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Great Getaways

For more information on the Houghton Lake Area please visit
The following are some suggested itineraries, based on our own experiences with accompanying video clips to help you decide if it is a place for you. Feel free to select only one or two activities per day according to your family’s interests. For assistance or for more information, give us a call at 989.366.8474. Have fun!
Photo Galleries
Lost Twin Lakes Hiking Trail & Marl Lake Hiking Trail
Fall 2005
Lost Twin Lakes Hiking Trail
« Watch Video Clip (4:00)
» Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau - Hiking
» Lost Twin Lakes Pathway Map
4 hours
This trail is located 7 miles south of Houghton Lake on Reserve Rd (County Road 400)
This 3 mile loop trail winds through an old growth pine forest. Designed for hiking and cross-country skiing this trail has several bridges, including a covered bridge.  The trail contains scenic overviews of pristine wetlands areas.
Fall Canoe Trip down the AuSable
« Watch Video Clip (3:30)
» Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau - Canoeing
3-5 hours
The South Branch of the AuSable River is world renowned for canoeing, kayaking and tubing. The South Branch of the AuSable River flows northward out of St. Helen to Roscommon (This section is floatable only at certain times of the year). Out of Roscommon the AuSable River flows north and east through the George Mason Wilderness Retreat. There are no homes or roads in the 3,500 acres between Chase Bridge and Smith Bridge; this stretch of the river is preserved as a wilderness. Here the river's depth ranges from one to four feet; a few places are deeper. A moderate current will take you steadily downstream. The Roscommon Canoe Liveries can help you plan trips from 1-4 hours to overnight trips.
Bart’s Fruit Market “The Pumpkin Patch"
« Watch Video Clip (2:00) 1.5 hours
Bart's Fruit Market
431 W. Houghton Lake Drive, Prudenville, MI 48651
It just wouldn’t be fall without a trip to a pumpkin patch. So our next stop is at Bart’s Fruit Market for their annual Pumpkin Patch Party with pumpkins, a cornstalk maze, pony rides and of course donuts and cider.
The Fireman’s Memorial
« Watch Video Clip (1:00)
» Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau - History
1.5 hours
Located on County Rd. 103, near Roscommon
When you take a country ride to view the autumn colors a great stop is the Fireman’s Memorial, a monument dedicated to all fire fighters that have died in the line of duty with a wall bearing their names. This memorial is one of the few in the nation to honor these fallen heroes. A bronze statue of a fireman rescuing a little girl greets you as you enter the site. The park like setting has antique fire gear and a small picnic ground.
Each year usually during the 3rd week of September, a festival is held in remembrance of these brave citizens.  During this festival there is a parade, antique equipment demonstration, a memorial service, a light parade, music, dancing, emergency crew competitions and many more planned activities.  
Its worth the trip and the time for a visit to the Fireman’s Memorial.
St. Helen Motor Sport Area
Great Getaways "ORV Trails" clip « Watch Video Clip (2:20)
» St. Helen Trails Map
4 hours
Located in St. Helen, MI just off of exit 222 on I-75. It is about 20 miles due East of Houghton Lake.
The St. Helen Motor sport Area is 1,280 acres, and is only one of five scramble areas in the state. It is operated by The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and maintained by volunteers from the Michigan Recreation Vehicle Association of Michigan.
A scramble area is a "designated area" in which an ORV operator is NOT restricted to the use of the existing trails or pathways. The operator is able to travel wherever they wish, unless of course the area is posted closed.
Marl Lake And South Higgins Lake State Park
Great Getaways "Marl Lake" clip « Watch Video Clip (3:00)
» Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau - Hiking
» Marl Lake Map
4 hours
South Higgins Lake State Park is nestled between Higgins Lake and Marl Lake. This popular park totals about a thousand acres and is split in half by County Road 100.
To the south lies Marl Lake, more wildness, and better wildlife viewing. The Marl Lake portion of the park is about 700 acres and includes Marl Lake and a small boat launch with vault toilets. This area is also the parking area and trail head for the five mile hiking trail along and around the west and south shores of Marl Lake. The Marl Lake upland is forested with oak, maple, and pine predominating with some white birch, ash, and other species mixed in.

Wildlife Viewing
Marl Lake offers a good opportunity to view bald eagles. April and June are the best months for this, since eagles nest nearby and spend considerable time fishing in this shallow lake. Another bird you may see fishing in Marl Lake is the belted kingfisher. While bald eagles try to snatch fish near the surface with their talons, kingfishers prefer to dive in headfirst, catching small fish in their bills. Walk the trails at the state park to view woodland songbirds. The more common are rose-breasted grosbeaks, red-eyed vireos, great crested flycatchers, woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches. While on the trails you may also catch a glimpse of beavers, muskrats, white tailed deer, foxes, and wild turkeys. Marl Lake is an excellent place to view migrating waterfowl in April and May, particularly diving ducks such as common mergansers, buffleheads, goldeneyes, scaup, and ringnecks. Loons are also common during spring migration, but they do not nest here.

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