Everyone in my group are cyclists and runners though. There are plenty of camping spaces along the Manistee River Trail. Gorgeous! Together those trails can be combined into a 23-mile loop that has become the most popular backpacking trek in the Lower Peninsula. Would love to take it slower and camp along the MRT side as well since every campsite seemed to have a great view. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. As you strap on your pack and set off on your hike, head out on the North Country Trail for your first leg. If you can drop a car at the Seaton Creek Campground, you can take your time and really explore the east banks of the Manistee River as you hike north. The waterfall site 2 miles south of the suspension bridge is great. We need to see it again. Saturday we headed towards the Manistee River Trail around 10ish. The views were spectacular. Day two we made it just south of the Slagle Creek Parking Area on the Manistee River Trail side (near mile marker 7) for night 2. Would I need to a reserve a site or can we setup camp anywhere? Manistee River Trail Loop Combines the Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail to form a loop that is 20 miles long. Finished in 10 hours. by Brandon Jensen | Feb 18, 2016 | Fall, Outdoors, Spring, Summer, Trails, Winter, Winter Trails & Slopes | 58 comments. I’m looking to do the loop the middle of October. The MRT hugs the river for the duration of the southward trip back to red bridge. Here you will be able to look out for miles across the marshes and rolling terrain you crossed on your first day on the North Country Trail. There is quite a bit of elevation change, and with an isolation from pump water, you need to pack heavy that first day. Looking to do a day hike out from Seaton Creek. My favorite way to do this hike is a hike/float trip. Pretty cool spot, access to water, Great overlook, good view of the sunset, need to go down the ravine to get water though, 2 Right near the water, one out in the grassy open & flat area near the water & 1c near the water but with trees, Nice overlook with a couple trees from hammock camping, Fire pit and space in the woods, also Meadow along river, Beautiful view of island. Walked the MRT first, then back on the NCT. Proceed on O'Rourke Drive for 1.3 miles to the Seaton Creek Campground. Parking at the Red Bridge River Access Site on the south side of the loop. Thoughts? On the map I have I don’t see any “overlook” marked. TRAILS: Huron-Manistee National Forest contains 120 miles of the North Country Trail. Sunday finished up the NCT and continued onto the MRT. I’m curious to hear if anyone has hiked from Red bridge to Mini Mac or vice versa and kayaked or tubed back. Total mileage is about 22 miles. Park at the High Rollway Observation Deck in Kingsley. We were first timers and not familiar with the trail, so we ended up starting at the Marilla trailhead and hiking to the NCT. The Manistee River Trail Loop (2017) Where: North Central Michigan (Lower Peninsula), Manistee-Huron National Forest Route: The North Country Trail (NCT) connects to the Manistee River Trail to make a 23-mile loop, perfect for a weekend trip. Thanks! Sandy decline access to the water, somewhat precarious. Northern to southern ends of the Manistee National Forest. By Kim Skeltis. Hi Shawn, rustic camping along the Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail loop is free and on a first come basis. You cross over the Suspension Bridge and reach the MRT, at the campground (north trail) you might want to stop for water as they offer a well. Hi Amy, For information about hunting along the Manistee River Trail, please contact the US Forest Service at 231.723.2211 or the MDNR at michigan.gov/dnr. Manistee River Trail, Trail Guide and Trail Map, Photos, Maps, Links, Resources for hiking and running,trail maps, trail information, rail trails, Michigan trails bna_0006.jpg Meijer The Manistee River Trail can be a great fit for many different levels of hikers. The Manistee River Water Trail begins at the river access site on the west side of Hodenpyl Dam on Hodenpyl Dam Road. 4 , Flint, MI, 48507-9821, Phone: 888-784-7328 Quite a few day hikers, as to be expected on a perfect day. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/michigan/manistee-river-trail-south High point with small area of level ground. Thoughts about wading through the river at the red bridge area to complete the loop? I’d like to start in the middle at the Slagel Creek parking area and head toward the waterfalls. What is the best trail for a family with little kids or what is a good pace to visit? You start by dropping a canoe or kayaks at the north end of the trail, on the west side of the river. Awesome weekend backpack hike! I think I remember the Red Bridge parking lot was on the West side of the bridge. Hi Jason, Thank you for contacting Visit Manistee County. The map indicates parking lots, parking fees, campsites and points of interest. Beautiful fall day, lovely trail but crowded on the river side. The scenery is different on the way back, and it’s a fair bit shorter than hopping on the NCT for the full loop (18ish miles as opposed to 24, almost a marathon!) Hi Joshua, There really isn’t a spot for “staging” your kayak for any period of time. You do not need a permit to park at the Upper River Trailhead. Directions from Mesick, MI: North: Take M-37 south for 6 miles . An 18+ mile loop trail is formed with the North Country Trail along the Manistee River's western banks with two entrances. This perfect weekend hike offers a varied and dynamic perspective of the natural beauty of Manistee County. The forecast looks great, can’t wait to get on the trail!! Even had a little time to catch a nice brown trout along the way, all the trout streams leading into the Manistee are amazing!! I would highly recommend the Manistee River Trail even if you are looking for is a 2-mile hike as opposed to 20-mile. Hope you have a great time if you find yourself on the trail! Hiking and biking are both allowed on the North County Trail, but only hiking is allowed on the Manistee River Trail. Setting out on your final day, you will frequently head up and down in elevation along the most undulating part of the MRT as you make your way into the backwaters and wetlands. This is also a great time to refill the water bottles at the Seaton Creek Campground (it is the only place to fill up with potable water on the hike, so it may be a must if you do not have any water purification gear with you.). You will feel on top of the world as you are perched 200 feet above the river below. Awesome spot! A great trail that is well worth a drive anywhere that you live in Michigan. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Hi! Second, it does not look like there are any water sources on the North Country side of the trail except for Eddington Creek. I’d like to park at the Red Bridge and head north on the NCT. Easily one of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan. Leaving tomorrow morning to hike the loop with my husband. All Rights Reserved | Manistee County Visitors Bureau : 310 First Street, Manistee, MI : (877) 626-4783 | Powered by RSDG. Where on the map is the NCT Overlook? Started near the suspension bridge. Camped along the river, probably could have just went back to the car but it was too beautiful to not camp another night! Rather than doing this as a loop would it work as a short out and back? Not looking to complete a lot of mileage, just craft a little adventure for my little guy. Loop/Endurance Trails & Overnight Hiking We have compiled some of the best loop and endurance trails in Northern Michigan and have provided them to you in one easy to access location. This is a great idea! Now that it’s officially winter and the first snowfall has arrived, the Manistee County Visitors Bureau (Visit Manistee County) wants to help visitors navigate a winter getaway by trying a new outdoor activity. Do you know where I would be able to drop kayak off and then start my hike? Planning a overnight trip with my daughter, first overnight backpacking trip…is the NCT section be done in the first day? Is fishing accessible off the trail if I wanted to backpack the loop? Nestled in the Manistee National Forest you will find hundreds of miles of marked trails for those who love to hike, bike, or in the winter, cross country ski and snowshoe. Planned to do the loop in one day but was so distracted with all the numerous photo op and relaxing sites, ran out of time! I have hiked (day-trip and overnight) many times on this trail, but this was actually the first trail I ever really backpacked on. We haven’t heard any news of LYFT coming to our county but we will keep an ear out for it. Your email address will not be published. Then you camp overnight, pick up your boats, and float down to Red Bridge, which is about a 4-hour float with some very mild class-1 rapids. I’m trying to stage a kayak at the north end of the MRT, park down by Red Bridge, hike North on the MRT, hop in my kayak and float back to my car. Remember, it’s always a good plan to wear hunter orange in the woods at this time of year. The views are breathtaking and the morning light radiates across the terrain assuring you that you are encircled by the natural landscape of Manistee County. THE MANISTEE RIVER LOOP TRAIL Distance: 31.1km Duration: 8-10 hours Difficulty: Moderate More info. I’d suggest downloading the map of both for a more comprehensive guide. We suggest the North Country Trail & Manistee River Trail loop as your introduction to hiking in Manistee County. Dogs are also able to use this trail … 25 miles for us total this was our first hike. Saved this in two sections. The crowd had thinned out tremendously by Sunday midday and we saw very few people as we finished around 3pm. There’s a place to put the boats in near the parking area mentioned above. Once you cross the bridge, you should consider continuing east towards Seaton Creek Campground. At 11+ miles along the Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail segment, this is one of the most famous loop trails in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Would highly recommend. My wife and I hiked the loop in 1 day. This is the most comprehensive information you’ll find for hiking the Manistee River Trail loop. One of our favorite trails. I am looking to hike then float back down in my kayak. The views are spectacular from this location and the hike north through the high pines are great. Overall very scenic hike and very doable for first time backpackers (like me). With many access points to the trails, starting out at the Upper River Trailhead just off of Coates Highway is a great spot to begin. I’d say his range is probably 4 miles or less of easy terrain in a day without me having to carry him. Do I need reservations to tent camp along the trail or can I ENO / tent anywhere? Then we hiked to the suspension bridge and a mile down the MRT. No matter which direction you hike, or which season you go in, the NCT and MRT will quickly be one of your favorite weekend hikes in Michigan. The Manistee River Loop Trail is a 19.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mesick, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as moderate. This is always one of my favorite routes to hike and never disappoints. My daughter did just that Labor Day. Hello, the Manistee County Road Commission should be able to answer your question. The Manistee River Trail has many places to fill a canteen, whether from the river itself or numerous creeks and streams that feed it. You'll cross a couple of roads and reach Eldridge Creek which offers water for the first time along with a decent campsite in some pines on the west side of the creek. Hey Beth, glad to hear you loved the loop! Do you think this full loop could be done in one very long day? Saw at least 12-15 groups of people. Hi Rachel, the loop is 23 miles of hiking. They can be reach at 231.723.2211 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm. Excited to hike this trail on Monday! We started hiking about 3 PM. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. It is a lot harder of a trail and has only one (I believe) access to water along the whole 8.5 mile section. The terrain along the entire route is rolling and you will only encounter a few areas that have some elevation change. It made for a quick hike out the next day. Get off the couch and put Manistee County and our trails your list of things to do this year. Heading south along the trail, between mile marker two and three, you will come upon a small waterfall, spilling over into the Manistee River. The sound of the river and the proximity of the campsites to water make for an easy night of sleeping. Thanks for your insight and awesome POV . Hope you enjoyed (or will enjoy it) if you have yet to venture out – We are seeing some great fall color up there in the river basin right now so even for a day hike, it will be worth it! I was surprised by the ups and downs on the NCT portion of the loop. We made camp for the night just south of Slagle Creek. Make a weekend of camping and hiking by taking the 23 mile Manistee River Tail/North Country Trail loop. #Trump2020. This area of the trail is magnificent and you will surely see the most wildlife along this stretch of the river. Do you think that is manageable? We recommend you check out the Suspension Bridge crossing on the Big Manistee River, it is a really cool feature along the trail. This is perfect for a first-time hiker – I was the contributing writer on this piece. Is there a problem with bow hunters near the trails? Last May, after a thunderstorm, my son and I witness the coolest firefly show ever! Olivia. Beautiful challenge from Mother Earth. Back on the Manistee River Loop! I look back on that trip as somewhat of a whirlwind, like I do most backpacking trips. Started Saturday 10/10 on the upper river trailhead which was packed with cars. Loved everything about it. Header photo by Eric Moll After a quick stop at the Dam and campground, continue on the MRT and head out south along the east river banks. Do you know if we can you park and get right on the trail from there or will we need to hike in a bit to get to the trail from where we park? First, when you say “If you are starting out in the evening, get to the NCT overlook and set up camp.”, where is that? So glad you found this helpful! The Big Manistee River is open to fishing along the Manistee River Trail. My wife and I spent two gorgeous days backpacking this beautiful Michigan trail. The terrain in this section is a little more difficult though. Large Campsite on crest slightly off trail. Download the map here: https://www.visitmanisteecounty.com/project/manistee-river-trail. First time hiking this trail. Do you have to have a permit to park at the upper river trail head? Be sure to pack water as it is quite the hike up, down, and around the ravines. From this lot there is a trail that heads north and shortly hits the connecting trail between the NCT and the MRT. Planning your hike on the Manistee River Loop is fairly straightforward. Is there a place to park a car overnight on the East side of Red Bridge? The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. A 23-mile loop can be formed with the North Country National Scenic Trail. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Any help with pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated. The loop trail can be accessed from the Marilla and Upper Branch Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail. FIFTH FALLS AND SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL LOOP Distance: 4.8km Duration: 1-2 hours Difficulty: Easy More info. Have a great time along the trail! There are two trailheads for the Manistee River Trail, Seaton Creek Campground and Red Bridge, both offer camping. This is a great spot to grab a quick bite to eat as you push on a few more miles before setting up camp for the night. It is a trek to get to the top, but you can see the entire Udell Rollways, a great view! The East side trail much harder then the west. With many access points to the trails, starting out at the Upper River Trailhead just off of Coates Highway is a great spot to begin. I’m thinking about kayaking/camping this stretch of the Manistee River. Planning on hitting up the trail next weekend. A 23-mile loop trail is formed with the Manistee River Trail along the Manistee River. When you get to Red Bridge, you take out, hike the mile or so up to the car at Upper River, and load up for a short and fun day 2. Going back in the spring of 2017. If you don’t make it that far, there is a great campsite near mile marker 5 that is right on the water’s edge. Her and I are leaving Thursday to repeat her adventure. Hiking trails make perfect snowshoeing destinations, whether along Lake Michigan at Arcadia Dunes/Old Baldy Trailhead or Magoon Creek Nature Area, or inland on the North Country Trail and Manistee River Trail Loop. Nice fire pit, easy access to the river, good trees for hammocks, Pretty good overlook, no view of the sunset. The Manistee River Loop Trail is a 19.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mesick, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Would you consider this a good first-time backpacking trip for those of us (me) with no experience? Are we able to complete the trail still? There is a fee for parking in the USFS lots, and that information is available at the parking lot. Outstanding hike, definitely could be done in 1 night or even in a day but making a weekend of it was well worth it!! It is almost always busy on the Manistee River Trail side, campsites are often doubled or even tripled up. Although you would need to drive about 30 miles west of Cadillac, numerous backpackers and keen hikers undoubtedly reckon it to be the best backpacking route in Michigan.The Manistee River Trail is 11 miles of hardwood forests and rolling hills, connecting to the 8.5 miles of the North Country Trail Loop, via a superb 245-foot suspension bridge over the two sites. There is a primitive parking area near the suspension bridge on the north side of the river. The NCT overlook is marked by a sign on the trail as the “Red Hill Lookout” it is about a mile and a half from the Upper River Trailhead. MANISTEE RIVER TRAIL & NORTH COUNTRY TRAIL LOOP This weekend-size, 22-mile loop takes you on some of the best terrain in the Lower Peninsula. Planning on hiking/backpacking here this month- where are dogs allowed to hike and what campsites can we have them? No permit for the trail, but there are parking fees as indicated by a $ on the map. There will be about 7 other guys with me and we were going to try and stretch this out to a 3.5 day 3 night trip. Hike the river’s east side on the Manistee (find campsites at overlooks nearly every mile); cross a hiker-only suspension bridge to connect to the NCT for an 8.9-mile return. For more information and maps, check out our Trails page: https://www.visitmanisteecounty.com/what-to-do/trails-manistee. For this trip we decided to drop in at the Upper River Trailhead and proceed north along the North Country Trail camping just south of the Suspension Bridge for night 1. There's actually two parking lots that you will come to on a dirt road. Did a 6 mile out and back with teens and a dog, great afternoon hike. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Once in a while you'll see a mountain biker. Get your Manistee River Trail map here: https://www.visitmanisteecounty.com/project/manistee-river-trail. This is a great spot for that early morning swim (if the water’s not too cold). Box 30266 , Lansing, MI, 48909, Phone: 517-373-0670. The North Country Trail and Manistee River Trail loop is approximately 20 miles and is ideal for a relaxing hike with a group of friends or family who want to “rough it” for a weekend getaway. What is the trail like out 3 or 4 miles from a difficulty level and are there good camp sites along that section of the trail? We are thinking of hiking the last weekend of October. Missed the trail a few times and thus the extra mileage. Avoid using a gear sled (pulk) on this trail: While a sled can be a useful tool to help pull your extra … Enjoy! Cheers! perfect spot! There’s a parking area near the dam where you can stash your boats in the woods (bring a cable lock and lock them to a tree for security). You have the choice to hike all 10.8 miles and then retrace your steps back to your vehicle for a 21.6 mile hike. The experience level ranges from Beginner to Expert. the Manistee River runs wild from Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge (Coates Hwy) through Manistee National Forest, offering some of the most spectacular hiking, backpacking, paddling and mountain biking in Michigan’s lower peninsula. Just before you hike out onto Coates Highway and back to civilization near Red Bridge, you will make one final ascent to what feels like the top of the world at mile marker 10. Another great weekend trip is a hike and bike. It is typically less crowded during the summer months compared to nearby Red Bridge, or Seaton Creek Campground to the north. Pack in to a campsite, setup camp and enjoy a day, then head back the next morning? Thank you for posting this article, I find it very helpful. https://www.visitmanisteecounty.com/what-to-do/trails-manistee, https://www.visitmanisteecounty.com/project/manistee-river-trail, http://www.gtrlc.org/recreation-events/events, https://northcountrytrail.org/volunteers/local-contacts/spirit-of-the-woods-chapter, Top 6 Fall Color Trails 2020 - Manistee County Tourism - Manistee, Michigan, A Wedding Weekend in Manistee County - Manistee.com - Hiking, Biking, Fishing, Golfing - Share Your Story, Top 5 Winter Scenes to Photograph in #MyManistee, Hiking the Loop: Manistee River Trail & North Country Trail Loop. I have done several hikes and canoe trips during my time as a scout, but have not done any series trips in a while, and my wife, though very athletic is fairly inexperienced with this type of hiking. Another great section of trail is about 6 miles south from Seaton Creek at the end of Slagle Creek Road. If you can only get away for a single night, you should certainly set out on the Manistee River Trail right from the beginning. If you download the map the legend shows trailheads, rustic campsites (first come basis), fee areas, and more! I would like to camp on the River side. Any recommendations for a non-overnight hike? We did this exact trip I outlined here. My boy Shaun and I did the entire loop and then some (got off trail a bit just past the suspension bridge. My Keen Targahee hiking shoes. The trail is level and easy hike. — There is no pump water sources on the NCT side no. ( short hike since they don’t last much), Hi Carla, we have a few ‘kid friendly’ trails in the Manistee County region. North Country Trail: Manistee River Section, Manistee River: Hodenpyl Dam to Rainbow Bend, Manistee River Trail: Seaton Creek to Red Bridge. EMPIRE BLUFF TRAIL Distance: 2.4km Duration: 1 hour Difficulty: Moderate More info. Love it! Here is a link to the road commission’s detour map for Red Bridge: https://bit.ly/2IOJKjW. Turn west on 26 Road (near Yuma) and drive 3 miles turning right on O'Rourke Drive. Enjoy sandy soils that support a robust pine-hardwood forest, cross the impressive Pere Marquette River and Manistee River, and enjoy the popular Manistee River Trail loop. By far the most technical trail I've ever ran, did 10 miles from the suspension bridge south out and back. The view along the east side of the river (on the Manistee River Trail side). First time hikers age range 50’s and only doing an overnight. Headed north on the NCT for about 8-9 miles until reaching Eddington creek to camp for the night. Your email address will not be published. Then drive down Upper River road (a dusty affair which is really just a maintenance access for the power lines from the dam, with a few soft, sandy spots – so be prepared) to the NCT Upper River Trailhead.
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