Bald Mountain State Recreation Area – Lake Orion

I have seen a Michigan Road Map from 1968 or 1969 which shows a skier mark for the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area south of Lake Orion indicating they had downhill skiing there. The recreation area still exists and boasts x-c ski trails but no alpine skiing. I do not know if this area ever had tows, but it looks like there are remnants of a couple runs on the north face of a ridge at the south end of trout lake.

About.com Detroit‘s “List of Cross Country Skiing Places in Oakland County, Michigan” says, “Bald Mountain State Recreation Area in Lake Orion has 8 miles of trails for cross-country skiing through hilly terrain (some of the hilliest in Southeast Michigan) in its North Unit.”

If you have any recollections or reminiscences of lift-served skiing at Bald Mountain, please post them or send me an email using the directions on the About MILSAP page.

9 Responses to Bald Mountain State Recreation Area – Lake Orion

  1. MILSAP says:

    Steve Hertler (Steve.hertler@gmail.com) posted the following on our About MILSAP Page on 11/4/11 at 4:29pm. I think it better belongs here: “Regarding the bald mountain ski area in Lake Orion. While I never skied there, and don’t know positively where this was located, I do remember seeing what was explained to me the old ski area, along with what appeared to be the old lift equipment. It was actually located just north of the Palace of Auburn Hills, on the east side of Lapeer Rd. The area now is a business park, and most of the hill has been leveled by earth movers. However, as one is driving North on Lapeer rd., passing the Palace, Lapeer Rd. climbs up a hill. I believe that this was where the top of Bald Mountain ski area was.”

    • MILSAP says:

      Is Steve Herter right? His recollection would place Bald Mountain Ski Area about 2 or 3 mi. south of the current Bald Mountain State Recreation Area and near the corner of Lapeer Rd. and Dutton Rd. About a half mi. east of Lapeer Rd. Bald Mountain Rd. runs parallel to it. Another hilly location would be just south and east of the intersection of Dutton and Bald Mountain roads. Anyone else like to chime in to firmly locate this area?

  2. John says:

    If you go east on Stoney Creek road from Orion road about a half mile down on the north side there is a gate and a small place to park. You can take a walk into the woods on some trails and come to those hills near the lake mentioned in the original post. Everybody I know calls it suicide hill. My friends and I have been going sledding there for years. Some parts of it are really steep so its pretty fun (and dangerous). Also really exhausting to walk back to the top.

  3. nick says:

    Steve is right. The exact location was on the south east corner of Lapeer Road (M-24) and Dutton Road, in the exact spot he mentions. Years after the resort closed down and was abandoned, I rode my motorcycle back on the land and found several chairlifts, cables, stanchions, etc. and also found the lodge. It appeared to have been through a fire, and anyone I ever asked said that their recollection of the fire was in the late 70s / early 80s. During the late 90s or early 00s, the land was sold, converted to commercial property, and leveled / filled in completely.

    • daryl says:

      well, I want to chime in and offer an opinion. I grew up in the area and drove the m24 corridor frequently between 1964 and 1969. and then daily between 1974 and 1988.
      I can say that there must have been at least two separate ski areas. the one on m24 is clear in my memory as being open in the mid 60’s. but definately closed by 1974. I believe it was called bald mountain. the location would have been known as pontiac or pontiac township back then as auburn hills did not exist. it was on the east side of m24 across from the palace. the area was much different geographically than it is now. not a single building to speak of on either side of road. and the high point on the road was the high point of the hill. the high spot on west side of m24 above the palace is entirely a trash hill. that area all used to be below road grade. likewise the east side of m24 used to be a sharp drop off. that was filled in my garbage during late 60’s-early 70’s. for years there were burning methane vents coming from ground, and at the crest of m24 you could look to the east and see the remains of a chair lift tower as well as light towers. also, there was no dutton road back then. brown rd. ended at m24 and to get to dutton you had to go north to silverbell and double back. to my recollection this was operated by the city of pontiac, and not affilliated with the bald mountain recreation area a couple of miles north, which was operated by the state park system.
      the second ski area which was closer to the state park, was i believe silverbell. they had the concert venue. and this area looks to be well documented on another part of this site.

  4. Alan says:

    I moved out to Lake Orion with my parents long aver these hills (Bald Mountain and Silverbell) have been gone. The documentation I see on the Silverbell page shows that the hill was on Bald Mountain Road near Dutton which is south of Bald Mountian Park and closer to the Palace of Auburn Hills. Oddly enough, if you Mapquest the address from the Silverbell page (4385 bald mountain rd, lake orion, mi) you will see a little mountain icon with the name “Bald Mountain”.

    While looking at the map you can follow Bald Mountain Road to the north until it ends on the other side of Silverbell Road. That side of Bald Mountain is in a subdivision called Hi Hill. You will also see a street that sprouts from the left called Pinnacle Dr and then Pinnacle Ct. Those streets all wind up a very tall hill, probably the highest in the area. That leads me to believe that it could have been a ski hill attached to Bald Mountain Park at one time.

  5. WaltF says:

    O.P.
    does your map also show a skier mark for Silver Bell and Grampian,
    if not , the mark on you map is likely an inaccurate mark for either
    Silver Bell or Grampian

  6. Tony Casino says:

    I can confirm that on the SW corner of Dutton and Blad Mountian Rd….down in the valley…was a lodge. Called it…appropriately…”The Lodge”. We used to go there after nights of drinking at the local watering hole and run around like fools in the dark. It was abandoned and busted up with concrete, bricks, smashed windows, etc. On the south end of the structure was a tow rope area. This tow rope went directly west up a fairly “not-so-steep” hill. That was all we could see in the dark. Many rooms with dirt and weeds growing from the floor. We used to go there all the time.

    • daryl says:

      That is correct. The se corner of dutton and bald mtn roads would have been the ne corner of th ski area property that continued west to m24. And s to where the nature center is now.

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