Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
269.00 ft (81.99 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Haven Hill landmark sits inside the northeast portion of the Highland State Recreation Area. It provides a marginally challenging climb up to the top of the elevation to access and enjoy the remains of Edsell Ford's retreat and lodge. Maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Friends of Highland Recreation Area, this historical landmark provides a view into metro Detroit's automotive history while still providing a beautiful natural landscape to adventure outdoors.

Haven Hill was founded in the early 1920s. Edsell Ford took over the Ford Motor Company from his father and built the lodge and surrounding amenities to be his "nerve retreat," where he could escape the many stresses of work life and get back to nature and the outdoors. The retreat received several high-profile visitors of the time, including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, the Prince of Wales, Edgar Rice Boroughs, Admiral Richard Byrd, and Jackie Cooper. What is left now is the more than 6,000 square feet of lodge footprint and traces of the outer buildings, including the pump house and pool.

Leaving from the marked parking lot, head out past the trail marker over a small boardwalk to begin a rolling hike through the woods. The trail skirts a small pond and bog from which deer and waterfowl can be spotted. Coming to the first major trail intersection, continue left and straight to remain on the footpath. The intersecting path is the horseback riding trail to which this loop will return. Continue along the trail until another intersection is encountered near a large bog at the base of Haven Hill. This one will have several choices; choose to turn right and skirt around the bog.

At this point, Haven Hill is a little north by northeast and will be accessed by breaking off the main trail onto a smaller path that leads up to the well and pump house. Continue left past the pump house and follow the trail as it winds uphill toward the pool and tennis courts. From this point, follow the trail as it weaves up the hill closer to the landmark destination. A final straight path up awaits the hiker, at which point cresting this summit will place the hiker right on the southwest boundary of the lodge's footprint.

Several vantage points are provided atop Haven Hill as well as a series of information boards detailing the landmark's history. The old fireplace is the largest feature that remains of the lodge after a fire years ago. Past the fireplace, a path leads down the hill toward the carriage house, which is still standing. This section is actually the true entrance to Haven Hill, where benches are located to rest and eat if needed. The path back follows the old Haven Hill Road as it winds its way down the hill and comes to the horse trail mentioned earlier. Turn right to follow the trail back to the aforementioned intersection, where a left turn will take you back to the parking lot.

Haven Hill offers an easy to moderate hike that can be accessed year-round, providing a slightly different adventure based on the season. This present adventure took advantage of densely packed snow to hike up the hill and bring a sled to pull children down the old road upon return. The spring offers redbuds in full bloom on the hilltop while the summer and fall provide those majestic views with color and splendor respective of the season. Remember this is a historical landmark and take care not to climb on the buildings' features to best preserve it for future generations.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Hidden and unique landmark. Scenic views.

Cons

Can be crowded during events.

Trailhead Elevation

1,016.00 ft (309.68 m)

Highest point

1,144.00 ft (348.69 m)

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Historically significant
Shelters
Horseback riding
Wildlife
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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