Pinckney State Recreation Area – Losee Lake Trail Photo Tour

Today’s adventure chronicle will be continuing our ongoing mission… To find new nature and seek out new trees.. Takes us to Pinckney State Recreation Area. This beautiful Michigan State Park spans two counties and several townships within Southeast Michigan. In Washtenaw County, the park rests in Dexter, Sylvan, and Lyndon Townships. In the Livingston County areas, there are parts of the park Putnam and Unadilla Townships. As you can imagine, this is a rather large area. 11,000 acres to be precise. We began our exploration of this park earlier this spring with the Losee Lake Trail.

The Losee Lake Trail at Pinckney State Recreation Area

At the time of our visit, Jess wasn’t feeling super well, so we decided on attempting to finish one of the shorter trail loops we were able to find. Our journey began, consequently, at the parking area near Silver Lake. There is a short “there and back” into the loop, at which the trail splits to loop around a beautiful wooded area. If you haven’t seen a map, you’ll find that the trail does not loop around Losee Lake but rather converges with it on the North East section of the loop. The opposite side of the loop runs somewhat parallel to Silver Hill Road for a bit before crossing Dexter-Townhall Road and leading into the more secluded interior of this beautiful spot.

If you have a map of this particular trail, our route followed the markers in this sequence: 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 2 > 1. Due to circumstances, we didn’t go through the entire loop but used the cut-through from marker 4 > 5. We will return for a full circuit soon, however, so we can finish our report on this trail.

Beautiful right from the start!

As soon as you make your way from the parking lot, you have to trek a short jaunt southeast to make your way to the trail-head. It looks like a little groomed picnic area at first. We wondered if we were in the right place. Continuing our walk, paid off as we did manage to find the trail. The beginning of the journey, looks like this:

Pine trees greet you right away.

A pine tree lined path on the Losee Lake Trail
You are almost immediately greeted by beautiful pine tree lined pathways on the Losee Lake trail at the Pinckney State Recreation Area.

The date of this trek was May 1st. The forest was just coming back to life. The smells of spring were mingling nicely with the wafting scents of the decaying leaves along the forest floor. As we made our way toward marker 2, we were greeted by this little flower.

Bloodroot Flower

Bloodroot Flower or, Sanguinaria Canadensis if you like Latin.
One of my favorite things to do while hiking is to find the beautiful little bits of life lining the forest floor. This here is a Bloodroot Flower (Sanguinaria Canadensis). It blooms only in spring and will give way to a lush carpet of large green leaves (as seen unfurling in the photo) once summer sets in. The name is derived from the rhizomes (root/bulb networks) and perhaps obviously, not the flower itself.

Pet Friendly State Parks

As owners of two very avid adventure puppies, we do our best to avoid areas that do not allow dogs. The Pinckney State Recreation Area is no different. Anoush and Duncan, are our trail sentinels. Just below, you can see them guarding the trail marker #3 just at the “Blue Spur”. This is the last marker before you reach the intersection with Dexter-Townhall Road and the subsequent pipeline that I’ve read quite a bit about in the Alltrails Reviews for this hike.

The Collie adventure pups, Anoush & Duncan

Anoush & Duncan, our very own adventure Collie dogs!
The sentinels of the path. Our Collie dogs, Anoush and Duncan sitting next to the #3 trail marker at the Pinckney State Recreation Area. They probably love their time in the forest with us as much (or more) than we do!

Anoush and Duncan running free on the trail.

The Rover Gas Pipeline

The location of the Rover Gas Pipeline.
The location of the swath of woods that was removed to accommodate the Rover Gas Pipeline.

While I definitely don’t enjoy seeing man-made intrusion into nature. I often will take up the challenge of making an interesting image to incorporate nature with the man-made elements.

Sumac Blooming

Near the pipeline site, before you get back into the trail, nature is already at work reclaiming what she can. This is a bit of Sumac that is growing into the area that had only two years before been clear cut.

A closeup shot of blooming Sumac
This is Jessica’s take on the interesting Sumac blooming near the pathway.
A Sumac "flower" on the Losee Lake Trail in Pinckney State Rec Area
This is my take on the Sumac. Personally, I like her shot better. Though, she prefers mine. Sometimes we can’t agree on anything!

Before we headed back into the woods, we stopped for a quick portrait with our puppers.

Jessica with our Collies Anoush & Duncan.
My beautiful wife Jess with our mischievous pups.
Jeff with Anoush and Duncan
I wish I would have posed like Jess on this one lol But hey.. This is me in my full awkward glory!

Small Maple

A little Maple Tree at the Pinckney State Recreation Area
A sign of spring life! A little Maple Tree welcoming the sunlight with it’s new growth.

Spring in the forest is always full of such vivid little bits of life. One such example is this small maple tree. Hurrying to grab as much light before the bigger siblings grow leaves and block most of the light.

The Pines at Pinckney State Recreation Area

A return to the tree lined path that greeted us at the beginning of our journey.
So, what can I say, I am a sucker for “down the path” pics. Maybe it’s the leading lines, maybe it’s the way the older trees line the path.

Since Jess wasn’t feeling well, I often resisted the urge to stop and take photos. However, I love the “down the trail” photos. So I did take another quick stab at the pine-tree lined path leading back to the parking area.

Sunsets are always a welcomed sight.

A long exposure shot of Silver Lake at Sunset
As much as I am a sucker for down the path shots, I’m also a sucker for long exposure shots featuring smoothed out water. It seems to make the colors more saturated without making them over the top in some cases. This is Silver Lake, right near the parking area at the Pinckney State Recreation Area.
The pier leading into Silver Lake
Even though the Sun is behind me and to the left a bit in this shot, the Sunset was casting it’s color throughout the entire sky. Sometimes, the best advice is to “look behind”.
The parking lot at the Pinckney State Recreation Area at sunset.
The sunset was amazing! Even though it’s just the parking lot, I wanted to do my best to make an interesting photo which captured the beautiful color of the light.

The first shot is actually facing away from the sunset. I took this approach for a couple reasons. First being, the light was so soft and yet colorful over Silver Lake. The second was that the sun was setting over the parking lot. As with all sunsets, there is a small window of opportunity. So I wanted to attempt to capture the scene the I knew would fade into dark sooner. The first shot is a long exposure. This reduced the intensity of the sky but, gave the water a very warm glow.

The next shot shows just how crazy the colors were. Even facing away from the sun, there was a very strong pinkish orange plume of color on the clouds.
The final shot of the trip was the ever scenic parking lot. The sun was behind the treeline at this point but, was still blasting so much color onto the light cloud cover.

Some pages worth checking out about the Pinckney State Recreation Area

• Pure Michigan’s Official Page

Alltrail’s Information on the Losee Lake Trail

Other awesome Michigan State Parks!

Bald Mountain North Unit Trails

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Nothing in the world is more exciting to a photographer than, the perfect light at the perfect moment. However, if this convergence of events happened all the time, perfect light might become imperfect, and the amazing could become mundane. Since the perfect scene is dictated by nature... a travel photographer must make the best use of the opportunity at hand. Attempting to make the mundane, extraordinary with creativity and a variety of techniques. This pretty much sums up my experience with nature and scenic photography. Which forces me to do my best to make the most of the opportunities at hand... regardless of what mother nature has planned. I look forward to sharing our adventures in Michigan, and showing off the beauty of our mitten-shaped corner of the world. While also sharing some of my knowledge of photography, which might be helpful in your adventures.

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