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Michigan dnr >wildlife viewing guide > northern lower peninsula > marl lake

64 Marl Lake And South Higgins Lake State Park Northern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

view of lakeentrance signboat launch
Photo: lake view © Phil Seng; entrance sign and boat laundch, MI DNR
view of lake
Photo: MI DNR

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. Higgins Lake, a modern campground, boat launch, beach, and picnic area are to the north of the road. 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 trailhead 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.

Portions of this area are open to public hunting, including marl lake. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.


From I-75 exit 239, head west/southwest on M-18 just past the exit ramp and turn right (west) onto Robinson Lake Road. Follow Robinson Lake Road about 3 miles west to the blinker at County Rd. 100, turn left and follow about 3.5 miles to Park entrance.

From US-27 just south of Higgins Lake, exit onto County Road 104. Turn east and proceed 6.5 miles to the entrance of Marl Lake on the right and South Higgins State Park on the left.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, South Higgins Lake Park Headquarters, (989) 821-6374

Size: 962 acres

Closest Town
: Roscommon

Weather and Driving Directions for Roscommon

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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