The glacial activity that blessed several southeast Michigan counties with a rolling terrain and numerous lakes can easily be seen at Brighton Recreation Area, 50 miles northwest of Detroit in Livingston County. Scattered throughout the 4,947-acre park are moraines, outwash deposits, kettles and other typical features of the Pleistocene Epoch, the glacial era that ended 25,000 years ago.
Brighton's 10 lakes were the result of retreating glaciers whose moraines left them in a rolling terrain that today is covered by oak-hickory woodlands along with the open fields of abandoned farms from the 1820s. Brighton was established in 1944 and increased its acreage over the years but is still broken up by privately owned lots. The largest contiguous section lies on the east side of Chilson Road and is the site of the park's three campgrounds, frontier cabins, and the Bishop Lake Trails System.
The trails system includes 8.5 miles of paths designated for hikers only. Beginning in the Bishop Lake day-use area, the Penosha Trail is a 5-mile loop through the wooded hills and pass wetlands in the heart of the park while the Kahchin Trail is a 2-mile loop. Extending from the Bishop Lake Campground to the park’s group campground is the 1.5-mile Bishop Lake Trail, a point-to-point path that skirts the east half of the lake.
There are also 14 miles of mountain bike trails with the Bishop Lake day-use area serving as the major trailhead. The advance Torn Shirt Trail is a 5.1-mile route featuring steep uphill curves and narrow, heavily wooded stretches. Murray Lake Trail is a 9-mile system rated for intermediate riders that can also be picked up near the Murray Lake Campground.
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