Highlands is set in the Military Wilderness Training Preserve in the aptly named Highland Mountains on Reach. From 2517 to 2525, the SPARTAN-II program used this area for training the super soldiers on wilderness survival. Outside the map, the Big Horn River dominates the valley floor and in the distance, several CCS-class battlecruisers can be seen glassing Reach.
The middle of the map plays host to a D77-TC Pelican dropship, Bravo 001. During the Fall of Reach, members of SPARTAN-II Red Team deployed to the surface of Reach in Bravo 001 to defend the planet's orbital defense generators from Covenant assault. The Pelican was shot down and crash-landed in the Highland Mountains.
The following are locations on the map that are so named on the player's heads-up display during gameplay: