr. Here is a map: http://goo.gl/maps/fVK4A of where we are meeting and camping. The GPS coordinates are:[masked],[masked]

Waterloo is a big state recreation area, please be careful that you go to the Equestrian/Horse Camp. Google maps doesn't have a marker for the camp but it is there.

What: We'll hike the blue 12 mile loop in about 6 hours. We will stop for lunch half way though. There will be some hills on the trail. Dress warmly and bring something for lunch that won't freeze, plenty of snacks, and water.

After hiking the loop, we'll be camping at the Equestrian/Horse Camp for the night and leaving Sunday morning. The camping part is optional if you're only interested in the day hike.

I'm going to be carrying everything on my back for the weekend to try out winter backpacking, but camping is open to anyone - backpacker or not. It is a drive in camp site so you can always do the day hike, then car camp.

Here's a map of the loop we'll do: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/Waterloo_horsetrails.pdf


• Take I-94 to exit 153 for Clear Lake Road.

• Go north 4 miles.

• Turn right on Loveland Road.

• Loveland Road will bend 90 degrees to the right. The Equestrian/Horse Camp are on the left, right after Sugarloaf Lake Campground.

Cost: If you're only going for the day, you need a state recreation passport which is $11. If you are staying the night, the fee for the campsite is $17.

Etiquette: I will designate someone as sweep. Do not get behind the sweep. If you get way ahead of the sweep, please stop and wait at each intersection and every 30-minutes. Go back if necessary, someone behind you may need help.

If you see a mountain bike getting close, yell BIKE! and step off the trail to the right.

Staying warm: For the hike, make sure you dress in layers. You generate a lot of heat hiking and you might want to take a layer off or add one on depending on your circumstance.

If you are camping, please bring extra bedding or an extra sleeping bag even. Sleeping bag ratings are usually pretty liberal with their estimates and you might find yourself miserable and cold at night.

Maps and Links:

Map to where we are meeting/camping (Equestrian/Horse Camp) : http://goo.gl/maps/fVK4A

Map of the trail: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/Waterloo_horsetrails.pdf

Map of the whole Waterloo State Recreation Area: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/waterloo_map.pdf

Winter camping and hiking tips from REI: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-camping.html

Lots more winter camping info: http://www.wintercampers.com/

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  • Justin E

    Good, a little cold but not bad!

    January 31, 2014

  • connie


    January 25, 2014

  • connie

    camping only

    January 24, 2014

    • Mark M.

      if you get there before we're back from the hike, just park near us (I've got a red Mazda3) and set up camp.

      January 25, 2014

  • Justin E

    I might be interested in going, if I hike I'm going to camp (but my new 0degree bag to the test!). Does anyone plan on bringing snowshoes or is the snow not that deep out there?

    January 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I went hiking in the Pinckney RA near Green Lake last week. Snowshoes would have been a hindrance on trail and helpful off trail.

      January 24, 2014

    • Justin E

      Alright I'm in for both the hike and camp.

      January 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be joining for the 12 mile hike if the roads are not bad. Will not be camping.

    January 23, 2014

  • connie

    Can you car camp there?

    January 22, 2014

    • Mark M.

      Steve. I just called and they said its closed in the winter. However, the Equestrian Camp at Waterloo is open and has a 12 mile loop so I'm going to relocate the hiking and camping to there. The Equestrian Camp is also a drive in campsite.

      January 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Equestrian camp is a couple hundred yards from the rustic cabins... it may pay off to bring some beer / whisky, just in case, to bribe any cabiners to let you in by the fire! It's been a couple years since I've been over there, but at that time, the trails weren't nearly as well marked as Pinckney, so you'll want to keep close track of where you are on a good map or GPS.

      January 23, 2014

  • Lee K

    Forecast is for 1 degree Saturday night. I have to think about this one...

    January 23, 2014

    • Mark M.

      I'm actually looking forward to the cold so I can test my gear out in colder temperatures in relative safety (being near your car). I'd prefer to find out some gear of mine doesn't cut it in cold weather on a weekend like this than to find out on a weekend where I've just hiked 10 miles in to the woods only to spend a miserable cold night.

      I've always heard winter backpacking is lots of fun so this will be a good introduction.

      January 23, 2014

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